Meet Alex

Author + Book Coach

My Story

How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you become a book coach?

To answer this question about me, I’d love to share a few defining moments that brought me to where I am today—coaching people like you on exactly what to do to finally write and finish the book they’ve always wanted to write.

From self-denial to self-acceptance

Born “Sarah” (pronounced [zaːʁa]) in Northern Germany, “Alex” became my brave alter ego when my childhood best friend and I decided to be a duo of world-class performers. 

I’ve always loved and often practiced both fine arts and performing arts, with writing being my greatest passion.

woman reading book
Woman walking through field

As a pre-teen, I suffered from epileptic seizures which led to depression and anxiety disorder, but also to my career in advocacy.

In 1993, to cope with insomnia resulting from childhood epilepsy, I started telling myself intricate stories, which I began to turn into novels in 2013.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t an artist, although it would take me 30 years to finally say I’m an artist out loud.

I’ll be in my mid-thirties soon (2019), so I’ve spent a very long time not being true to who I am.

woman with paintbrush
map and old pictures

From playing it safe to becoming a serial expat

After completing a three-month graphic design course and my formal education in tourism, I migrated south and started a music blog with my then-roommate, leading to an interesting summer hanging out with musicians and becoming infatuated with an Italian rapper.


I was already heading to Italy, so I took that summer romance as a sign I was traveling in the right direction.


A new years resolution to learn Italian led me to the language class that introduced me to my future partner in life, love, and adventure.


Three dates and seven months later we eloped in Denmark (the place to be in Europe when you want to marry someone from a different cultural/ethnic background—no questions asked) and moved to Ireland, where I studied business and later on geography and environmental science focusing on sociology and social psychology.

In 2012, I moved to California, finally graduating college at age 28 (as the first person in my family to obtain a college degree).


The following summer I started working for an international think tank as a communications and design manager.

office
Cover of Lumiana by Alex Benkast

From conceiving a brainchild to conceiving a human child

That job was the best thing that could have happened to me. My boss was a veteran author and became my mentor, encouraging me to finally write a book and thus realizing my lifelong dream.

I finished the first draft of my first novel in just three months, around the time I turned 29.

And then I wrote another novel, and another, and another, all in one year. Yet I didn’t have the guts to try and publish even one.


Because I’m not a native English speaker, I needed to get an editor. In 2015, I finally worked up the courage to contact one. But w
hile we were working on taking my novel to the next level, a few unforeseen events delayed completion. 


Most notably, the cyst I thought I had turned out to be a human growing inside me. Sadly, I didn’t get to have the Hollywood-esque pregnancy, blinding people with mama glow. It was hard and scary, and I was so relieved when it was over.

stacks of notebooks
Cover of Lumiana by Alex Benkast and coffee

From feeling the fear to doing it anyway

When my baby was six months old we decided to spend three months in Europe. Most of it we spent in Italy, which is probably my favorite country to live in (if you can see past the politics and slim job prospects).


I published my debut novel on March 6, 2017, at San Francisco International Airport, because I couldn’t bear the thought of dying in a plane crash without having at least published one book.

I didn’t tell anyone about it, and I didn’t magically sell any books overnight. It took me almost three months to tell my friends I published a book, and only then did I start promoting it—lightly. I made some sales, but nothing particularly remarkable.


The biggest success to date was when I made my novel available for free and it hit #34 in my genre on Amazon. But best of all, it brought fellow romance author Lynn Turner into my life.


Sharing this journey with someone I admire not only made it more fun but also taught me the value of having an accountability partner (or on a larger scale, a supportive community).

woman reading book
woman sitting on rock

From self-resentment to self-care

2018 was one of my worst years, bringing a lot of illness and loss not only to me but also my family and friends. On top of it, I got severely homesick for the first time in my life. Eventually, I ran out of energy and willpower.


I still managed to drag myself forward by the gums of my teeth for another six months—which is nothing to brag about, but shows you how determined I am. Toward the end, I couldn’t breathe anymore without medication. And, as they say, something had to give.

I started my very own Self-Care/Self-Development Experiment in mid-August 2018, with the help of my little sister. She was visiting for a few weeks at the time and became both my accountability partner and sounding board.


I strongly believe that the right books will find you, and so it happened that I stumbled upon Julia Cameron’s The Complete Artist’s Way, probably the heaviest book I’ve ever held in my hands. And also the most life-changing. 

woman dancing at sunset
woman holding flower

From helping myself to helping others

The Artist’s Way in combination with all the things I’ve tried as part of my experiment really shook something loose. My breathing problem disappeared within a few days, and by Day 4 I no longer needed any medication at all.

By the end of 2018, I felt so much more calm, optimistic, and full of ideas, that I decided to make my experiment public, so others can benefit from it as well. Hence, The Bold + Balanced Life was born.


If a skeptic like me can do it, so can everyone else who has a willingness to change their life one day at a time. But this willingness to change is key. You need to know why you’re doing this, and you need to remind yourself of it constantly, because there will be roadblocks, and you need to keep going anyway.

typewriter
paper saying How we live is what makes us real

Putting myself out there is far past my comfort zone, but I want to build and be part of a supportive community, and people usually don’t just conveniently appear at your doorstep.


In 2019, I started teaching other creatives how they can shift their mindset to realize their wildest dreams. I watched their renewed energy and creativity flow too!


I have since made a commitment to dedicate the rest of my professional life to helping other writers and artists break through their inner blocks, regain their confidence, and overcome their fears so they can take the actions that will make them accomplish their goals.

In July 2019, I created Write the Book You’ve Always Wanted to Write, a one-on-one coaching program where I help writers get their words onto the page so they can finish the first draft of their manuscript in as little as 12 weeks, too.

xo Alex

Although I will give you the steps and practices that helped me write 3 full-length novels in 6 months (you can check them out here), as a trained productivity and life coach, I take a holistic approach to helping you write the book you’ve always wanted to write. I work on your mindset, help you identify and plug your energy leaks, and create a sustainable routine so your words flow easily and quickly. The best part is the system you will learn is repeatable and transferable and will help you reach any goal in life. 

What that means to you is that you get a knowledgeable kick-butt book coach who will always give you a straight-to-the point response. You may not always like what I have to tell you but you can be sure I will always tell you the truth—the truth about what’s standing in the way of your finished book and how to get rid of it FAST so you can write freely. And I throw in a healthy dose of humor and inspiration, which always helps!

Here are some of the results you can expect while you’re working with me:

 

  • Get your words out of your head and onto the page until your book is complete.
  • Feel empowered and excited about writing your book.
  • Unblock your creativity.
  • Connect with your intuition.
  • Break habits and patterns that have been holding you back.
  • Raise your self-confidence.
  • Learn proven techniques for releasing your internal resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies.
  • Stay accountable to your goal and achieve it.


What that means to you is that you get a knowledgeable kick-butt book coach who will always give you a straight-to-the point response. You may not always like what I have to tell you but you can be sure I will always tell you the truth—the truth about what’s standing in the way of your finished book and how to get rid of it FAST so you can write freely and quickly. And I throw in a healthy dose of humor and inspiration, which always helps!

I created my Write the Book You’ve Always Wanted to Write program for people who are absolutely serious about writing and completing the first draft of their manuscript within as little as 3 months. This means not running around all day long, beating yourself up saying: “I don’t know where to start. What if I’m not good enough? I never have enough time!” I created this program for you to put systems in place that lead you to a finished book.

Working with me means you will be expected to take serious and consistent action. No excuses anymore, just a different way of thinking and full support while you achieve this incredibly exciting goal.

Please know I’m very selective in who I work with and I prescreen potential clients to make sure we’re a great match. Here’s what I expect from everyone I work with:

  • You understand and see the value in the work I do.
  • You are honest, open-minded, and respectful.
  • You complete your assignments in a timely manner.
  • You have reasonable expectations. I won’t write the book for you or guarantee that it’ll be a bestseller. That’s not my job. My job is to help you get out of your own way so you can get the words onto the page and finish the book you’ve always wanted to write. 
  • You can afford my coaching. You’re paying for a high level of expertise and skill that is saving you months (if not years) with your project and you’ll be learning transferable skills that will help you achieve any goal, not just your writing goals.

If you aren’t ready to work with me yet, that’s ok, I also offer a lot of free content and advice in my newsletter, my Facebook group and over on my blog. The free information will give you a lot to think about and get you started towards your goal until you’re ready to work with me one-on-one. When you’re ready, call me and we’ll get you started. (I’m in no rush and will be here when you need me.)

Writing the book you’ve always wanted to write begins with shifting your mindset. In this intensive 3-month coaching program, I’ll help you get energized, clear-headed, and excited about writing and finishing your manuscript within 12 weeks.

We’ll identify your energy leaks and create a sustainable routine so you have a finished first draft by the end of our time together.

You’ll also learn to manage your time effectively and you’ll have me at your side to make the process easier, faster, and more fun.

Here’s what my system gets you to do:

1. Get clear about your goal and set your intentions

We examine where you are in your project and get clear about your intentions, what you want to accomplish and by when. This includes getting clarity on why you want to write that particular book, who you want to reach, and what effect you want to have on people. 

2. Develop a plan on how exactly you’re going to write and complete your manuscript

This includes the actions you will take each week, continuous check-ins to hold you accountable, and addressing any challenges you need to overcome to reach your goal. Every week we’ll assess your progress and make adjustments to your plan if necessary.

3. Release your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies

You might already know what you need to be doing, yet you’re struggling with procrastination, feeling stuck or blocked. I will teach you proven techniques for breaking through your inner resistance, self-doubt and fear that keep you from writing and finishing your book.

4. Organize and develop your book

We’ll uncover your unique voice, story and message, and structure your book so you’re off to a strong start. We’ll also get you early feedback to ensure your book resonates with your target audience.

What’s included? 

  • Twelve weeks of one-on-one coaching, accountability, and support.
  • Transferable skills and mindset shifts that will help you achieve any life goal.
  • 9 x 90-minute coaching sessions (we’ll have a call every 10 days).
  • Additional support via message (text or email).
  • Detailed notes from our coaching sessions.
  • Worksheets and resource recommendations.

My goal is to get you to finish your first draft within 3 months. However, some of you will finish sooner, some a little later, depending on the intended length of your book, how much research is involved (which in turn depends on whether you write fiction or nonfiction and how familiar you are with your subject), and what your personal circumstances are. 

I’m here to support you every step of the way.

People I won’t work with (without exception!) are the whiner or the chronic skeptic, as well as individuals who constantly make excuses for not getting their assignments done or challenging every aspect of the program. If you are one of these people, I gently and respectfully ask that you not call and I hope you understand why. We’ll probably just not work well together and I wouldn’t want you to waste your time or money.

Do all of your homework. Be totally committed to your success. Understand that this is a process, a proven one, that works if you take consistent action. Everyone I’ve coached who has diligently applied every step has made a lot of progress in much less time than they would have on their own.

Yes, I encourage you to! Please go to the Testimonials page and read all of them. See which ones you feel drawn to, either because the person has gotten the results you want to get too, or perhaps because that person is in a similar situation. Then feel free to email or call them and ask what they got from working with me.

Yes, I’d love to get on the phone with you! Please schedule a free consultation. I can’t wait to work with you and I’m honored to be the one to help you. Let’s get going!

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Get Your Free Advance Copy of My Upcoming NovelBeneath Your Beautiful