For over a year we have been in the midst of restricted access to friends and loved ones. Across the world, physical distancing has resulted in fewer opportunities for building and maintaining relationships. Writing is one way to work with the challenges that the pandemic has presented. Lately, I’ve been noticing some of the surprising ways that connections are fostered through writing and sharing together, even when the meetings are online.
Within each Adventures in Writing group, writers are given time to write together from a sentence stem, or a prompt. When the timed writing is complete, each person is invited to read their words aloud; always with the understanding that individuals have the right to pass. This process of writing and sharing provides a safe and trusting environment. Sometimes there are tears, and sometimes we laugh together. The result is that we connect with each other at a heart level. Physical distancing does not have to mean emotional distancing.
I believe that human beings are storytellers; we are meant to share our stories. In the past our ancestors gathered around campfires. Now that we’re using technology as a means of connection, I imagine the Zoom meeting room as our new campfire. Although video meetings may not feel exactly the same as in-person, there are still many opportunities to grow within an online group. There is also the opportunity to join groups that may have been physically out of reach. Participants report that writing from prompts helps them shift perspective, to tap into their well of creativity, to loosen up fear, and to feel calmer during the writing process. Writing with a group of writers provides a focus for exploring your immediate experience. When you read aloud, deep connections are created with others in the virtual circle. We hold each other with respect, and with the highest intention to listen for what’s strong and beautiful.