Your Words Unleashed Signature Program
Private Coaching for Scholarly Authors
FIND YOUR VOICE.
AND FINALLY GET IT OFF YOUR PLATE!
You’re a high-achieving scholar who has worked so hard and sacrificed so much to follow your academic dreams.
But right now, you’re feeling overwhelmed from trying to write your book while juggling other things like teaching, service, and time with family and friends.
The pressure is starting to get to you. Working (or, let’s be honest, not working) on the manuscript is bringing stress, sleepless nights, and little to no work-life balance.
The thing is—you KNOW the story you want to write! You’ve been researching this topic for years and are undoubtedly one of the world’s leading experts.
But you’ve never written a book before, so how are you supposed to know what to do?
The stakes feel sky high. Publishing a book will let you reach many of your hard-fought dreams.
Dreams of getting a job or getting tenure and having financial security, once and for all. Dreams of being recognized for your brilliance. Dreams of improving the world with your ideas.
Ultimately, this is about having an impact and legacy no one can deny.
and manage to have a life too?
Nobody seems to have the answers you need. You’ve asked your advisors, colleagues, and friends for advice about publishing, and it all conflicts! They can only tell you what has worked for them.
You don’t have a good writing system and are tired of trying to motivate yourself to keep working on a project that doesn’t seem to be moving forward.
Or, just when you are able to get started again, you get derailed once again by more pressing deadlines.
You’re feeling guilty when you’re not writing but spinning your wheels when you do! You worry that you’ve fallen too far behind—or at least that’s what your annoying inner critic is always telling you.
But don’t give up! You can still make your dreams a reality.
THIS IS WHERE I COME IN.
I’ve worked with hundreds of high achievers like you to find personalized writing strategies that help you fall back in love with writing as a form of self-expression.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all process, we draw wisdom from your own unique history and use your core values to make decisions that help you write with more joy and purpose.
Just like you, I felt lost and overwhelmed when working on my first book. I wished there was someone who could help guide me through such unfamiliar terrain.
Now as a coach, my mission is to support and empower writers—especially folks from marginalized backgrounds—to overcome internal blocks and understand the hidden curriculum of academic publishing.
The world needs your voice to be heard!
The six-month Your Words Unleashed Program helps you develop the practical strategies and unshakable self-confidence to write your book, while also giving you ways to invest fully in other areas of your life.
My holistic process involves assessing the overall life you want to lead and then creating a sustainable writing schedule and realistic goals. We also identify your ideal audience and locate the book’s core message, which are grounded in your own deeper purpose as a writer.
The work I do with new authors ranges from walking you through the process of writing an attention-grabbing book proposal to helping you create, and commit to, a consistent writing schedule that lets you finish your manuscript without burning out.
As a publishing strategist, I will help you demystify the world of academic publishing, including advising you on how to choose the best press, contacting editors, and sending materials out for review.
Throughout, I will provide feedback on your writing and ideas.
WHO AM I?
I’m a certified life coach and former tenured professor of Sociology who spent the past two decades in academia. Unlike a lot of other writing coaches, I’m also a researcher—a feminist ethnographer who has published two sole-authored books with university presses. I’m currently writing a third book as well!
My coaching brings together an intimate understanding of writing, scholarly publishing, and the pressures (as well as pleasures) of academic life.
Now, even though I have all the necessary qualifications, what REALLY matters is that I’ve been exactly where you are now, and I can help you find your way with ease and grace.
“Leslie helped me break through my own limiting beliefs tied to writing. I never thought I would have the courage to submit my book proposal, and now I have a forthcoming book contract from a top university press! Before working with Leslie, I was definitely in a toxic relationship with academia and my writing productivity. I have been able to heal my relationship to academia and my writing, and I feel more in control and empowered to exist in academia as a whole person, while letting go of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of myself. I never thought letting go of my perfectionism was possible, to be honest. But working with Leslie, who takes a holistic approach, I've become able to distinguish my values, goals, and larger purpose. As a scholar, I pride myself in being invested in humanizing the lives of some of the most marginalized communities in society through my research and writing. Yet I didn't realize until my work with Leslie, that my relationship to myself as a scholar was saturated in self-deprecation and self-loathing. Overall, through hiring Leslie as my coach, I feel liberated from the limiting beliefs I carried, and the unrealistically high expectations expounded by academia. I've learned that I get to engage in academia on my own terms.”
Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation to tell me your writing goals and find out how my program can help you achieve them:
Your Words Unleashed Signature Coaching Program
This program is for people who want to create a satisfying writing practice that fits your busy life and taps into your own unique gifts and abilities.
You don’t need to do this alone!
You want to look forward to writing your manuscript each day and making consistent progress.
You’ve already tried everything, and nothing has stuck for very long. Just know that this is not your fault.
It’s nearly impossible to find clear guidelines on how to write and publish your first book, so how on earth would you know what to do?
But one thing has become abundantly clear: you are ready to instill healthy boundaries with work and prioritize your own emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Imagine how good it will feel:
When you sign your first book contract…
When you press “submit” to send your final manuscript for printing…
When you hold a hard copy of your book in your hands…
When your ideal audience reads your book and their lives are transformed by it…
I can help you get there.
YOUR INVESTMENT: $4,000 (payable in one or two installments)
“I began coaching because I was having trouble writing. I was procrastinating a lot and was mentally and emotionally overwhelmed. Through coaching, I was able to recognize the fears and inner critics inside of me and address them effectively. I am also able to feel joy and excitement while writing. Women have been conditioned to question ourselves in almost every facet of our lives, including in academia. Leslie provides a space for us to interrogate these beliefs and the ways we have internalized them, and ultimately, to make peace with them. She encourages us to build confidence, based on our core values and to let that shine through our work. I am very grateful for Leslie.”
“Working with Leslie was fantastic! She is a supportive mentor outside your immediate department or field who can provide in unbiased guidance and de-escalate unhelpful emotions. Because of writing coaching, I’m now able to work more methodically and feel more satisfied at the end of the day.”
“I originally signed up for writing coaching because I felt overworked and wanted to find a plan to address this so I could have a more sustainable situation post-tenure. After coaching with Leslie, I have much more clarity about the sources of my burnout and much more empowered to change things. A huge part of that was clarifying what my values are and aligning my time usage to make sure my values are being lived out. I have become more satisfied with my work because we came up with ways for me to recognize my progress; this reduced my internalized pressure to overwork. I highly recommend Leslie as a coach. She is very focused on helping you find your own best answers, not just imposing solutions on you.”
“I started coaching with Leslie because I was feeling a sense of professional dissatisfaction. I was able to get more clarity on how to better align my work to my larger purpose and values. I identified some mental patterns (a scarcity mindset, internalizing academic norms that don't actually serve my goals, the belief that I need to struggle to succeed, etc.) that definitely were not serving me. Now I'm able to bring a more creative, playful, curious energy to my writing and see that this approach is not only better for my soul, but also good for my CV.”
Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of my clients use grants or institutional funds to cover coaching sessions. Writing coaching is increasingly considered part of professional development. I have a funding letter template you can tailor to request funding from your institution. (And if you’re not sure, just ask your school! Several of my clients were ready to pay out of pocket when I gave them the letter to send to their department chairs or deans. They were subsequently able to get coaching covered—or at least mostly covered—by their institutions.)
Other than our sessions, your time commitment will go towards writing your book. But because you’ll be using a well thought out plan, you will probably have even more time and energy to spend on your life outside of work.
Like all things, your success really depends on your commitment to the process. But the unique combination of writing coaching, external accountability, and practical publishing advice I offer allows my clients to make incredible progress. Within six months, many who were completely stalled out are able to complete a book proposal and 1-2 sample chapters. Others who are further along on with writing use coaching to maintain focus and inspiration so they can finish their manuscripts once and for all! Many other programs focus ONLY on writing strategies and productivity, whereas I give equal attention to your mindset and clarity of purpose.
The answer is NO, my clients are not limited to only first-time authors. I also coach folks at different stages of book and article writing. Some of my clients are in article fields but still benefit enormously from the coaching, accountability, and writing schedule we put in place. The main difference is that they don’t need as much help figuring out the academic publishing world, which leaves time for us to address other issues.
Coaching is a powerful, ongoing relationship that helps you identify your values and realize your larger life vision. I give my clients tools and support to remove internal obstacles and facilitate deep change. Unlike some forms of therapy, the work we do together is future-oriented and geared towards action and achieving goals. Many of my clients work with a therapist at the same time and do very well with the combination. (Click here to read more about the differences between coaching and therapy.)
There are a lot of writing coaches out there, so it’s a good idea to talk to different people to find the best fit for you and your needs. That said, few coaches understand the world of higher education, writing, and academic publishing as intimately as I do. Most importantly, your situation may be unique, but I’ve felt all the same things you’re feeling. Self-doubt? Overwhelm? Anxiety? Guilt? Take it from me – you’ll be amazed at how radically your life can change for the better when you work with someone who has been there, done it, and can help you open the door to new possibilities.
It’s important to note that I’m a coach, not a developmental editor or a copy editor (both of whom I also encourage authors to work with). Developmental editors work with your writing in a hands-on fashion, helping you develop your argument and ideas into a cohesive whole. Copy-editors spruce up your prose, help with formatting, and fix grammatical errors. As a coach, my role is to help you with the big picture process so that you can write your manuscript with the greatest ease. This means working with your mindset, improving your habits, and setting manageable goals so that writing becomes one part of an overall satisfying life. That said, I will read parts of your work throughout, such as your book proposal and pieces of chapters, and I will give feedback as a fellow author and interested reader. However, if you are looking for very detailed feedback or line edits, you may be better served by a developmental or copy editor.
Yes, I sometimes offer clients 6- or 8-session packages depending on their goals and where they are in the writing process. Six sessions will take place over ~4 months, while eight sessions will take ~5 months. However, if you have written less than half of your manuscript, then 10 sessions is the most appropriate.
Although the majority of my clients are women, I also coach a number of self-identified men and non-binary scholars.
Although most of my clients pursue writing coaching, others sign up for more general career and life coaching. I’ve worked with clients on issues ranging from overcoming burnout to navigating the academic job market to making a concrete plan to leave academia. If you are seeking clarity of purpose and a more balanced life, then coaching is for you! Sign up for a free consult to find out more.