How to get connected and be more authentic
Updated: Sep 6, 2023
The magic of creative group journaling
How would you like a way to feel more deeply connected to yourself, to others? To be seen and heard? To feel more like yourself; more grounded, authentic, joyful and nourished?
Creative group journaling achieves all of this. It’s like journaling, but with other people! It’s without doubt my favourite way to write.
It may sound a bit strange, but trust me, it’s fun, energising and inspiring. It's rewarding and creative too, though creativity is definitely not required, just like grammar, spelling and the like. You get to leave these, very firmly, at the door, along with a need to be ‘good’ and to get it ‘right.’ If you’re nervous about writing, this is normally enough to get your pen bouncing along the page.
Journaling alone is brilliant. It’s there for you 24/7, it’s free, it’s soothing, nourishing and useful. Writing with other people however, magics up a little something extra and, in my opinion, the magic is in the connection, with others and with yourself. Connection is so important. It’s at the heart of well-being and resilience. Let’s face it, it’s almost impossible not to be and feel disconnected occasionally with so many demanding distractions. Creative group journaling brings you home to yourself. It reminds you who you are and what makes you happy.
What is Creative group journaling?
It's part journaling and part creative writing. It’s normally a one to two hour session where you write - without agenda or need to produce ‘a thing.’ You’re given writing prompts and exercises and the writing is timed so you can fully release yourself into it. You then write as freely as you can which allows things that aren’t front of mind to spring eagerly out on the page. The writing can be whatever it wants to be. You can let go and trust that whatever comes out is right for you. This can be truly liberating.
People almost always write more than they would say. There’s no need to dazzle or entertain, to be ‘good’ or ‘creative’ - and as I mentioned previously, this - along with grammar and spelling - is actively discouraged.
Instead of the polite, edited stuff - which has its place - our pens bring forth the more hidden parts of ourselves. Our dreams, worries, frustrations, joys, stresses, and hopes, though sometimes it’s cleverly disguised as something else. One way or another, things that need your attention will come out in your writing.
Share, don’t share
In order to reflect on what you’ve written, in pairs you share your writing, however much you’re comfortable with. Don’t panic, there really is no pressure. You can just talk about how it was, what came up, or didn’t. People sometimes share one bit of writing and not share the next, it’s all OK.
We’re all a bit strange
People share an awful lot more in common than their differences might imply. I love it when people share together - whether they know each other or not - and realise they too are a bit neurotic, unhinged, self-indulgent, a champion worrier, an occasional ego-maniac. That we’re all anxious about something, sad about something, holding on to things we should let go etc.
Journaling together is just more enjoyable - more fun. It can help you to laugh at yourself, or even to cry and just be witnessed, without intervention. It’s not therapy and isn’t suitable for replacing therapeutic intervention, however, journaling can be a great supplement.
It’s great for building confidence, relieving stress, clearing headspace, uncovering perspectives and insights. It’s a lovely way to celebrate your ‘you-ness’ - warts and all, and honestly, how often do you get to do that?
Things I particularly love to hear are the following: “I can’t even read my own writing!” Great! This means you’re really letting go. “I can’t believe I wrote that!” Even better, this means that the stuff that’s going on in your mind is finding a way out - to be aired, heard, and released.
All this, and it’s fun
At the end of sessions, people often talk about feeling connected, energised, inspired and hopeful. This all makes me very happy indeed. They also often say they’ve had fun - imagine - all this, and fun.
Interestingly, if you don’t normally write or journal, you’re more likely to have the biggest revelations. This is partly because there’s less pressure to write something ‘good’ and ‘creative.’ This is what makes it such a great activity for team-building, group coaching and management away-days.
It really is for everyone
So, in case it’s not clear, creative group journaling really is for everyone, including you. You don’t have to be a writer, a poet, a journaler. You may have never written a word - in a self-reflective, journal'y kind of way. It’s all OK. If you have the ability to pick up a pen and write some words down, you can take part (and there are work-arounds should you want to give it a go but pen and paper are not an option for you.)
Give it a try
I run regular public workshops including monthly Creative group journaling sessions as well as 'Keep journaling' - weekly space to journal and 'Whose life is it anyway monthly workshops on topics to do with your life and living it how you want. I also run regular journaling courses. Click here for more info.
Want to know more?
If you’d like to chat to me to find out more about how I can work with you, your team or organisation, do give me a shout at email@example.com.
Originally posted December 2021