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AllSwell That Ends Well

AllSwell That Ends Well

My name is: Laura Rubin.

My stomping ground is: North Malibu/Point Dume.

You can find me at: The beach! Or at the post office mailing actual letters and buying obscure stamps. Speaking of stamps, I’m about to launch a collection of AllSwell postcards—a collaboration with the elegant wise-asses at Terrapin Stationers. This is our first foray into stationery, and I’m cartwheels-level excited about it. 

I’m known for being: The founder of AllSwell. I still struggle with what to say when people ask me what I do for a living. “Journaling expert” isn’t really a run-of-the-mill job title, but it’s probably as close to one as I’ve got. I lead journaling workshops and create cheeky products that bring people to the page, in addition to being a creativity coach and a writer. Lotta hats. 

I'm talking about: AllSwell Creative began as a simple offering, a gender-neutral line of design-centric journaling products. But, in launching them, I was surprised to hear that a large segment of the market didn’t know how to journal. I got a lot of feedback that consumers liked the products, but felt they were “bad” at journaling or didn’t know where to start. 

So, I took my years of being a journalist and editor, mixed with my background in experiential marketing, did a deep dive into research and put it all together in a supportive curriculum to help people find their way to the page. It just kind of took off from there.

I’ve led these workshops for all kinds of groups in diverse settings: pro surfers in Tahiti, formerly incarcerated/homeless young adults in downtown LA, hundreds of women simultaneously online for goop, a digital workshop for a bunch of venture capitalists, for a group of creatives in the middle of a redwood grove in Northern California, etc. And here’s the thing: it always works. The seed cracks open. It’s amazing to witness.

I try to constantly evolve the brand, create products that meet the public where they are. That’s where The Deck originated. I was hearing from would-be journalers that the blank page was intimidating, but didn’t want to create an app—nothing that would drive people back to their phones. So, I collaborated with psychiatrist Dr. Monisha Vasa on a deck of prompt cards that you can shuffle up and pick at random to kickstart your writing or drawing practice. Instant, portable, analog support. More good stuff to come early in the new year!

You can find it at: All our products are sold on our site, as well as at a smattering of rad locations like MOCA in LA, Botanica Bazaar in Amagansett, NY and Proof Lab Station in Mill Valley, CA.

And get on The List! Sign up for updates about our mix of IRL and digital workshops, so you don’t miss anything.

Next up is our MOJO Series, a digital set of workshops designed to help you find motivation despite feeling the face-forward-into-the-couch levels of hesitation and burnout that a lot of us are experiencing. (Show of hands?) We’ll amp up mojo levels, that life affirming juice that imbues creative swagger and clarity of vision, so you can get on with it in 2022 and execute.

What brought me to LA was: I moved to LA for access to nature and so I’d be able to surf year-round, which is just not possible in New York unless you’re really hardcore (I’m not). 

Before I launched this, I was: I founded the NYC-based communications agency “Left Left Right” and ran it for over a decade and a half. I loved my clients and found it rewarding. I started AllSwell about seven years ago as a side gig, purely intended to be a passion project to help change the stigma around journaling. 

But, as this side project took root, eventually it became obvious that I had a choice to make. People were coming home to their own innate wisdom, valuing their creative voice. It was powerful. I decided that AllSwell was the best way I could be of service and honor what felt like a calling. I wound down my agency and committed fully to AllSwell. It was definitely scary. Journaling wasn’t really a part of the zeitgeist back then. I was pre-trend, probably a little early. But public interest has swung in my direction, and I’m really proud of our track record. 

What inspired me to create it was: I’m a lifelong journaler. I started when I was a single digit and haven’t stopped scribbling since. This simple, accessible practice has given me so much. It’s how I make big decisions, how I ideate, where I work through concerns, and it’s an incredible tool for amplifying joy and creating vision. I am a healthier, happier version of myself because of journaling and I wanted more people to reap the same benefits. 

But I recognized that journaling had a PR problem. It was more associated with teen girl angst than as a legitimate modality for mental and emotional well-being. In each workshop, I educate participants about the impressive list of upsides associated with regular mindful writing. It reduces anxiety, boosts your immune system, reduces depression and mitigates PTSD. Hello. 

How it works is: Ultimately, journaling is about connecting to your own voice, your innate wisdom, so you’re able to live authentically into a life you love. We are inundated with so much external stimuli. Where and how else can one peel away the cultural programming and let the wisdom of their own knowing emerge? On the page, you come home to yourself. 

What makes it different is: You don’t need an appointment to journal. The cost barrier is minimal. No special equipment needed. If you want to use an AllSwell notebook, that’s great. But it’s really about choosing whatever tools work best for you.

One thing you can’t miss is: We have fun. This is an arena where there is no third party reader. We can make a mess. You don’t have to be a good writer, have great grammar or even nice handwriting. This is a place where you have complete and total permission to play—no judgements or “likes.” And we could all use a little more low-stakes creative exploration these days.

My favorite secret detail is: When I am producing a live AllSwell workshop, I try to create an experience that will hit on multiple different cultural touchpoints to make participants feel comfortable. (That may or may not include tequila or wine or weed, depending on the location, time of day and theme of the event.) At a few special nature-themed workshops, each attendee received an acorn that I personally gathered at Walden Pond, where Thoreau wrote the journals that would become Walden. A little talisman to take away as inspiration. 

Today’s LA isn’t all plastic surgery and Beverly Hills (like the stereotype). It’s more like: Saltwater and sunshine!

What helps me live my process in LA is: My daily writing practice, mindful movement and playing in the ocean.

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