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The Need For Healthy Support Groups

Gabriel Sidwell
Gabriel Sidwell
4 min read
The Need For Healthy Support Groups
Photo by Rosie Sun / Unsplash

The digital age has made it incredibly easy to access large groups of people of similar temperament and mindsets. Whereas before we were limited to interacting with people in our immediate township, we now can interact and chat with others from across countries with just a few computer clicks and a quick download of the social media app of your choosing. This advancement in commutative capability is nothing short of incredible.

Of course, this ease of access poses its own risks as well, that we really have to consider when engaging with anyone online. Free from the confinement of the pandemic now, let's revisit building those connections again.

Vibe of the Week: Fire - Barnes County

The Benefits of Creator Support Groups

No matter what field you work in, or what circumstance you find yourself in, excellent support groups can help you get ahead in both life and your personal endeavors. There have been multiple studies done over the course of the last hundred years that speak to the value of group initiatives moving toward a singular goal. Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar Halfway Houses come to mind immediately when we talk about support networks.

We’re not limited to self-help or mental health support groups, of course. Writers have several options for networks they’re able to join to help practice their craft, through multiple mediums.

The most common form of literary practice between writers is Roleplay: playing or writing out one (or multiple) characters, usually with others. This usually shares overlap with tabletop roleplaying games, and game masters can find unique opportunities to practice collaborative storytelling.

Younger writers can also find websites that allow them to submit drafts of their stories to share with others for them to comment on and provide productive criticism, such as Wattpad, Goodreads, Camp Nanowrimo, and Critique Circle. These platforms provide excellent opportunities to create and grow a support group of friends to collaborate with and also provide a means to improve through constructive criticism.

Have you made friends who share your passion for writing, either online or through another forum? Share your story in the comments below.

What We're Reading This Week

The Side Hustle that keeps a Literary Author’s Career Afloat

The side hustle that keeps a literary author’s career afloat
Tony Tulathimutte’s writing workshop, Crit, reels in eminent guest speakers and helps launch the careers of new authors

While there are exceptions to the rule, an author’s primary source of income rarely comes from their book sales. The Guardian writes book authors typically engage in side hustles as well, typically as guided workshops and classes that teach other aspiring writers more tricks to their craft.

With book tours, talks, and other events, book authors can bolster their income to the tune of $69,000 or more by becoming influential figures in the space of literature.

New Rules Restricting ‘Age Inappropriate’ Materials in Missouri Public Libraries In Place

New rules restricting ‘age inappropriate’ materials in Missouri public libraries in place
Missouri public libraries now face further restrictions when it comes to what materials can come in and out.

Conservatives are back at it again with literary censorship. This time in Missouri, where libraries are facing harsh penalties for renting out books deemed ‘inappropriate’ to younger readers. The general categories of what is deemed appropriate or inappropriate involves sexuality and nudity.

We know however that books containing such content are not just erotica; Many authors within the LGBTQ+ community use sexuality as a theme for exploring many complex topics, such as gender identity and preservation.

By banning these books, the government of Missouri is actively prohibiting its young readers from exploring these topics safely from the perspective of other peers who’ve likely lived their experience in the past. Book bans have historically harmed the academic outlooks of many before, and this is no exception.

An Eating Disorder Chatbot is Suspended for Giving Harmful Advice

An Eating Disorder Chatbot Is Suspended for Giving Harmful Advice
A nonprofit that helps people with body image problems closed its human-run helpline. The chatbot that remained suggested things like losing weight.

For as many stories we hear about the potential of AI, we are constantly reminded that we are far and away from AI taking over the world. Another chatbot was shut down recently for being used for a function it was incapable of - this time involving eating disorders.

Counselors and mental health therapists who specialize in this type of work typically need years of experience and training in order to even be certified to talk to other people about their issues and offer professional advice.

Yet companies like NEDA look to subvert the years of experience these professionals have with faulty software such as their chatbot, Tessa, which gives harmful advice to customers suffering from eating disorders. There are some things that will always require a human touch to perform well.

Connect With The Penman

Want to find more ways to connect with the Penman? You can find me on social media! I am currently on Twitter and LinkedIn. Check out the icons at the top of the page for links to my social media accounts. You can find my day-to-day musings between newsletter releases there!


Gabriel Sidwell

Author & Owner of Penman Ventures™ ✒


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