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Episode #104

Overcoming Adversity and Having Your Publishing Take Off: An Interview with Elevate Alumni Lauren Braun-Strumfels

Elevate graduate Lauren Braun-Strumfels is sharing her amazing story on this episode of the podcast. Her journey has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns. It’s taken her from Fulbright scholar in Rome at the very beginning of the pandemic, to lockdowns and virtual classrooms, and from no publications to journal articles, book contracts, and a vibrant pipeline. 


Lauren shares how she navigated loss and grief through community, came back to her writing and herself little by little and created sustainable systems for huge publishing success. We also talk about how a harsh peer reviewer paused her book process, and how coaching through Elevate helped her galvanize her message and navigate through that situation.


Key points discussed:

  • Lauren’s long book writing journey, and how life circumstances and new professional roles put pressure on her writing.
  • How relying on a sabbatical and it’s large chunks of time didn’t move the needle like she wanted.
  • Dealing with self-judgment when trying to get writing done. 
  • Winning a Fulbright scholarship to Italy, and arriving right as the pandemic began.
  • Being sent back to the US and mourning the loss of her Fulbright scholar role in Rome.
  • The need to acknowledge our emotional selves and take care of ourselves.
  • Taking the Minimum Viable Semester webinar, and building back slowly, step by step.
  • The vital role of community for support and stability during 2020 and beyond.
  • Going through the Momentum program and transforming her writing processes with writing systems, tools, and rest.
  • A huge year of publishing success in research journals, perspectives, being approved for IRB, finishing her book manuscript, and more!
  • The peer review process and how a harsh reviewer galvanized her message.
  • How what was needed for Lauren’s promotion process wasn’t the same thing as what she wanted for herself.


Key Quotes:

  • “The ways that I had worked in grad school, I couldn’t do anymore.” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “I still had this ongoing frustration about being pulled in so many directions and feeling so out of control of my time.” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “The depth of my loss was so great…but on a spectrum, this happens all the time–’I’ll wait, I’ll wait, I’ll wait’..and then something comes up, or something blows up…” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “The more we try to close off the emotional needs, the less the writing happens.” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “Whenever you experience loss there’s a recovery period; and loss happens in so many ways.” -Cathy Mazak
  • “The thing that really kept me going was the community.” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “This is my mantra now: do the easy stuff first!” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “My productivity went through the roof. And it wasn’t because I was…chained to my desk; it was because I was using a writing system.” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “I was more productive because I stopped working at night and I stopped working on weekends and I took breaks.” -Lauren Braun-Strumfels
  • “Part of the writing process has to be the resting process.” -Cathy Mazak
  • “Sometimes having somebody try to shut you up, makes you figure out how important your message is, and what it really is.” -Cathy Mazak


If you’re ready for 1:1 coaching, next level mentoring, connections within an amazing community, and space held for you for making big decisions about where you want to go with your career, check out our Elevate info session. If it feels like a fit for you, be sure to apply for Elevate. The next cohort starts with a virtual writing retreat on 1/27/21. Head here for the info session:

Do you have a writing project languishing, mired in the messy middle, or stuck on revise and resubmit? Grab my Writing Sprint Blueprint, a powerful productivity tool to help stalled out publications get out of your pipeline and into the world. As a bonus, you’ll also gain access to my private podcast feed “Stick to the Plan”, a 10 episode series of short, inspirational messages to keep you going. Click here to get the Writing Sprint Blueprint and “Stick to the Plan” podcast series for just $27!

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