"I want to share what I’ve learned
with other high-achieving women;
so, they can THRIVE, not just survive,
writing their first novel."
-Richelle Lyn Aschenbrenner
Hi, I'm Richelle, the Creator of MIND YOUR GAP TRIP, and a former Attorney & HR Exec turned Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach & Writer.
Learn more about Me and My Writing and Book Coaching Journeys below.
Learn about My Book Coaching Mission here.
FIFTEEN FACTS ABOUT ME:
I have written three guest columns and other guest posts for DIYMFA.com since 2019: Virtual Writers Sabbatical, Tales of a Solopreneur, and Book Coach Corner.
My favorite fiction reads involve leading ladies who push boundaries and conquer their fears while preferably digging for secrets, learning magic, and/or saving the World.
I’m also a fan of non-fiction reads focused on personal growth and transformation.
I love my tea hot and my coffee iced.
I call South Florida home, but my favorite place to be is on a trip.
My longest trip abroad was to Europe for 10 weeks in 2019.
My favorite countries to keep visiting are Italy and Ireland.
I’ve been to Walt Disney World more than any other vacation destination. My favorite ride is the Monorail although Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is now a very close second.
I love to watch professional tennis. I’m 3/4 of the way through traveling the globe to attend the four Tennis Grand Slams. I’ve checked off the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Just the Australian Open left to go…
Knitting is my jam - and my favorite stress reliever. It both inspires my creativity and embodies my love of arts and crafts, colors galore, project planning, and learning new skills and techniques. Plus, knitters are some of the nicest people you will meet!
My second favorite stress reliever is the Headspace app. I’m digging the colored noises these days…
My favorite comic strip is Peanuts. Charles Schulz just got it…!
My favorite music is Classic Rock. I’m a kid of the 70s…
But I also love to attend Broadway musicals and plays. I even have an annual Broadway plays subscription.
My favorite TV show binges the past few years include: The Diplomat, The Last Thing He Told Me, Alias (I did a reboot for the twentieth anniversary and loved it even more the second time around), The Nevers, The Mandalorian, Andor, Outlander, Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
MY WRITING AND BOOK COACHING JOURNEYS
I can remember as early as age eight declaring I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I read books voraciously, created my own short stories, and entered school writing competitions. I wrote and co-edited my junior high and high school newspapers. I considered a journalism career before opting for an undergraduate business accounting degree and then a juris doctorate and a masters degree in tax law. My law degrees slingshot me into professional careers as a certified public accountant, an employee compensation and benefits attorney in small and big law firms and corporate in-house, and then eventually a corporate global human resources executive.
My professional careers involved extensive technical writing, but I stopped writing stories as time passed and work became what often felt like a 24/7 grind. For over 20 years, I became a master of managing bouts of physical and mental burnout while keeping up with the high billable hour requirements and the unpredictability of client and in-house demands. I put my own dreams of writing a novel on hold because my energy was zapped, and my creativity disappeared with it. I had been fighting overload for so long that I was too tired to figure out how to get my creativity back or how to start writing a novel. Plus, I was convinced that if I added one new thing or priority to my world’s orbit, all of my spinning plates would crash to the ground and shatter into a million pieces.
In my early 30s after my first real experience with burnout, I decided I wanted to write for my next act; and I wanted to do so long before traditional retirement age. So, I devised an early retirement strategy to make that possible. Then, I back-burnered my writing dream to a dark corner of my brain vowing that I would focus on it again after I retired. My once burning dream to write a book dwindled to the occasional flicker of a flame as the years passed.
At 48, I’d had enough of the corporate merry-go-round. Although I was younger than my planned early retirement age, I walked away from what society at the time considered a traditional professional career (years before remote work was considered a viable option). I took a voluntary sabbatical with plans to travel, write, and reconnect with myself. I’d planned on stepping away for 12-18 months; but my sabbatical quickly transitioned into my next act, pursuing my passion of a writing career.
I’d successfully implemented my early retirement strategy that I’d crafted almost two decades earlier, but my planning focus had only been on the financial aspects of making my early retirement dream a reality. I didn’t know what I didn’t know about living inside of my next act and starting a new career from scratch - especially later in life. I didn’t realize how much of my personal identity was tied up in my working life that I had happily walked away from (actually, it was more of a sprint with no backward looks). I hadn’t equipped myself mentally or emotionally for what my life would look and feel like in my next life phase. I also hadn’t skilled up in advance with the training I needed for my career switch. So, I spent the first few years of my next act climbing a steep learning curve just to get myself to the point where I was ready to live my writing dream and start writing my first book.
While I skilled up those first few years, my interests and passions took a few detours as I went on my own personal growth journey. I chose some new paths, one of which was book coaching. I enrolled in the Author Accelerator Book Coach Certification: Fiction course initially as another tool in my novel-writing self-study program. But after studying the extensive curriculum, coaching multiple clients, and later working with my own book coach while muddling through the middle of my first novel, I’d discovered a whole new career as a book coach.
Book coaching melds my love of stories, mysteries, and the unknown; my interest in the human experience; my desire to be in community with others; and my superpowers of brainstorming, research, analytics, strategy, message crafting, writing and editing, large-scale project planning and organization, management, and mentoring into one jumbo package with a big, beautiful bow on top.
My personal growth journey was (and still is) just as important to me as reaching my planned destinations. Parts of my next act have been very fun, invigorating, and soul-satisfying, which I was devoid of when I left Corporate America. I’ve also experienced many road bumps along the way.
Upon deconstructing that first handful of years, I discovered the wish list I didn’t know I needed (but wished I’d had) before I started my sabbatical:
~I wish I’d had a personal guide - to help me shortcut and/or avoid some of the road bumps all together - in my next act transition from professional career to passion career, as well as in the novel writing process itself.
~I wish I’d had the toolkit to test drive my passion career before I committed to it.
~I wish I’d known (and believed) that I didn’t have to wait to go in 100% to pursue my writing dream. Rather, I could have incorporated it in small doses into my daily life, which would have added up to something significant over time - and added so much JOY to so many of those interim years before I took my sabbatical.
~Most of all, I wish I’d thrived, not just survived, from the start of my next act.
But I didn’t. And now my next act has come full circle.
I am now the personal guide. I empower other women, who back-burnered their dream of writing when life happened, to make space in their life to test drive writing a book NOW, NOT SOMEDAY. I provide the toolkit for women to get unstuck, believe in themself, reignite their creativity, double-down on their writing dream, put themself back on their to do list, have the courage to design their personalized writing roadmap, build their writing skills toolkit efficiently and effectively, and write the best book they can write. I don’t want them to leave achieving their writing dream to chance. I WANT THEM TO THRIVE, NOT JUST SURVIVE… in their own next act.
Are you ready to start writing your first novel?
Learn more below about Book Coaching, 1-on-1 Coaching Packages,
and Creating a Virtual Writers Sabbatical.
[Image: Old-fashioned typewriter with blank page]
Book Coach Corner Column
Read my Book Coaching 101 blog post which discusses book coaches and how they can help you at any stage in the writing process.
Read my Reframe Your Resistance & Start Your Novel Now blog post which addresses two common misconceptions writers have about when to start writing a novel and when to hire a book coach. Sometimes a book coach is the missing resource a writer needs to help them start their novel.
[Image: Scrabble game pieces spell WRITING]
1-on-1 Coaching Packages
Designing your story’s framework before you start writing your manuscript will give you clarity and confidence as well as save you time and energy down the road by keeping you from writing in circles with no set destination.
I provide introduction, intermediate, and intensive 1-on-1 coaching packages that provide you the opportunity to work with me as you brainstorm and design your story and then build its foundation.
[Image: Old-fashioned typewriter on wood desk with large satchel on desk chair]
Create Your Own Virtual Writers Sabbatical
Read my Create Your Own Virtual Writers Sabbatical blog post on DIYMFA.com which discusses actionable steps you can take to carve out focused time this year to grow your mind, sharpen your writing skills, have some fun, fill your heart, and finish this year stronger than you started it.