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  • Writer's pictureLaura Schaefer

My Story

I wrote my first book in 1988 at the age of nine. It was a Babysitter's Club homage and it was awesome. Then, in 1991, I wrote my second book. This time, it was a fantasy novel complete with illustrations. I got to write it with my best friend Aimee when other 7th graders were doing schoolwork...because we were that far ahead of the class. NERDS RULE.

Fast forward to the late 1990s. I was in college at the University of Wisconsin, where I had the privilege of editing the literature page of The Daily Cardinal student newspaper. Not only did I get to review books, but I also got to meet and interview incredible authors like Mona Simpson and Douglas Copeland. It was amazing, and I was hooked on the literary life. I interned at The University of Wisconsin Press and knew that if my life were to be anything at all, it would be bookish. Arty. Jazzy. Martini-y. You get the picture. I was the world's most sophisticated and pretentious 22-year-old, and it was completely cool, not insufferable at all.

When I graduated in 2001, I promptly announced that jobs were not for moi. I was going to be a writer.

And that's exactly what I did. I honed my craft, attending the UW Writers' Institute and other workshops, and wrote every sort of content under the sun, including but not limited to articles, standardized test items, corporate copy, and even travel guides. For a person who didn't want a job, I managed to work a lot. My breakthrough came in 2005, when I completed my first book about historical personal ads. I was asked to write an op-ed about it for The New York Times and was interviewed on Good Morning America...what an honor! I will never forget discussing my work with Diane Sawyer on live TV, then celebrating with my mom and friends as my title climbed the Amazon sales rankings all day afterward. You know what sells books? Television.

Next, I thought about how much I had loved reading as a middle schooler and noticed that the YA book market was exploding in popularity. So, I switched my focus to writing for younger readers and wrote and published The Teashop Girls and The Secret Ingredient with the amazing editors at Simon & Schuster. These books sold over 30,000 copies and opened the door for me to write a modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, also for young readers.

As I built my career, I've formed valuable relationships with many talented professionals in publishing, including literary agents, editors, and other authors. I couldn't ask to be part of a better industry. Book people are the best people.

In many ways, I've had an absolutely charmed writing career. But there have been dark moments as well.

It was 2015 and I was stuck. It turns out that moving to a new state at the age of 35 with a one-year-old isn’t so easy. Not only was I homesick and out of sorts, but my family was also spending more money each month than it was bringing in. I was pretty stressed out. My parents had always emphasized the value of saving and investing, and here I was, doing neither—in fact, doing the complete opposite.

The question was this: would we give up?

Return to Wisconsin from Florida after yearning so long for the sun—for a fresh start far from the gloom of winter? After working so hard to ensure our daughter would get the opportunity to grow up in the same town as her beloved cousin and other awesome family members? Or, would I give up on the writerly dream and get a fulltime job?

No, thank you.

Instead, something very cool happened: I discovered the power of personal coaching. My eyes were opened and I remembered who I am: a talented writer, book author, and entrepreneur who needed to shift a few things in my business. It was time to get a lot more ambitious and focused. It was time to find my Zone of Genius, as author Gay Hendricks would say.

And so, I did just that.

I’d been writing exceptional books and long-form articles for years, but it wasn’t until I hired a coach of my own, found Brooke Castillo’s excellent podcast, and began writing books for personal development experts that everything clicked for me. Not only did coaching transform how I show up in the world professionally, it also made me a better mother, wife, friend, daughter, and citizen. I’ll never again underestimate the power of taking a close look at our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, actions, and results.

When you are a fish, it’s hard to notice the water. When you are stuck, it’s hard to see a different way to live or to work without some help.

Today, I am an author and ghostwriter who believes 100% in the power of life coaches, executive coaches, and leadership strategists. I study the concepts and foundations of this work every single day by listening to podcasts, reading books, and discussing the latest personal development ideas, mindset changes, and growth strategies with individuals who are improving the world by coaching and consulting.

I am honored to play a role in getting the messages of today’s leading coaches, mentors, and personal development experts to a wider audience. I’d be thrilled if you’d partner with me to write your book.

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