AllSwell founder Laura Rubin recently hosted a Transformative Writing Work Shop at Quincy MTK in Montauk.
We caught up with Rubin to learn more about the practice, writer’s block, her inspirations, and more:
What are some of the benefits of journaling on a regular basis?
LR: As a lifelong journaler I always knew that there was intrinsic value in the practice. When I’m doing it regularly I feel like a better version of myself. But it wasn’t until I started AllSwell that I dove into the research. It turns out that journaling even a few minutes a day has multiple positive effects. It’s emotionally, mentally and even physiologically good for you. It’s been proven to speed wound healing, curb asthma and treat PTSD. The list goes on. But it has to be done longhand, putting pen-to-paper. You don’t get the same benefits from typing on a device or computer. There’s something about moving your hand across the page that creates specific synaptic connections in your brain.
When struggling with writer’s block, what are some exercises one can do to deepen their practice?
LR: When people tell me they have nothing to write about, I suggest they start writing about having nothing to write about. It sounds simplistic but it can actually be a rich creative vein to tap into. Feeling stuck or blank is not uncommon and it’s an emotional experience worth exploring. Go right into that frustration; dig around in it.
There is a surprising amount of existing literature about writer’s block. Many of our greats have dealt with it so remember you’re not alone. One piece of advice that comes up over and over is to write at a consistent time every day. It’s about showing up, committing to the practice and getting your mind used to switching into gear.
Which literature greats do you turn to when in need of inspiration?
LR: I pull a selection of literary excerpts and poetry for each workshop all focused around the theme or setting for that particular event. It helps to hear words from a mix of writers all addressing the same topic but approaching it completely differently. The point isn’t to sound like Hemmingway or Mary Oliver. The point is to sound like you.
And when I personally need a shot of inspiration I dip into a book called “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. It’s the best book about the process of writing that I’ve come across yet. I tell everyone I talk to that is interested in writing to go get a copy.
Tell us a little bit about The Palapala Set – AllSwell’s collaboration with Samudra and Goldfish Kiss.
LR: Collaborating with other beachy entrepreneurial women is one of my favorite things, and doing so with Jennifer Binney of Samudra and Rebekah Steen of Goldfish Kiss was a natural fit.
Jennifer’s idea was to co-create a pouch and I suggested we tuck an AllSwell notebook inside. In thinking about the content for the project, I’ve known Rebekah for a few years and am always inspired by her natural approach to creativity — whether it’s writing poetry, painting with watercolors, curating content or designing her life, it’s all a creative act. The pouch has her photography on the exterior and poetry printed on the interior, like so many of us who keep our poetry on the inside of ourselves.
I’ve wanted to bring AllSwell to Hawaii for a while, but was waiting for the right partner. Samudra is a brand that I have so much respect for, and Jennifer is totally plugged in and brings such an intimate understanding of the Kailua community, that when she approached me there was no doubt this was the perfect opportunity. I’ll be leading AllSwell workshops on Oahu this fall!
Besides the AllSwell Journaling Workshop at Quincy x Montauk, what other upcoming workshops is AllSwell presenting?
LR: In addition to the workshops on Oahu, we have some closer to home. We have a duo in California in Venice (at Kassia + Surf’s “Golden Vibes” pop up) on August 21st and in Costa Mesa at Magnolia Wellness on August 23rd. We’re also in the middle of planning some workshops in New York City this fall and will be releasing those details soon. Additionally, we’re planning a couple of retreats: to Ojai (Winter ’19) and Alaska (Summer ’19). You can follow @AllSwellCreative on Instagram or sign up for our newsletter on the site (www.allswellcreative.com) to get all the latest updates and new newness.