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Why You Should Actually Journal With Friends!

Hobbies that are free and help you grow as a person are rare to find. Especially when they also allow you to surround yourself with a community.

A way to do this is a writing group, which can bring a group together to focus on anything from journaling, personal stories, or genre work.

Many people are intimidated by the idea or think that it has to be far more formal than it is. Obviously, it’s great if you already love writing as a pastime, but it works even if you are new to writing. It’s more about preparing something to share. We are so used to writing for a grade that we forget what an outlet language can be.

I currently have a writing group that meets every Sunday to discuss our personal writing collaborate on a collective project. Getting feedback helps us make connections, within our thoughts and create a community. One of the great things about using words is that you have to consider who is going to hear those words. Thinking about how to shape what you say in a way that is most effective to your audience.

Tip One: Try your best to find writers at your level if you are doing something creative.

This is especially true when you write in a group. When you swap your ideas and get feedback, you are getting really useful information about how you come off to others. Thinking about your audience and what they are most likely to understand and receive helps you become a better communicator overall. Sometimes we don’t realize how much we only make sense to ourselves. We have a bias where we assume other people think like us or interpret sentences like us.  

You can use this insight to consider how you come off to others when you are talking or even texting (another written form). We spend a lot of time feeling misunderstood and wishing that we could share our experiences and interpretations with others. Often, when we get the opportunity, we are not prepared enough to come across clearly.

Tip Two: Set up boundaries

A writing group can be a very safe place. Especially if some ground rules are agreed upon beforehand. This is especially important if the material being discussed involves more personal subject matter. Writing groups help deepen your interpersonal relationships. Writing is a great way to maintain a relationship with yourself. Whether it is journaling, writing creatively or posting online, writing helps us weed out the thoughts that clutter our ability to reach clarity.

Trying something new ‘n free never hurt

A sentence can only do so much at once. It forces us to slow down and focus. Take it one step (word) at a time. What do we want to say and what should come next? Writing can reveal to us what we think is important, as it is what we prioritize expressing. Analyzing your own writing for themes can tell you a lot about your mental state or worldview and can be a very healthy part of self-reflection.  

Tip Three: A writing group is healthy when you are able to express yourself with a select group of people, and in turn hear their input without defensiveness.

Writing can be very therapeutic. There is a reason counselors recommend journaling so often! Research shows it works and it’s something that can be entirely customized to fit the needs of the individual.

Tip Four: Become a better texter (a LARGE portion of relationships)

Writing gives us a chance to organize our thoughts and explore a concept before introducing it to someone. That delay, between sharing and receiving is what makes writing so personal and perfect for facilitating meaningful conversations.

Vanesa Arostegui is currently a graduate student at Central Washington University pursuing a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She has obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She plans to go on and earn her MFA in creative fiction and poetry. She is the daughter of an immigrant, with a father from Spain. She wrote a personal narrative that dealt with mental health and that piece was a finalist in Sticks and Stones for short story Bellied Bones (2017). She also was recently a finalist in The New Guard Literary Review 2019 Poetry competition for her poem Puff Daddy (2019). Two Poetry Publications in Manastash Literary Magazine Scorpio Coloring Book and mommy’s alcoholic (2020).
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