As the founder of AllSwell, Laura Rubin not only makes notebooks but also holds workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions to help people fill them.

Rubin plays with one of AllSwell’s creative prompt decks at Santa Monica Proper Hotel.
Rubin plays with one of AllSwell’s creative prompt decks. (Ashley Barrett)

“I lead mindful writing experiences that help people tap into the power of putting pen to paper — connecting and amplifying their innate personal voice through journaling best practices,” Rubin says. “I’ve also created a suite of analog products to help individuals access their creativity.”

Earlier this month, Rubin moved her HQ for the day from home to a room at Santa Monica Proper Hotel with Work From Here by Industrious. Throughout the fall, Industrious is turning boutique hotel rooms around the country into on-demand offices that give people the tools, space, and privacy they need to do their best work.

Read on to learn more about Rubin’s experience at Santa Monica Proper and how she helps everyone from entrepreneurs to artists unlock their creativity.

What’s a typical workday like for you right now?

Part of what I love about what I do is that there are very few “typical” days. That said, I do have a consistent morning routine. I get up early and dive into my daily writing ritual. I stretch, read a little, drink my tea, and write longhand in my journal. It might just be for a few minutes, but this time is sacred for me. Then I start my work day — physically grounded, mentally present, and inspired.

I usually have one or two creative coaching client sessions a day (spaced out so I have time to reset in between). I likely have virtual meetings with brands or businesses for which I’m creating custom workshops. Additionally, I may hop onto IG Live to talk about the benefits of journaling or spend time planning upcoming AllSwell events or writing content for newsletters, articles, and social media. On a workshop game day I pare down my schedule so I can be fully present for the attendees.

I devote part of my week to research. I read about one to three books a week in addition to reading a wide range of periodicals, listening to podcasts, and watching lectures and documentaries. It’s not necessarily with the direct intent of output for the sake of productivity, but it usually finds its way into AllSwell content eventually. Whatever strikes my intellectual curiosity, I follow that thread. It’s all grist for the mill.

How is being at Santa Monica Proper different?

I am 100% focused on my clients/attendees when I’m leading experiences and coaching. Being an extroverted introvert I tend to need some time on my own to recharge afterwards.

Switching up my location gave me an instant refresh. My needs were all met, which felt pretty luxurious. I was able to focus and tackle a writing project I’d been saving until I had a chunk of uninterrupted time.

Does changing up your space affect your work? If so, how?

Environment is an important factor for creativity. Maya Angelou would check into a hotel room and use it for writing whenever she began a book. Just like Work From Here by Industrious, she didn’t sleep in the room; she used it exclusively as her workplace, returning in the morning to grind out pages and wrestle with copy.

Particularly these days when we’re all working from home, it’s such a pleasant change to be in a space that doesn’t have the usual distractions — no mail to open, laundry to do, dishes to wash, etc. And if you’re cohabitating with family/friends/roommates during this time it’s pretty special to have a creative cocoon all to yourself. Virginia Woolf referred to the importance of “a room of one’s own” for her creative process. Most humans need some degree of isolation in order to ideate.

Guests can change up their space (or take a break) by the hotel pool.
Guests can change up their space (or take a break) by the hotel pool.

What about your mood? Your work-life balance?

In Los Angeles, we’ve been pretty isolated this year. Things never really opened up the way they did on the East Coast. Additionally, I live way up in North Malibu, which is beautiful but also isolating.

When I arrived at the hotel, I experienced some slight culture shock interacting with new people, being somewhere different. But the team at the Santa Monica Proper are all complete pros and it’s clear that they have taken great pains to be COVID-19 compliant throughout the property. I quickly shook off the disorientation and was able to enjoy the experience of being in a chic, calming, and quiet environment.

What was your favorite part of your office at the Santa Monica Proper?

All the small touches. The handwritten note on my desk welcoming me; the espresso machine set out with a mix of caf. and decaf pods (caffeinated coffee and I do not get along); the fresh pad of paper and pencil set out, inviting creativity. This all reflects the essence of hospitality: anticipating someone’s needs. As a hostess it’s a dynamic I’m familiar with, and it was a real treat to have a team looking out for mine.

What else should people know about Work From Here by Industrious at Santa Monica Proper?

You’ll be tempted to nap. Full disclosure: I did. And I don’t regret it.