My Experience with The Isolation Journals


I heard about the Isolation Journals on Instagram through Maggie Rogers, a singer and a member of the project. It consists of thirty free writing prompts delivered via email to anyone who wants to join. The project was created by Suleika Jaouad, a writer, activist and cancer survivor. According to her, quarantine is something she knows well because of her time in cancer treatment. 

The project intrigued me because it makes so much sense for the current time. It is a way to bring thousands of people together in a creative and introspective activity which makes people reflect on their past, current and future situations. It makes you feel less alone knowing everyone is writing and reflecting on the same things you are. 

Although there have been five days of prompts, I’ve only completed three so far. I’m treating this as another productive way to fill my time, not an obligation or something I need to force myself to do. 

I recommend everyone sign up and give this project a try. At the very least, it will be something to do and reflect on during this time inside, and at best it will be a great way to relieve the stress on mental health and put serious time and commitment into your writing skills, maybe even coming out with a publishable project by the end of it. 

The first prompt was writing a letter to a stranger about anything, always with no intention of sending the letter. Writing a letter to someone I had one conversation with and never saw again is interesting right now because on the one hand, we are currently all more or less in the same boat; on the other hand, the stranger I wrote to is definitely struggling with personal problems I can’t imagine. Even so, it felt like speaking to a friend, but you can talk about yourself and let out all the anxiety and uncertainty and confusion of this time without worrying that you’re talking too much about yourself.

Day 2 dealt with saying you’re “fine” when you’re not, which everyone is guilty of and everyone is likely doing a lot lately. Write about a time you said you were fine when you weren’t, whether you were better than fine or much worse. It’s a great one for reflection and correction. Even if it is too late to correct that particular situation, what a good way to think on how you would answer differently if you were being honest, even if to yourself. It’s a heavy thing to think and write about, but it has been one of my favorites.

The last prompt I completed was writing about your day as a travel journal entry, treating your home as a foreign environment. That one was fun, but it was hard for me to get a good idea of how I would write a travel journal, so I used it as a way to leave myself a recap of the day. 

I look forward to keeping this challenge over the next month, with fingers crossed that I’ll be able to go out by the end of it. And maybe in a few hundred years my writing will be in the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic chapter of school textbooks.

If you join the challenge, connect with me! I would love to hear your experience with it.