One Woman’s Journey to Help Others Share Their Stories

A few months ago, a friend of mine pointed me towards the blog and online shop of Katie Clemons. My friend knew that I love to journal and thought I would like her stuff and her story.

And he was right. I love the story of how Katie came into journaling and how that passion for story and writing fueled her endeavor to develop her own line of journals.

Keeping a journal has been one of the most important ways that I have been able to thoughtfully reflect on my life. That reflection has been really important as I have made decisions and transitioned through different stages of life.

So I decided to ask Katie a few questions about journaling and life. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you find her story inspiring.

  1. Katie, I love the story about how your journals came to fruition. Can you share what the catalyst was behind you launching Gadanke?

A couple of years ago, NPR’s StoryCorp was in town. It was also my grandma’s 90th birthday.

The two of us decided to hop into the recording studio to capture some pieces of her story. I had all sorts of prompts to help her with her story telling. (I was always the listener, the one who asked question after question.)

The only problem?

My grandma couldn’t remember. Too much time had passed.

Later, my dad turned to me and said, “Katie, I need you to write down your story.” I knew he wished he had his mom’s stories. So I started writing. I started wondering about all of the other women who have stories deep inside of them, and I started thinking about how my tendency to just listen and ask could help put those stories onto paper. Gadanke was born with fabulous writing prompts and recycled papers. I feel so lucky to be living my dream.

I’m fascinated by the various transitions in our lives and I’m wondering how journaling one’s story can better help them navigate these transitions? Have they helped you navigate your own transitions in life? How for example?

When you journal, you are not audience-focused. Blogs, facebook, and conversations with friends have added so much to our lives. But we tend to share what we want other people to know or what we think will get the biggest response.

Journaling is about connecting with your heart or God.

I often think of a dear customer of mine. She has been struggling with infertility. Not too long ago, her sister announced her own pregnancy, and in all this joy for the sister, the woman also felt so much pain and sadness. She couldn’t talk about this pain on something like Facebook or her blog. She wanted to be happy for her sister!

So she journaled.

She let out that pain by writing about it.

These are transitions in life that are obvious and that we can feel. I want to help people draw those stories out.

I also want to draw out the stories that we don’t even realize are something that matter. We don’t realize that our normal right now will be totally different in 20 years. So often, we don’t even realize the transformations growing in our hearts. But they show up on paper. In 20 years, wouldn’t it be awesome to read about? Wouldn’t it be awesome to read that about our parents and grandparents?

What advice would you give someone who really wants to write more about their life, but feels like they have nothing to say….or feels like they don’t know how to organize their thoughts?

First – your story DOES MATTER. It matters to the people who know you. It matters to the people who will know you in the future. It’ll matter to the people who will never get to meet you but will hear about you. And it matters for you.

My entire mission with Gadanke is to create prompts that capture the stories for you. I love creating quotations that will have you thinking about favorite foods in childhood, where you dream of going, and what a typical today is like for you.

Katie, there are lots of journals out there in the marketplace, but I was wondering if you could tell us why you believe yours are best designed for people who want to “celebrate their story.”

I cannot claim to be better because our stories are all so different. So I focus on making something that can be most adaptable to anyone. Here are two things customers embrace in my products:

1. Gadanke journals have loose rings that you can pop open. Add more pages; reorganize the pages; hole punch and add letters, postcards, and memorabilia. It becomes a scrapbook with your story if you want it to be.

2. Gadanke journals have lots of extra bits. Library cards, tags, pockets, stickers, and Italian patterned papers give your stories a visual dimension. Plus they’re so fun to vary your writing on!

You can connect more with Katie online at:

Twitter
Facebook

2 Comments

  1. by Linda Stoll on August 16, 2011  2:15 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journaling story! I've found this spiritual discipline to be a life-enriching one for me, and encourage my clients to pursue this as part of their own healing and growth ...

    I can't imagine what my life would look like without this focused, ongoing conversation with God.

    And yes, it's become a bit of a scrapbook with momentos, notes, tickets, pictures, and etc. filling in the pages, too.

    From time to time I will share my own conversations with God with my own blog readers ...
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/search/label/From%20Pen%20to%20Paper

  2. by Linda Stoll on August 16, 2011  2:15 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journaling story! I've found this spiritual discipline to be a life-enriching one for me, and encourage my clients to pursue this as part of their own healing and growth ...

    I can't imagine what my life would look like without this focused, ongoing conversation with God.

    And yes, it's become a bit of a scrapbook with momentos, notes, tickets, pictures, and etc. filling in the pages, too.

    From time to time I will share my own conversations with God with my own blog readers ...
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/search/label/From%20Pen%20to%20Paper

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