I have journaled off an on for most of my life, but in the last 10 years with upping my digital experience, I've definitely slacked off. Something as simple as putting pen to paper feels almost impossible to find time to do. Out of all the wellness tactics and strategies presented to us on the internet, I believe that something as simple as writing could be one of the more profound healing modalities.
A month or so ago it was perfect timing to meet Laura Rubin - founder of AllSwell Creative - a passion project turned platform for all forms of creativity. It started with a notebook, half for writing half for drawing, that inspired her to use her background in communications to bring people together through journaling. Along with selling journals, she now hosts inspiring workshops and travel excursions that encourage people to tap into their creative voice, and find comfort in the release.
I find what she is doing to be absolutely imperative. Any time away from a screen is bound to have a positive impact.
As a writer, her answers are some of the most thoughtful and inspiring to date.
Thank you Laura!
3 word bio.
Allergic to most rules.
What is your one physical characteristic that you’ve had to grow to love, but at times would have changed?
I was a twig with boobs at 13 and felt totally unprepared for the amount of attention it brought me. My main reaction was “Eeew.” I loved that willowy Lauren Hutton-esque 70’s aesthetic, all tan skin and slim tomboyish silhouette. It took me time to appreciate my womanly form but I came to love my curves.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31 and was incredibly grateful that I was able to keep my breasts. They and I had come a long way and I didn’t want to part with them.
What would your husband, spouse, kids, or any roommates you’ve ever had say is your least appealing quality?
I don’t pack light. I think it’s an overrated virtue in general. I like to have supplies to optimize the experience. Some might complain about it but then I’m the one with snacks, sunscreen and iPhone speakers so they usually come around.
You've created a thoughtful line of journals, perfect for both drawing and writing. Why do you think these analog experiences are so important in the digital age?
We are absolutely inundated with incoming data and technological prompts. Our minds and inboxes are full to overflowing. We really don’t yet know what all this is doing to our brains but nearly everyone I speak to expresses a level of digital overwhelm. Putting pen to paper helps wring the sponge out, quieting the mind and making mental space.
Additionally, there’s scientifically proven benefits to maintaining a regular writing practice. It manages anxiety and stress, helps cure PTSD, even speeds wound healing and curbs asthma. The list goes on. It’s good for you mentally, emotionally and physiologically.
You host workshops around the journaling experience. Can you tell us more about those?
I began hosting journaling workshops after getting feedback from consumers that they didn’t know how to journal or that they were “bad” at it. I’ve kept one since I was 8 years old so it’s always been an innate, supportive experience for me and I wanted to make it accessible for more people. I created a curriculum and packed it with tools, tips and grounded it in all the astounding scientific data that exists about the importance of putting pen to paper.
I try to make it fun by creating a beautiful setting and adding in cocktails, snacks (and sometimes cannabis) to lower inhibitions and make people more comfortable. We laugh, drink wine, write and read out loud to each other. It’s definitely not school, more of a clubhouse vibe.
What would you tell someone who doesn't "know how" to journal? What’s the learning curve? Do you find people get intimidated?
For someone just starting out I suggest 4 x 4 x 4: try out 4 minutes of free-writing a day, do it 4 times a week and stick with it for 4 weeks straight.
If you’re unsure where to start, pick a book of poetry that speaks to you (personally I’m a big fan of Mary Oliver and W.S. Merwin). Flip to a random page and read a poem. Absorb that, see what comes up for you and let it be the jumping off point for your journaling session. Let someone else’s words inform your own.
Where do you find inspiration?
Nature. Art. Books. My incredible, creative community of friends, colleagues and collaborators.
What's the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
Finding good support. But when I do, I hold on to them!
With 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?
Read a good book on my front porch.
What keeps you up at night?
Not much now that I take CBD.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Nobody would be found guilty of crimes they did not commit.