WELCOME.

Your being here signals to us that you are looking for a different kind of writing experience.

One in which you won’t feel so isolated and alone.

Two years ago, starting at the very top of 2014, we put out a call for interest just like this one. Back then, we had no idea if this idea had legs, but just wanted to try it. Through a few experimental trials, we got the hang of the thing that people said they liked most: interaction. Conversation, not just the writing for writing’s sake, or writing to sound, well, writerly. By the end of that year, we had hosted more than 50 people in small circles through ‘the cojournal.’

Kismuth invited some of those guests to paste some of their favorite pieces into what became a small anthology, The Mirror. (See more here. Sure, it wasn’t for everyone to write into a virtual space, but the idea was the ambient awareness—I’m doing this, and those people are, too!

The work of writing and making space to practice

WRITING WELL starts with finding your voice.

We believe in agile publishing as a way to practice and learn, as you go. More about this idea is at this page at our parent company, Design Kompany.

Two kinds of people in the world. Those who want to write, and those who are writing.

So if you want to write, read on.

Because the COJOURNAL is a way to make time and space for it, and to have someone there (that would be us at Kismuth) to hold you accountable. For a while, anyway. We are only offering this in 12-week blocks. The people who make it to the end of the program might be invited to join us in the next layer of writing and co-publishing here, which is WRITING & ASSEMBLY. Very fun.

But all of this big-picture ePublishing stuff starts with writing. Actually writing. A lot.

And sharing bits—scraps and snippets, with yourself to see what it feels like to invest in the process. And with others, who can give you feedback in real time.

As they say, writing is all rewriting, anyway, and the best kind starts with a good well-conceived idea.

Something you care about, too. A lot. But what?

‘What should I write about?’

TEST AND JOURNEY. COJOURNALING offers you a chance to discover the things you know. You don’t have to sound ‘smart’ or like you are supposed to win something for your job—a raise, a grant, or some accolades for a good line. Instead, it’s about you. Your world, your reflections, your story. The heart of what makes you you. It’s not coaching. It’s not a writing course. It’s not a trick. The cojournal has really worked for people. If that hadn’t been the case, we wouldn’t be bringing it up again. But it’s not for everyone. You have to apply. There’s also a fee. If that’s all cool, click this button to get more details:

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The universal experiences that make us human

WHEN DO WE modern, isolated humans in the first world have a chance to discuss these things, the things that connect us all, that make us truly human? It’s big stuff. And you don’t need to get into ‘winning’ at anything, with the COJOURNAL. All sharing is welcome. Keeping it small helps keep it manageable. We don’t have to get to know a dozen people all at once, and it’s not like those natural hierarchies form that often do when you make groups. Plus, it’s just 12 weeks. Come as you are, go as you’ve become.

But it sure is fun, writing with others. Especially when they don’t know you. It’s freeing, in a big way, because it cuts out the clutter of dealing with facades. We start writing, and it gets real. Fast.

Write what you know, they say. But what do I know?, you ask yourself. I have a beef, I admit it, with gimmicky programs that try to get you to spend lots of money for a short-form ‘fix’ to make space for your writing. We all know that it takes time to ramp up, mentally, to a getaway, and then when you get there you have to build rapport and so on, and then there’s smalltalk, lunches, drinking, perhaps some drugs, perhaps some music and more smalltalk and, ‘Wasn’t that a rip-roaring good time. But damn if I didn’t get anything done?’

So, yeah. Going away for one week isn’t going to be enough. Even if it’s a retreat. Even if it’s more than that, if it’s a whole big degree program somewhere in the Midwest, it’s still not going to be enough. What has to happen is that you write. And see how people respond. But it’s not about pleasing them. It’s about seeing what you think about the reactions. Feedback. That’s what helps, mostly. Because really it’s about what YOU think. When you know your voice, when you’ve got your concept, you can write. Really write. Like you give a damn. And that’s the only kind that matters. Isn’t it?

Crazytalk?

Of course not.

Getting to VOICE isn’t as hard as we think.

LIKE WE SAID, getting to the writing work isn’t about getting a degree. Or finding someone to validate you. Or having ten people in the room nod and say, ‘Yeah. That’s good.’ Because who cares? What do they know, really? They are all exactly the kind of people who feel like they need validation to prove themselves. Do you really want that to be your listening audience, when you’re just getting going with this sharing-out-loud stuff? Do they really want to hear your feelings, your take on things that might run against the grain or not be ‘publishable’ or perhaps stray too far from mainstream writing and imprinted ideas? Do these folks even care? More importantly, do you care what they think?

Think about that.

Do you?

Or do you want to feel, ‘Hey. Writing this felt right. Really right. Shazam!’

Great writing starts with voice.

Great writing starts with PRACTICE.

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Write NOW with writing prompts from the COJOURNAL

KISMUTH BOOKS editor Dipika Kohli (TEDx, personal site, design studio) hosts an online writing project called ‘The Cojournal.’

Every Monday at 7AM USEST, she emails a writing prompt to a self-selecting group of people. (Note: there is a fee. Who has time for a free workshop? Not you. Not us.)

‘We write. We share. We read. We write back,’ she says.

Small groups. Just four per circle. The technicalities of how to share are something that we can go into, if you are curious. (There is a form below–use it to contact us with your questions.) Maybe something in a short response to a prompt will grow into something. Maybe someone will say, ‘Hey, that reminds me of when you said x back in June.’ Maybe not. Maybe it will just sit in the mind and, as Mark Twain said, you’ll ‘let the tank fill’ again.

Stimulation is important. But the RIGHT kind.

People are good. People help.

Personally, we find that there are too many distractions from conversations people to people. Like YouTube. Video games. Even in real life it can be mundane and banal. ‘Talks with friends’ turn into expensive rounds of drinks and pity parties. No work gets done. No writing. Blech.

Why waste time?

Get busy. The right kind of busy. Where you’re making.

SERIOUS WRITING. Sure helps when other people are also holding themselves accountable. Writing. Committing to it. Twenty minutes a week. That’s what this project asks you to do . 20 minutes a week. Make space.

For real-time feedback. Real-time response. Real conversations. Closed circles, safe space. And most importantly: Space for practice.

NOW IS THE TIME. Many of us don’t have time to drop everything and go join an expensive creative writing program. When we are in our teens and twenties, someone out there might have told us that is the way to ‘become a writer.’

Quite simply, it isn’t THE way. We’re of the opinion that it blocks you, to be honest. Writing is about voice. Finding it. That’s a very personal journey. It can’t help if someone has an opinion about your work before you even find your voice. There is just no way for me not to underline this next point enough times.

YOU DON’T NEED VALIDATION from anyone else.

You need to practice.

You know this, though.

To find your voice.

It’s about doing.

Trial. Error. Brute force. Prototyping. Drafting. Whatever you want to call it, it has to start with something. That’s why it’s nice when that something is guided, hosted, and gently reminds you that it’s there for you. Just 12 weeks, though. After that, it’s all on you.

The win comes when you discover, ‘a-ha!’, along the way. It’s like when you mix the perfect mix for a batch of cookies with your mom. It’s like when you read something and all of a sudden it makes perfect sense.

It’s like when you go to the furthest vista you can imagine—physically, or metaphorically—and look over the edge and go, ‘Whoa. I’m HERE.’

Growth.

Learning.

That’s all there really is, isn’t it? When we have our basic needs met?

Where do we find quiet space to simply practice writing?

And not just in our houses, by ourselves. WITH others.

Twenty minutes a week.

12 weeks.

The Cojournal.

JOIN. Out of the need to carefully screen people for quality and commitment, there is now a registration process. You’ll need to first add your name at this page.

Further instructions from there. Will need to see if it’s a mutual fit.

Ready to START WRITING?

Start the application process here.

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Comments

[…] 2014 a small group of people interested in writing to prompts together joined Kismuth Books’ COJOURNAL project. After writing in small circles for a year, Kismuth collaged the anthology, THE […]

[…] A huge part of the creative process: editing. Learning, after you’ve said ‘yes’ a lot, how to finally say ‘no.’ Because you want to deliver value where you are best capable of doing that. So it’s client-oriented. Really. It’s not about you. Breaking it down. Not saying too much in one arena, saying what feels like it fits, like it sits right, in the circles of interest that feel like they most and best align with you. Where you are, there and then. Cause of course it will change. It always does. Everything is moving around, in flux, all the time. The longer I was writing the more I felt it would be fun to write wit hothers, and that’s how such inventions as ‘co-creation’ began, for me, with a few trusting and ready-to-try-this others. That was in 2014, starting with COJOURNAL14. […]

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