WRITE FOR YOURSELF. Write with others.
Welcome to the Cojournal Project. It’s a year in the making and a year in practice, to date, with small circles of people from around the world who are writing, together, on prompts delivered each Monday that are designed to be complete-able within 20 minutes. That’s it. The conversation that begins and continues as small groups of 4 share their words is where the “co” part of this project comes into play. Meet people from new places. Share your words. Get comments and real-time responses from others daring to do the same. Discover, in this small but safe holding space, how you can share more of yourself with the world.
Application window is July 15-August 31. COJOURNALING FALL 2014 will begin on Sept. 3, and continue through Dec. 31.
Read on to learn how to apply, details of what it is, and more.
Not ready now, but curious?
Stay connected. Be sure to click “cojournaling” when you join Kismuth, for updates and reminders about cojournaling-related news:
LIFE & TRANSITIONS. You want to write. You wish you had more time. You wish you had more time to write, in the hopes, perhaps, of practicing enough to get a little bit better, and then, with time, a lot.
Yet something’s in the way.
Maybe it’s internal. You feel pressured to make something pretty amazing if you do have a moment to write, and the fear that it won’t meet someone else’s expectations (or your own) keeps you from starting. Starting, that’s the kicker. You know this because you’ve been in lots of other situations that require practice—you know they do—in order to achieve mastery. You know that to do anything well, you have to start. But how?
Are you looking for a safe space to write, more for practice than for production, and with some way to be held accountable to a commitment to yourself to make space and time each week to do it?
Then this is the spot for you.
The Cojournal is a virtual project that connects, in small circles, people who want to write more pages, more often, and better. When it began, that was the major objective. The surprising and happy side effect is that people are uncovering their own themes. Writing is a way to tell yourself about yourself—how you see things, what’s important—to yourself. Writing in a safe space that’s just amongst a few other people doing the same, well, that’s the cojournal project.
No judgment. No formality. No grades, and no expectations.
It looks like this:
The Cojournal Project: Prompts arrive every Monday, and discussion follows in very small groups. Here is the first one, “Find your time.”
How it works. Monday prompts inspire small groups (4 people per group) to write independently or together about a specific topic. Meant to take 20 minutes or less of focus per week, the idea is to make space to practice. Hold each other accountable, or be held accountable by me! As host I remind you of what your goals were at the start and check in regularly to keep you on track. After a free two-week trial, if we decide it’s a good fit, the cost is $7/week, payable by PayPal. Sign up for free-trial
Experience to date. Since its start in January 2014 this project has witnessed the opening of doors to hearts that are personal and intimate in ways that we couldn’t have begun to imagine at the start. The 1:1 conversations between host Dipika Kohli and the participants in Europe, Asia, and both US coasts are moving and shapely, and the 4:4 conversations that bring together people in all layers and places who are sharing in the journey of telling their own stories, together, in a whirl of self-reflection and the buddings of self-awareness, are beautiful to witness, too.
Experimental, iterating, and organic. Because the work to discover one’s own deepest self begins with looking closely at what’s in front of us, but also being able to abandon the notion that to write is to create a work for some sort of Purpose (often ‘publication’), we are able to simply free ourselves to speak. There is no grading system here. There are no rules. Content is the only bit that matters, it’s the yield that comes from thinking within and thinking together, sometimes, it depends on the week and the prompt and how people are moved to share.
- After three months, we began to see banter.
- After six, there is camaraderie.
- There are pourings of emotion and sharing of that which is within.
- Things that might not have been spoken, or said, or arrived at, were it not for a simple commitment.
Cojournal Project participant Melinda Hunt: “My writerly friends (those who do so publicly and privately), I’ve been participating in Dipika Kohli’s CoJournal project since just before the new year. It’s a unique project and it’s pretty special. If you’ve been looking for some structure or accountability in your writing—and supportive community in very small groups, this could be for you. Dipika is a compassionate leader and offers some accessible assignments that are helping to shift my writing lens. I love it.”
A bit of backstory
Mood board collage for a client of Design Kompany, co-founded by Dipika Kohli (pictured), now editor of Kismuth Books.
“I USED TO WORK in newsrooms. In the early 2000s we heard a ton about blogs. How that was going to revolutionize the way we talk, think, and write. We learned, too, in the years since, about authenticity and story becoming more of what people wanted to hear about,” says Dipika. “I wanted to create a space where people who might not be able to start the process of self-questioning for self-awareness could do that, in a way that wasn’t so hard to start, so they could enjoy the things I saw clients of Design Kompany beginning to enjoy: figuring things out, from the inside.”
The big thing about this is there are no “right” answers. Only the journey to discover, along the way, what becomes true for us and us alone, and to figure our way back to the time when we were small children figuring things out as we went, not worried about how people perceived us or what we looked like or how we sounded. We just wanted to know things. And we asked ourselves many questions. We asked each other, too. T.S. Eliot said, “We must not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at the place where we began, and to know it for the first time.”
That is the history and love and conversation that is behind this, the Cojournal Project.
Now, here’s Ira Glass.
On Week 8, we will take a closer look at the importance of practice when it comes to commitment to out own writing work.
People who care are the ones who are making it work. People and their honesty are what is driving this project. —Dipika Kohli, Kismuth Books
Would you like to know about the next opening for applying for Cojournaling?
I want to write, but I’m not sure I can commit each week. Can I still join?
This project is best suited to people who are interested in sharing and contributing to the conversation. When you feel like you’re ready to dive in and discover, that’s the best time to apply.
OK. I’m curious. But can I just test it, first?
A two-week free trial is available to anyone, automatically. When you set up your payment system through PayPal, you will see the free trial weeks are a built-in part of the package.
Can I jump on, then take a break, and join in later?
No. The project works because people have become members of the space, and it’s really about having access and holding ourselves accountable together, in real time. When someone leaves the project, that’s fine, but it changes the group dynamics and makes space for new voices. Holding the safe space is what Kismuth is here to do, and we want to have people on board who feel comfortable. That doesn’t mean you can’t leave, of course! Cancel anytime, no problem. But you’ll have to wait until the new year to reapply, and preference will be given to new candidates.
What if I get overwhelmed and can’t keep up?
No problem. It’s pay-as-you-go, so you can cancel anytime.
Where do my fees go?
Kismuth sends e-letters to a group of curious, open and self-selecting people from around the world about twice a month. Fees go towards creating a holding space for conversations that link us, across boundaries and perceived differences, so that we can all use social media at its best: for personal, deep, and meaningful connections.
What happens to my writing? Do I retain copyright?
No part of any of what you share in the email circles, or with me directly, will be used anywhere without your permission. We may ask to quote some of your words for our e-letters, but that will be made clear to you ahead of time. You retain all rights to anything you write, and share.
Why are you doing this?
After a decade of looking for what I wanted to do with my life, I realized that creating spaces for others to discover their own voices is what I’m good at and can make happen. What started as a career in architecture morphed into journalism and then brand design. But in each case I was excited about making spaces: physical ones where people could congregate (I went to Walkable Cities conference to talk about porches and sidewalks), or in print for people to share views and expertise, or in workshop-like settings where teams could gather to clarify and refine a specific brand voice. The more I got to do this, the more I learned about shaping the spaces for holding true dialogue: the kind with a center and not sides.
How to apply
Our application review period will be from July 15 through August 31. There’s no cost to apply. Here is the application form:
Cost is USD $7/week. It’s pay-as-you-go, and you can cancel anytime. A free two-week trial is available if you’re curious to try it, first. Just click here or the Subscribe button just below to register.
Don’t have PayPal? Just e-mail and let me know you’d like to find another way.