About this Journaling Series by Eric Maisel
Inspired by Contributing Authors to The Great Book of Journaling: How Journal Writing Can Support a Life of Wellness, Creativity, Meaning and Purpose
This series of guest blog posts on various topics related to journaling, was created for a series called “Journaling for Men” that appears on the Good Men Project blog. It is designed to help everyone, and especially men who may be unfamiliar with journaling, learn how daily journaling can help them improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It brings together ideas from two of Eric’s recent books, Redesign Your Mind, in which I describe how you can upgrade and redesign “the room that is your mind,” and our co-edited book The Great Book of Journaling, in which we gathered contributions from scores of journal experts and enthusiasts. Please enjoy this series.
We hope that you’ll begin to include journaling as part of your daily self-awareness and self-care program.
This Journaling Series is collected by Eric Maisel and the 4 steps to forming a journaling group that are featured in this post are written by Nancy Johnston.
Maybe you’d like some support as you journal or some camaraderie as you journal? Maybe a journal writing group is for you? In her chapter in The Great Book of Journaling, Nancy Johnston describes how you might go about planning for and creating a journal writing group including the following suggestions …
4 Steps to Creating Your Journal Writing Group by Nancy Johnston
1. Work with a partner or team.
Delegate or share pre-event organizing duties, such as creating posters or emailing reminders, as well as co-facilitate during your writing group. At an in-person or at an online event, co-facilitators or partners can support each other by sharing or alternating their roles. Avoid the problem of multi-tasking. Co-facilitators can decide to divide their attention between presenting a writing prompt, welcoming late-comers, and watching the clock.
2. Think about inclusion when planning.
What size group will work best for the facilitators and the group? Do you have an accessible space or venue convenient for your community? If you’re working with a community group or organization such as a library, ask about any barriers and supports in place. As organizers, you may want to discuss your goals for the group and how to share your objectives and format with your group.
In our sessions for our women’s writing circle, we review our goals and format in each session. When we have newcomers to the group, we may ask a group member to review principles of confidentiality, positive feedback, and options in sharing. When you are planning on an online group, it is especially important to share information on how to access your group session. Group members less familiar with online platforms may need help unmuting and participating. Options may be to open your session early for trouble-shooting and sharing instructions.
3. Create a welcoming space.
Participants thrive on writing in a group and remark that it is different than writing independently. However, new participants may be nervous or unsure what to expect. A facilitator makes the space welcoming by letting the group get to know each other. We open our groups by socializing and by sharing food to create a feeling of comfort. Returning members may share their past experience writing and encourage newcomers. Take time to greet each participant and to introduce yourself. This is a positive ritual that also creates mutual trust.
4. Collaborate with group members.
Invite your members to contribute their ideas for writing prompts and for ways of channelling their enthusiasm. Include participants in some planning when you are established. They may have practical experience and enjoying helping in outreach, running events, or even online troubleshooting.
A writing group with a focus on journaling and personal writing may be just the ticket. If that idea intrigues you, use Nancy’s tips to turn that idea into a reality.
Get your copy of The Great Book of Journaling: How Journal Writing Can Support a Life of Wellness, Creativity, Meaning and Purpose
Discover many different journaling techniques, prompts, and activities that can support you to enrich your life and health with journaling.
About the Authors:
This blog article is inspired and informed by Nancy’s chapter entitled Journaling in a Group: A Facilitator’s Perspective in The Great Book of Journaling.
Nancy Johnston is a teacher, writing coach, writer, and textile artist living in Toronto. She co-founded the Women’s Writing Circle in 2016 with her colleagues. She is an associate professor who teaches writing and disability studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her passions are teaching writing and textile art for expressive and restorative play.
Eric Maisel collected this blog post series and is the author of over fifty books. He writes the “Rethinking Mental Health” blog for Psychology Today (with 2.5 million views), blogs for Thrive Global, Fine Art America, and The Good Men Project, and has recently developed a contemporary philosophy of life called kirism, which he introduced in Lighting the Way.
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