It’s been a full year of facilitating online writing groups, so I’ve been reflecting on why these groups have felt and continue to feel so supportive, especially through the pandemic’s early days, escalation, and continued intensity.
Typically, I share that online writing groups have the potential to:
- Hold creative space for incubating, developing, and completing writing projects
- Build and strengthen relationships among writers across distance
- Maintain momentum for writing projects even when facing other due dates and demands on our time
- Provide just-in-time support, mentoring, and processing of what comes up through and around writing
- Co-create a life-giving writing environment where we can share ideas with engaged and supportive readers
These are potentials I’ve reflected on previously in the essay, “‘Hanging Out’: Cultivating Writing Groups Online,” co-authored with former writing group members Tanya Cochran, Rasha Diab, and Thomas Ferrel.
These potentials still feel true, but in this past year, I’ve realized something more:
- I realize that writing groups keep me connected to other people and help me feel not-alone at a time when aloneness is the typical state.
- I realize that showing up for the group gets me over the initial hurdle of opening documents I might want to keep closed, and once I’m in the work, I settle my body and find a rhythm.
- I realize that group members remind me why my writing matters and that I can’t keep skirting around the writing that matters most. In other words, writing groups keep me accountable to looking at what I’m writing—and not writing!—and keep me asking “why?”
- I realize that many life changes happen through writing, especially when writing brings attention to our built-in assumptions and ways of being in the world. Writing groups can highlight these changes—and the changes we’re hesitant to make, too.
- I realize that there’s something significant to witnessing others’ life changes and allowing others to witness my life changes. In the moments when we break through surface talk into truer feelings, vulnerabilities, and intimacy, the world feels full of potential.
There are many more reasons why I value writing groups, but I share these reflections today—both in honor of a full year of holding writing groups and because new groups are starting this week.
If you’d like to join or learn more, check out the registration page.
And let me say again how grateful I am to fellow writers and writing group members.
This post is written by Beth Godbee, Ph.D. for Heart-Head-Hands.com. If you’re interested in connecting around writing, but can’t make this round of writing groups, check out upcoming writing retreats or writing coaching. And consider subscribing to the newsletter for additional resources and announcements. Thanks!