Writing The Book On Well-Being

Writing has always been a peaceful way to release one’s emotions and to organize thoughts and decisions. But did you know writing can also add to your well-being? Writing expressively can improve cardiovascular health by lowering your heart rate and improving the heart’s response to stress. Writing about positive experiences can lift your mood, too. Journaling before bed about what you’re thankful for results in longer, better sleep, according to an Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being study.

And when you share your writing with others, you promote social interactions and connections, thus reducing loneliness. The Willow Valley Writers Group probably knows this better than anyone. The only qualification to be a member is to enjoy writing. Resident Lynne Heins, president of the group, says, “My goal has always been to make the ordinary passionate writer feel empowered to be in this collaborative group.”

Willow Valley Communities Writers Group

Resident Carol Reeves concurs. She joined the Willow Valley Writers Group seven years ago. “I wasn’t an author, I didn’t keep a journal, but I was looking for new interests and new friends in our new community. I found both.”

Members write fiction and nonfiction, including stories, poetry, memoirs, and more. They are amateur, professional, or aspiring authors who come together as a group to share their writing or ask for help and suggestions to improve it. Some members enjoy offering (kind) critiques from their wealth of experience, while others come simply to listen. The group also produces Climbing the Mole Hill, a collection of their writings published annually and distributed to each Willow Valley Communities Resident.

Resident Jean Mitchell, the editor of Climbing the Mole Hill, says, “Writing is in my DNA. I’ve enjoyed it from as far back as I can remember.” In high school, Jean wrote a weekly column for the county’s newspaper and later became an editor as a profession. “To me,” she reflects, “writing is both a soothing balm and an escape into imagination.”

Resident Kay Collier, another Writers Group member, adds, “Writing to me is an everyday, almost every hour involvement. I always have a pad and paper beside me: in the car, on my night table, in the kitchen. I often get a thought for a poem or story at odd moments: in the middle of the night, in a dream, or while sitting at a stoplight, cooking, or gardening.”

Resident Don Helin is the planning chairman for the group. He says that writing is something he can do anytime, and because of that, he’s never bored. “Writing has given me a wonderful gift,” he says, “the gift of staying busy, doing what I like, and creating something for others to enjoy.”

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