Janel Guevara

When people ask me what I do, I tell them. . .

“I’m part editor and part fairy godmother."

When they look perplexed or amused, I explain:

I'm a transformational life coach with a love of words. I work with women who long to encourage others with their personal stories. I help them sort through their desires, ideas, and projects to identify the important details that will bring them clarity. Then I show them how to create simple plans and take realistic steps that will transform their message and lives into something that feels a lot like Happily Ever After.

The developmental editor in me loves helping women plan and execute writing projects. But with my unique skillset and experience, I found writers coming to me for advice and insight about a lot more than writing. At many of my editorial critiques and sessions, I was doing more life coaching than editing. That's when I decided to combine my love of coaching and writing into working with women who love words as much as me and want to transform their lives.

When it comes to wordsmithing, I've done a little bit of everything. As a magazine editor and blogger for more than a dozen years, my writing expertise is nonfiction magazine articles and blog posts, and I excel at general nonfiction developmental editing. With two daughters who are passionate about fiction, they are stretching me towards it, but I'm fighting. 😆 I stick to helping women craft articles, blog posts, book outlines and rough drafts, lead magnets, website copy, email sequences, one sheets, and nonfiction book proposals.

With my background in creating online presences, I can do all the nerdy tech stuff. I've built websites, managed DNS, wrestled self-hosted WordPress databases, curated email lists, learned graphic design, and know my way around a c-panel. But offering those services to clients isn't where my heart resides. Instead, I show them how to use the tools they need to create their dream.

My passion is helping women put all the pieces together for an amazing word-based career or ministry and abundant life. Every woman has unique skills, challenges, and desires. I love having a varied background to meet clients where they are and work with them to move forward. When I see how happy they are with the results, it makes me feel like a real fairy godmother. Which is why I say I'm . . .

Part Editor. Part Fairy Godmother.

A Modern Editor for Modern Word Lovers

Years before I waved my fountain pen and dried tear-soaked pages, I was a scared new author caught in the transition taking place in the writing industry during the late 1990s. My life was a mess and made me unsure I was good enough for traditional publication. Terrified of rejection by editors, I started my own online magazine. I ran headlong into uncharted digital publishing and never looked back.

What began as a wishful idea to encourage women serendipitously turned into a collaborative endeavor. Timid authors were given the opportunity to gain confidence by being published or getting helpful feedback with rejections. I got firsthand experience as an editor.

The Internet changed the business of writing. Today’s writers struggle, not only to craft perfectly polished prose like all the greats who have come before, but to juggle blogs, niches, social media, the laundry, kids, and outside commitments - usually, while working a full-time job. It’s no wonder so many authors struggle with overwhelm.

When I hear from discouraged women, who aren't sure they should call themselves writers, my heart goes out to them. I have been in their shoes. There's nothing worse than crickets from your readers, not knowing what to do next, piles of dirty laundry, and a gut feeling there has got to be something more. But despite the obstacles, I've watched these women bloom by taking a few intentional steps towards sharing the message on their heart.

Hi. I’m Janel Guevara.
[jah-'nell gah-‘var-ah]

If you want to skip to my Official Bio, it's here.

Coach Janel Guevara

Unlike some authors, I never thought I was “born to write.” Although I journaled and created little books during elementary school, I didn't think of myself as a writer. As a child, the idea I could be a writer when I grew up never crossed my mind. I simply thought adding words to blank pages was fun. There was something satisfying about filling all the empty spaces. 

Junior high was not a safe place for me to write. After I struggled to complete my first book report, despite pleading with the teacher for help multiple times, she made several unfortunate comments about it in front of the class. I was mortified. Feeling inadequate about failing at a new skill, and then being publicly shamed, sucked the joy out of writing. It took many years, and blogging tens of thousands of words, for me to finally embrace the fact I love to write and I am a writer. And yet, I'm so much more than a writer.

I pursued a career in the health field by getting my Doctor of Naturopathy degree. I spent four years consulting clients, writing educational material, creating courses, and teaching at hospitals and health fairs - I even testified before the Massachusetts Health Care Committee. Despite my ardent desire to help people transform their health, I always felt something was missing when I worked one-on-one with my clients. I "retired" from the health field shortly after the birth of my second child.

Even with two rambunctious toddlers dancing at my toes, I had a desire to make a difference. In 1998, with the help of a good friend, I used new-fangled Internet technology to create The Christian Woman’s Page. I marveled at the potential of being able to reach every woman with an internet connection. We actively published for twelve years with a readership that peeked at a quarter-million visitors each a year. It was archived in 2008, but I am actively preparing for relaunch in September 2020.

Through the years, I’ve worked with almost 200 authors, edited at least a million words, participated as faculty at writers’ conferences, created courses, taught classes, and personally written enough content to fill more than eight books. Not only that, but I learned the necessary skills to build websites, wrestled with online marketing more than a few times, and finally figured out how to juggle home life to find more time to write — and enjoy life. It's been quite a journey.

In Need of my Own Fairy Godmother

Reba McEntire's song "Is Life Out There" came out in the early 1990s, shortly before I was to be married at 20. I was determined not become the woman in that song. Sadly, I had no idea what challenges and struggles would meet me in the coming years.

When my oldest son was 8 months old, I worked up the courage to ask an older woman in my church for advice. While I could teach on health and nutrition all day, I felt so overwhelmed and lost about everything from homemaking to mothering to life in general. Nothing about married life was what I expected. Her sweet smile left me hopeful, but her Sunday school answer was no help at all. I needed practical answers. That day, I realized I was on my own.

With a thirst for answers, I jumped in with how I learn best: I read everything I could get my hands on. Books — on homemaking, organizing, self-improvement, parenting, marriage, Jesus, and a dozen other topics — were my constant companions. The advent of the internet opened doors to learning I never dreamed to find as a stay-at-home mom with no chance of returning to school.

My journey led me to share practical advice and encouragement with others who had similar frustrations. Then I started writing about the lessons I learned and loved every moment of it. And yet, the more I understood, the clearer the issues in my life became.

When I discovered life coaching in 2001, I immediately knew it’s what I was born to do. Helping others look at every aspect of their lives was the missing link in my health consulting. Unfortunately, by that time, my life was a mess. I was firmly resolute that I couldn't help others if I couldn't help myself. Nevertheless, I pushed forward making positive changes, doing what I could.

While I made significant progress in some areas of my life, years later "Is There Life Out There" continued to haunt me. As I learned and matured, I realized my "something more" was actually fundamentals, like reciprocal respect, trust, love, and grace in my personal relationships. I was at a loss on how to influence that type of transformation in others. Ever the optimist, I held out hope my growth would inspire positive change in those around me.

A different kind of writer's block.

By 2008, my success as a writer and knowledge of domesticities gave me confidence when I sat at the keyboard. I finally shook my junior high writing humiliation (It's crazy how that stuff sticks with us!) and was only a pinch intimidated by other editors. Writing brought me intense satisfaction. I was finally comfortable saying, "I am a writer." Uttering those words aloud changed me.

I had a growing readership and was writing for other blogs, as well as my magazine. I toyed with the idea of going pro-blogger on my personal site, but wasn't sure how. Still, I hummed along, publishing, creating book outlines, researching new projects, and dreaming of my future as a traditional author.

That July, I was a passenger in an auto accident. I sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury that stole my ability to write and edit. It left me with cognitive limitations, memory loss, and the gut-wrenching realization my plans and dreams would never materialize. I was crushed.

It would be five years before I could write anything more than a few broken sentences.

By that time, life delivered several other unexpected bombshells. Because, you know, permanent brain damage to crush all my dreams and plans wasn't enough. I gave up any hope of writing or returning to health consulting or life as I knew it and moved on to Plan C.

I found healing in one of my other childhood hobbies. I taught sewing and fashion design to high school students. They called me their Tim Gunn and brought me joy in some of the darkest hours my life has seen.

Rosy Cheek Designs

Eventually, I met and married an amazing man who encouraged me to created my own clothing line. I resigned to do something I enjoyed, even if it wasn't writing. I made some great clothes and accessories, worked with amazing women, and opened an online shop. But I struggled to find my customer base.

In the spring of 2018, after another local fashion show exhausted and discouraged me, I knew I had to get real about my future as a designer. I was at a new crossroad and hated all the options. Even though I've always known I'm more Tim Gunn than Coco Chanel, I felt like another dream was stolen from me.

I've always been a firm believer in "...for such a time as this."

(The Bible, Book of Esther.)

If I've seen one situation change in a blink of an eye, I've seen a dozen.

Just like that.

In an unexpected moment.

A miracle happens.

It's like a plot twist in a movie, only this time, it's real life.

In 2018, I watched it again. There was no doubt in my mind an unmistakable chain of events pointed me back to writing. But not only that, it could hardly believe my eyes when the door to become a coach, like I always dreamed of being, opened.

To be completely honest, I was skeptical. I clearly remembered how I struggled to write the copy for my fashion website. Why would I be able to magically write about writing? Or coach? The answer was simple: passion and experience.

When I opened the blank document on my computer, it felt strange to consider filling the page with words. And yet, I felt at home for the first time in a decade. I was so comfortable with words that a short article series on the lessons I learned as an editor turned into a complete book within six months. Those pages were salve to my soul and launched the business of my dreams.

Reba no longer haunts me. Life is here. And I'm living it.

Happily Ever After isn't free of dirty laundry, unpleasant situations, or dramatic teenagers, but it's real and it's mine. The wonderful thing is I believe there's a Happily Ever After out there for you too. We simply need to look for it by asking the right questions and taking action.

On this unexpected journey, I learned I love working with women, especially those who have a story to share. While I might not have the bibbidi bobbidi boo of a real fairy godmother, with my trusty fountain pen and diverse experience, I help make dreams of perfectly polished prose and transformed lives come true. That’s close enough.

Fun Facts

  • My favorite color is polka dot. Christmas is my Love Language. I {heart} my pink iPhone and wish they'd bring back the color option. That said, glitter should be used sparingly because it’s miserable to clean up.
  • I’m a hopeless romantic who loves happy endings. Although I’ll suffer through any movie with amazing period costumes, I couldn’t make it past Season 1 of Downton Abby because I knew they were going to kill off everyone. I’ve never seen a Jane Austen movie I didn’t like, but I’ve enjoyed more action flicks than I can count. I’ll curl up with my honey and the Motortrend channel any day. Also, Die Hard has a happy ending. And it’s a Christmas movie. Double win. Yippie-ki-ay!
  • Even though I’ve had my work published online for almost 25 years, I still prefer writing letters with pen and ink, then sealing them with wax and ribbon, the old-fashioned way. There is something magical that happens when the mail carrier says, “You’ve got mail.” (Which, by the way, is my favorite movie.)
  • I’m a bit of a magazine junkie. I have almost every issue of the original Nancy Lindemeyer Victoria magazine. Santa brought me the missing issues of MaryJane Farm for my collection a Christmas ago. I have more Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple than I’ll confess to. I found a new guilty pleasure when I stumbled on The Magnolia Journal last fall. I’ve also contemplated creating a quarterly print edition of the CWP.
  • I’m an avid reader with the bookshelves and library fines to prove it. I prefer nonfiction but will happily sink into a novel if I’m in the mood. Books that have most impacted my life: Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Wild at Heart and Journey of Desire by John Eldredge, A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George, Big Girls Don’t Whine by Jan Silvous, The Path and Jesus Life Coach by Laurie Beth Jones, The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans, The Happiness Project and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.
  • There is nothing better than a Little Black Dress with pearls and red lips, unless it involves sun, water, or a Jeep. Then it’s wild hair, don’t care. You’ll find me in denim and a messy bun.
  • Through the years, folks have said I’m creative, romantic, winsome, thoughtful, artistic, interesting, colorful, dedicated, unique, animated, deliberate, passionate, darling, and adventuresome. I’ve been called “an experience.” I’ve also been told I’m funny, but will neither confirm nor deny the accusation.
  • I can sew a garment from just an idea. I cook a mean chicken rice soup. For many years, I played piano and sang for church. I’ve also been known to shovel manure, shingle roofs, paint bookcases, make cheese, kill houseplants, rebuild pianos, throw large parties on short notice, and use wire ties for corset boning. But never at the same time.
  • While I’m not a gamer, I met the love of my life through an iPad game with text-based chat. I found the details of our romance translate beautifully into an 1890s steampunk spy thriller. Although I'd never considered myself a novelist, I hope to have the story written by the end of 2020.
  • Jesus has been my “forever friend” since I learned about that aspect of his character at Vacation Bible School in 1979. We’ve had a lot of adventures since then. I used to obsess about having “correct” theology. I finally realized simply doing what you know is right goes a lot farther than arguing about what is "right." I try to write in a way that honors Jesus’ dying wish: that believers would be unified and known by His love. (The Bible, John 17:20-23) It takes work to acknowledge others' opinions and discover what you have in common with people. I think it’s worth it.
Meet Janel Guevara

Official Biography

Janel Guevara is part editor and part fairy godmother. As a certified life coach with a love of words, she uses practical steps and simple plans to empower women with the tools and training they need to share their story and create a life they love. With over 25 years of experience as a writer, educator, and the editor-in-chief of her own magazine, Janel loves to see storytellers succeed. She uses experience and editorial magic to help women write better, share their message, and make sure behind-the-scenes runs as smoothly as their perfectly polished prose.

Janel lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where the trees are moss covered, waterfalls run free, and the biggest bookstore in the country is a short drive across town. Whether puttering with all things domestic, planning Christmas in July, laughing a little too loud, or hiking through forests that feel like fairy tale scenes come to life, Janel lives happily ever after with the man she loves, countless shades of red lipstick, and an army of garden gnomes. Together they have seven mostly adult children and a handful of adorable grandkids.

Certified Transformation Life Coach

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