Coach Marla Beck

Meet Marla

Here’s my official bio.  Curious about my personal story?  Just scroll down to read more.

Since 2005, Marla Beck has been a trusted strategist and coach to high-achieving freelance writers and other experienced writers. She is based in Marin County, California, and writers from across the U.S., Europe and around the world hire Marla for her insight, warmth and proven, step-by-step productivity and career-development strategies.

Marla specializes in helping smart, driven writers to finish their books, recommit to creative writing, transition to successful writing careers and break into top publications like The New York Times.  Her clients regularly publish in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Nature, Science, Oprah, Slate, Longform and elsewhere.

Marla lives in a cottage in the redwoods with her husband, teen-age daughter, two tuxedo cats and a Holland Lop bunny.   She’s overcome significant health challenges with focused intent, a passion to live a vibrant life, and an ongoing commitment to daily self-care and meditation practice. Marla shares some of her story, along with tips for an inspired writing career, in her free audio, Fire In the Belly. Click here to download your copy.

“I love my life.
But at one point I ignored my creative work for quite some time…”

You would think that a seasoned life and career coach for writers could recognize when she needed to get back to her writing, right?

But years ago, when I wasn’t coaching I was busy enjoying my life…

  • hiking trails and exploring the outdoors here in Marin County, California
  • creating a loving, fun household with my husband
  • tending to our little daughter

I kept quite busy and I thought I was pretty happy.  But in February 2012, all that changed.

I had one of those significant health “experiences” that startles you wide awake.  (You’ll hear a bit more about it on my Fire in the Belly audio.)

As I got back on my feet, I began to take a wide-eyed, truthful look at my life.  It took me a several months to realize that:

  • I’d hardly practiced singing anymore (much less, performed).
  • I hadn’t written a song in over 8 years.

In the midst of daily life and work, I wasn’t making time to honor my creative drive or talent.

Instead, I’d developed resourceful excuses that went something like this:

  • I’m writing for my business.  That’s my creative outlet right now.
  • I have to wait to write until the time is right.  (Like maybe in 10 years?)
  • I might upset someone by focusing on my creative work.
  • It’s really not all that important…is it?

When I realized how off-track I’d gotten, I made a decision to act on my insights.

I hired a new coach to keep me accountable. I started learning and practicing QiGong (meditative movement) daily.  I moved from a co-op office space to a private studio near my home where I could work and sing.  And I invested in professional help (a voice teacher, occasional visits to a vocal coach) to help me structure my practice, set goals and develop my potential as an artist.

Now it’s years later.  I’ve never been happier. 

Like anyone, I have my ups and downs.  Sometimes the rough times last a day, and sometimes they last more than a few.

But when I step back and take a look at my life today, I see I’ve taken major strides.

I feel grounded and happy.

And I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one who feels more engaged and excited about things these days.

My decision to take charge and transform my life has created a positive ripple effect throughout my life, including:


    • I’m more powerful as a coach. My clients are finishing their books, reclaiming their talent and reviving their passion for their writing businesses, projects and careers more quickly and decisively than before.


    • I’m making more money now, because I’m working smarter and valuing the worth of my work.


    • My husband’s taking improv comedy classes for the first time in his life.
    • I’m modeling being a “working artist” for my daughter, and singing is now more part of our daily life than it’s ever been before.

Writing/Music Career…

    • I’m writing new songs.
    • I’ve had a cascade of new opportunities to collaborate with artists I respect.
    • I’m taking new risks and am actively pursuing new professional goals.
    • I’m forming a community of colleagues and feedback partners.

Wellness and Spirituality…

    • I’m more energized, insightful and intuitive because I’m working at my wellness practices — and craft — every day.
    • I’m developing a community of interesting, soulful friends who share my interests and practices.

Know what the best thing is, though?  I walk around feeling more honest.  More aligned with my integrity.

Listen, I know it’s never a good time to shake things up. 

If your career is successful and your life “pretty good” already, it’s easy to put off change.  (I really do get it.)

But I believe you and I have met for a reason.

  • If you’re exploring coaching, click here to inquire.
  • And if you’re a smart, successful writer in transition – you’re facing a milestone birthday or you’ve recently added to your family, retired from work, lost a parent or realized that you just can’t continue working and living as you have been, take a look at how I can help you to love your life again, create a vision for your writing career and complete an important book or writing project.

In a time frame of a single day’s work or a half-year of coaching, you can experience an exciting, new and energized relationship to your life, work and writing.

It’s my passion to help you do just that.

Why I coach.  How I can help you. 

I’m on a mission to help you love your life and writing career.  Here’s why.

I’ve been coaching professional writers since 2005…long enough to see the common trajectories and pitfalls smart folks encounter when they’re ready to make a change for the better.

And it saddens me to see talented writers and people with an important dream choose to discount their worth, stay stuck or unhappy, or postpone their aliveness — especially because the answers they’re seeking are often so close at hand they can hardly see them.

Why Work with Me?

  • I see possibility like few people I know.
    • It’s one thing to care about people and to learn how to coach them well.  It’s quite another thing to be able to offer, time and time again, striking feedback and profoundly exciting perspectives.  As a coach, I’m analytical and also highly intuitive.  My sensitivity, confidence and insight enables me to see possibilities for your life and work that most others simply can’t see.
  • I’m a specialist.
    • For over eight years, I’ve been a private coach to professional journalists, copywriters, published authors and aspiring writers in other fields.  My experience and knowledge in the field will save you time, money, energy and heartache as you avoid the common pitfalls writers face.  I’m not a life coach who coaches “anyone” with a dream to write.  I’m not a writer who coaches “on the side.”  I’m a full-time coach for writers with a solid track record of success.
  • I’m experienced.
    •  A big part of my role is to guide you to discover your own answers.  But my coaching is also based on a simple, step-by-step path I’ve developed from over eight years of one-on-one work with talented writers just like you.  I guide you gently and firmly towards your goals, so you don’t spin out or stay overlong in “research” or inaction.  I’m a seasoned professional coach.
    • I walk my talk — each month I invest significant time and money in my own professional and personal growth. I hire my own coach because I know firsthand how well coaching works.
  • I write, too.
    • As an MFA-educated poet, a performing songwriter and former public relations writer and grant writer, I’m intimately familiar with writers’ challenges in creative and for-hire settings — yet objective enough to help you pinpoint and overcome your obstacles.

Want to know a little bit more about me?  Here you go… 

  • It’s worth repeating:  I invest significant time and money in my personal and professional development.  As a coach, I believe it’s my responsibility to be as clear and vibrant a person as I can be.
  • I have a B.S. in economics, a music minor and an M.F.A. in creative writing.  I grew up talking “business” with my dad, a former Fortune 500 executive, and it comes naturally for me to use both analytical and intuitive perspectives when I speak and coach.
  • I was treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 22 and again at 24.  (I once was bald, it’s true…and today I can sometimes be quite vain about my hair!)  This experience taught me much about patience, perseverance and clarity.  It also gave me permission to take risks.
  • I’ve practiced meditation daily since 1994.  I access a deep well of insight, intuition, calm and clarity when I coach.
  • Right after grad school, I sold lots of stuff and put my remaining belongings under an Amtrak train and moved to California.  I was terrified and knew only one person in the entire state, but I made the trip with deep faith and a sense of adventure.  I was motivated by the belief that I’d be able to build strong community and create an active, creative and happy life for myself.  I believe I’ve succeeded. More than ever, I’m a big proponent of the powers of clarity, intention and faith.
  • Today I live in a cottage under the redwood trees in Marin County, California  — 40 minutes from San Francisco, just on the edge of open space — with my husband, our young daughter, and our black-and-white tuxedo cat named Baxter.

And here’s what I believe. 

I believe that everyone – you, included —  has a unique “brilliance” within.

I believe that the easiest way to postpone your happiness is to do what’s expected of you or wait for others to give you permission to do your dream.

I believe the key to feeling alive, vibrant and engaged with life is to acknowledge and honor your desires, your yearnings and your creative dreams…even if they aren’t “logical.”

I believe that most anyone can create an enjoyable, consistent and sustainable writing practice. Right in the midst of a busy life.

And I believe that effective personal coaching is hands’ down the quickest, most rewarding and fun way to transform your life and writing career.

Welcome to a world of possibility.

I’m glad you’re here.

If you’re exploring coaching, get in touch with me at <> to set up a time to chat.  I’ll look forward to learning more about you and your writing goals, and together we can discover if we’re a good match for working together.