Author and Coach Sara Connell Helps Young Writers
Sara Connell knows that female entrepreneurs who have a mentor or a coach, most often see their personal and career success soar to new heights.
“It’s all about being lifted up and built up,” Connell says. “It has been shown that women who had a mentor or coach who believed in them, and as a result, their confidence and income accelerated three times. I was in that camp where having that voice and that community can make all the difference in the world.”
Once Connell wrote and published her first book Bringing in Finn, and heard from her readers, she felt compelled to merge her two worlds.
The bestselling writer, motivator, and experienced writing coach, credits a random book she picked up Holy Hunger: A Woman’s Journey From Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, from a shop in the Boston airport for “saving her life” and leading her to look for help for her eating disorder. She wants women to know that they don’t have to be Elizabeth Gilbert or Brene Brown to share their story, and after developing her own writing career is coaching other women to find their voice for an article, book, or TedX Talk.
As an author and coach, Sara Connell has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The View, Katie Couric, and NPR, she is eager to point out that confidence gaps often lead to wage gaps and women hitting their heads on glass ceilings.
She said she was hard-pressed to figure out why female freelance writers and photographers, for example, earn 28 percent less than their equally trained and talented counterparts, even though they set their own rates.
What she discovered is that some women “doubt their worthiness or second guess themselves so they believe that they can’t charge as much as men. I use a lot of different techniques to work on eliminating those inner biases and inner glass ceilings that stop many women from writing a book, or other big goals. “After reading a book saved my life, I knew I wanted to devote my work to writing my own and helping others with a calling to write and share their stories,” she explains.
Connell’s journey to becoming a writer started with a yearning when she was young, but she took a turn after graduating from Northwestern University by working at an ad agency. The job had an “abusive metoo# toxic atmosphere,” which she dealt with by developing an eating disorder, which she ultimately got help for.
She studied the writing craft, followed by getting an agent, published Bringing in Finn, her remarkable first book, and decided she wanted to share her hard-won skills with others. Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine 2012 Book of the Year.
Bringing in Finn is the true story of a couple who wanted nothing more than to have a family and a mother who would do anything for her daughter. After unsuccessfully trying to conceive naturally, years of fertility treatments, miscarriage, and a late-term loss of twins, Sara and Bill Connell were emotionally and financially depleted and at a loss as to how they could have a family.
When Connell’s mother Kristine offered to be their surrogate, the three embark on the journey that would culminate in Finnean’s miraculous birth and complete a transformation of their at-one-time strained mother-daughter relationship. Her miracle child is now 10 years old and brings his parents and extended family, and friends great joy.
Her other popular book, Ways to Double Your Productivity, Improve Your Craft and Get Published, a field guide for writers. Aspiring, emerging, and established professional writers will benefit from Sara Connell’s coaching expertise on developing author confidence, effective craft strategies, and insider tips to getting published. Going beyond the typical recommendations to “write every day” and “celebrate rejections. Her books are available in bookstores and on Amazon.
“After hearing from readers, I decided to merge my two worlds, and I currently coach women and help them tell their stories on stage (TED Talks) or write an article or a book,” through her Thought Leader Academy.
Through her coaching, Connell breaks down the steps to unearth the author’s unique passion and expertise, and how it solves the reader’s urgent needs at this time in their lives. “Once we identify the big idea, or structure of the book we do mapping (outlining) and create a timeline during the 12-week program.”
She helps with self-help, memoirs, and novels, and has a team of book editors (crafters and coaches) who are trained as coaches who walk the prospective authors through the process Having the editing, coaching, cheering and advice makes the task less daunting. In fact, she advises writers to tackle three pages a day and avoid thinking of the entire book.
Many people, particularly women, talk themselves out of publishing or speaking. They fall into the confidence gap and believe they are unworthy, unimportant- they listen to the patriarchal voice that says “who do you think you are?” I am on a mission to support anyone who has the calling to share their story to do it and by doing so- change, even save someone else’s life.
Seven Inspiring Tips from Author/Coach Sara Connell
- You are someone’s Brene Brown. Often people tell me that they want to write a book but they stop because they’re not a celebrity, there are already so many books, other people have written on the same topic. After a book written by a “non-celebrity” saved my life, I know each person’s story has tremendous worth and also the power to help others. Someone may be crying on their bathroom floor right now because they need hope, a new insight, a way forward, and even though there are many books in the world- YOUR book is the one that will land for them. If you feel the calling to write- WRITE!
- Self-worth = Net-worth. When someone wants to make more money, I invite them to look at their level of self-worth. Many women especially struggle with “the confidence gap” (women underestimate their value, skill, and performance by 25-30 percent) Make a decision to substitute critical thoughts for positive, affirming messages. Quick strategy to help with this: make a list of 10 amazing, courageous things you’ve done in your life – personal or professional. Fill yourself up with evidence of your resilience, strength, and dedication. If this feels hard, ask 5 people close to you to reflect the top strengths and qualities they see in you. Read this list every day for 1 month. Track your financial numbers during this period of time. When my clients do this work, their income and confidence rise proportionally.
- Get in the Room: Research shows that our income and success will reflect that of the five people with whom we spend the most time. Find a mentor, mastermind group, networking circle- virtual or live- filled with people who have already accomplished the goals you want to achieve. You’ll learn the mindset, actions, and habits, and exponentially accelerate your success.
- If you don’t see the book (TED talk or business) you are looking for – it’s because you’re the one to write/create it. I first heard this idea from Toni Morrision. She didn’t see books depicting the real experiences of people of color- so she took on the task. That vacuum you see is your invitation to awaken the writer-thought leader- innovator inside you and make your unique contribution to the world.
- The Inspiration IS the sign: I spent years not writing because a teacher didn’t tell me I was great and destined to be a writer. I thought I needed permission, validation- A SIGN. After coaching writers and thought-leaders for almost 20 years, I now believe the calling– the inspiration- IS the sign. If the Big Magic has tapped you with an idea- that’s all the permission you need. Go for it!
- Immerse in the Craft: Mark Twain said the difference between a good word and the right word is the difference between a lightning bug and lightning. Whatever vision is calling you- immerse yourself in the craft. Read, watch, and listen to everything you can find that was created by masters in your field. Practice like it’s your job. Every day during the pandemic, I walked for 1 hour during which I listened to writing craft lectures, interviews with authors, and audiobooks on the craft of creative writing. Then I’d go home and write. I treated myself like a tea bag- steeping in the wisdom of writers who are masters of their art. This immersion practice helped me start to find “the right word” and it will help you move toward mastery in any field of study.
- Your Story As Protest: Many people tell me they want to write but are afraid of what their mom, uncle, third-grade teacher, or colleagues will think. They’re afraid of judgment, ridicule, or failure. They don’t believe they’re something enough. I get it. I spent two decades avoiding writing based on these same fears. It’s scary as hell to share our stories, to be seen, to own our experience. One antidote to the fear is to consider what message you are sending to yourself and the world if you do not share your story? If you tell yourself your story isn’t important, what does that tell your friend, your daughter, your niece? What does it tell society about women or men or whatever reason your mind says you’re not good enough? We can only dismantle toxic ideas of women or under-represented group’s inferiority, of ancestral trauma of family secrets by taking bold, contrary action. Consider sharing your story as an act of protest, or liberation, or forward social change.