Emily, you have such a knack for building communities where people feel welcomed and at ease. Not only are you the founder of Journaling Classes (which I love) but you’re also a Community Manager at The Washington Post. What would you say the pillars are of a strong community?
When we come together we become richer and our lives become better. Community and connection are the two best currencies to exist. I think the biggest pillar of community is human connection. Feeling connected is so important, essential and powerful. There is so much strength in really breaking life down and just BEING with each other. We all are humans — we all experience things, but when we come together in a way of community that gives us the opportunity to grow and evolve.
Having a solid support system is so incredible. I know from my own experience that having friends, family or colleagues in your corner can really transform the reality of a situation. How do you think women can work to build these pillars in their own lives?
Yes, I am so thankful for my support system — I wouldn’t be who I am today without those that have been with me through it all. I think the biggest thing women should do to create a strong foundation is to band together, and work HARD to LIFT eachother up. One huge thing that is important to me is not just connection but CONVERSATION. We need to start having more of them. Friend to Friend. Stranger to Stranger. Woman to Woman. Brother to Sister. Let’s talk about it, let’s break it down and let’s get real. When we talk about it, we connect, and when we connect, there is community. Be open to conversations with new people. Dig deeper into the conversations with the people that you already know and trust.
You make the women in your life feel so celebrated, no doubt. What’s a way you support them despite not being able to get the IRL goodness at the moment?
YES — I genuinely believe in the women in my life, and they deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated. I have so much respect for them. The women that are in my life are not just my inspiration but they are my motivation.
I want others to rise WITH me. Whether you are my friend or not, if you are lifting other women and rising with me, I am on your team. I stand with you. I will cheer you on till the finish line forever. Behind every successful woman is a TRIBE of other successful women, who have her back.
I’ll be honest, it takes time to find the right people to keep in your life — sadly, toxicity is real and not everyone has the kindest intentions or your best interest at heart. I’ve experienced some yucky behavior with former friendships but let me tell you, I learned so much from them. Experiences in the past have truly just pushed me in the right direction to find the real ones. Today I only surround myself with real, genuine and authentic ladies.
There is something so powerful about getting a group of women together to talk about life in an open and vulnerable way. I love that I get to organize groups of ladies all in the act of authenticity and connection!
During your guided journaling sessions you inspire the group to free write and it feels wonderfully therapeutic. Can you explain the concept of freewriting + how someone who might be struggling to put pen to paper can just get started?
Free writing is a technique where you write continuously for a set period of time or a certain amount of pages without regard to spelling, grammar. Letting go of the pressure of perfectionism that we put ourselves and just finding your flow! It produces raw and real thoughts and often helps overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism.
Be kind and gentle with yourself when you try to put pen to paper. Grab a journal you like and a pen that feels good. Set a timer for 5 minutes. And just get the wink on the paper, it doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t even have to be words. The mechanics of moving your wrist while eventually moving you to find clarity and flow in your thoughts and eventually your words. If you aren’t sure what you are thinking, then you can write: “I’m not sure what I am thinking’’
Your favorite way to elevate your life right now?
Diving into my personal and professional growth by engaging with other people and communities has been my saving grace during this time. Everything is at our fingertips if you just look for it! Tonight I had a weekly leadership training, this morning I had a session on entrepreneurship and yesterday I had a class on photo collaging. I had all of these because they are things I’m CHOOSING to involve myself in.
In general, implementing structure into my day is essential but not just with my morning coffee or daily walk but I’ve been making an effort to find things that will elevate many areas of my life by signing up for different seminars, support groups, trainings, etc on Zoom or online! I am often spread really thin, so sometimes the only way you can get me is if you literally put it on my calendar. So something I have been doing during this quarantine is putting things on my calendar that I WANT to be part of in the act of self-care and growth.