Tara Dankel

As a non-fiction developmental editor, writing & media coach, increasing the reach of your ideas is my mission and my craft. From clarifying your core argument to finding the perfect venue for your work, it is good have a partner with a critical eye and empathetic ear. I have worked with clients in the fields of queer theory, women, gender & sexuality studies, philosophy, religion, literature, African-American studies, Middle East studies, political science and international relations, critical race theory, cultural studies, environmental studies, urban studies, history, and anthropology. My own work has appeared in The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Symposia, and Foucault Studies. I have given numerous talks on issues ranging from urban space to AI sex robots. In addition, I served for two years as the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, gaining valuable experience on the other side of academic publishing.

I wear a few hats, but what ties them all together is a passion for helping people ask better questions, tell better stories, and build processes that help them flourish. Strengths include emotional intelligence, communicating complexity in powerful and provocative ways, building community, and supporting individuals in finding their own voice and rhythm.

I work with scholars in crafting writing that will further their goals in an academic setting–whether that is a junior scholar’s job application or the senior professor’s next book. I work primarily at the early and middle stages of a project, clarifying ideas, streamlining structure, vetting argument and evidence, and crafting strong, compelling prose. I have a knack for seeing the forest for the trees, and I have extensive experience working with non-native English speakers in producing effective writing in English.

I also work with academics and practitioners in breaking out of their disciplines and communicating their ideas in the public sphere. Often these are people who do brilliant work but don’t feel that their ideas are having an impact. I support such clients through attuning them to the rhythms and expectations of the media form they are targeting–from op eds to serious non-fiction books. I clarify arguments, help render them more accessible and engaging, and work with clients on pitching their work.

But writing is not the only mode of communication that academics and others are asked to master. Often they are expected to present their ideas in a lecture format, but rarely receive explicit training on how to do so, or feedback on what they are doing well and what could use some improvement. The same is true for job interviews and job talks. I use a data driven, story-based approach to crafting effective lectures and talks, and a performance approach to stage presence and rhetorical development. I also think deeply about how visuals either support or undercut the idea a client is trying to communicate. Thus, I take a holistic approach to presentations to ensure that everything from a job talk to a TED talk connects with its audience in a compelling way.

Finally, as a coach, I work on process. What are the obstacles that prevent a client from getting their work done? What types of strategies can they use to make their process more effective? Although every client is different, the challenges and stresses of writing and giving presentations are often the same. I take an experimental and client-driven approach to finding solutions to writer’s block, procrastination, perfectionism, and other productivity killers.

If you find yourself inspired by the potential of your ideas, but need some support in realizing them, reach out and let’s talk about your vision.

St. Petersburg, FL


Years in the field: 7
Years freelancing: 3


Tara Dankel