In moments of great uncertainty, I’ve always turned to my journal.
When covid hit, I left my apartment in New York City and spent the next few months quarantining in my parents’ attic. I was no stranger to isolation: I spent much of my twenties in treatment for leukemia, unable to travel, eat out, see friends, even take a walk. Suddenly isolation was back—this time on a global scale.
Feeling unmoored and uninspired, I decided to reimagine what a journal could be. To turn isolation into creative solitude and connection, I asked my favorite writers, artists, and community leaders to share some words of inspiration and a prompt, and I invited my community to journal along with me. By the end of the first month, there were 100,000 us: writing, searching, seeking, connecting—making sense of our lives together.
But isolation did not begin with the pandemic—more and more it’s a feature of everyday life. So each Sunday, I continue to send out a journaling prompt from a different contributor, along with a missive where I meditate on everything from my writing practices to life with one blind and another very badly behaved dog.
Here, we learn how to use creativity as a tool for survival. Here, small acts of creativity accrue into something much bigger. Here, stories of vulnerability become stories of resilience and strength, and they unite us as a community.
We believe a creative life is for everyone.
Why subscribe? You’ll get:
Access to Dear Susu, an advice column where I answer your questions about writing, life, loss, and everything in between
Access to the Hatch, a virtual writing group, where we gather for a dose of community, inspiration and accountability
Community discussion threads, where we dish about our favorite reads and trade stories & tips about the creative process
Early access to merch like our Isolation Journal No. 1
Access to our archive of Studio Visits, a conversation series about the creative process. Learn from extraordinary authors & artists like Elizabeth Gilbert, Jon Batiste, Imbolo Mbue, & Lena Dunham as they share stories, failures, wisdom, and instruction
Most importantly: a way for people who appreciate my work to support & sustain the Isolation Journals
And of course, the Sunday newsletter and prompt, which will always be free!
I do this work because I know it works, and it’s necessary. Through this practice, we create ourselves, and we write our way through. My hope is that you’ll join us.
If a paid subscription is out of reach, and you’d like access to these offerings, email me at email@example.com. We do provide scholarships.
From the Archive
Here’s a snippet of our Studio Visit with the dazzling Elizabeth Gilbert.
The journal is oceanic. It is capacious. It is memory, reverie, distillation. It teaches us to pay attention, to examine, to reflect, to play. The journal is tabula rasa and terra incognita. It is a mirror for the self—past, present, and future—and a portal onto the not yet known. It is refuge: a hiding place, a finding place.
—from the Isolation Journals Manifesto
About Suleika Jaouad
Suleika Jaouad is the author of the NYT bestselling memoir Between Two Kingdoms, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, and a cancer survivor. She reports from the in-between places—on the people and topics that elude easy categorization.