I’m excited to have Akilah S. Richards on my blog today, because she is a creative with a particular gift for helping women to “unmute”, or express their authentic selves. She is a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), author, emotional wellness advocate, and founder of The Life Design Agency. Through her work, Akilah helps women, mothers, and entrepreneurs nurture their minds, bodies, and businesses through her unique approach to work-life harmony.
Her workshops and writings prioritize self-exploration, self-expression, and self-governance. When women work with Akilah, they learn how to create the strategy to reclaim their voice in their work and life experiences. She is the author of two books that focus on women’s lifestyle enhancement, and her work has been featured in national publications such as Essence, Clutch, and Real Simple magazines, and online venues such as MSNBC’s Today Moms, MyBrownBaby, and several others.
Photo used with author’s permission.
NT: What three words best describe you?
AR: Intuitive. Expressive. Creative.
NT: How long have you been writing, and who or what sparked your interest to become a writer?
AR: I’ve been writing to access myself and to process my experiences for as long as I can remember. I started school at age two, and as soon as I learned how to make all the letters together in strings of sentences, I felt free. There was no “one thing” that sparked my love for writing; it was always there, and we were always close.
NT: Beautiful. So, what are your books about, and what did you learn from writing them?
AR: I write about emotional wellness and life design for women. I believe that most women are too far removed from their own needs, physically and mentally. I’m particularly sensitive to the experiences of women entrepreneurs because aside from motherhood, it’s one of the major ways we women lose ourselves. I try to use stories as warning flares for women to remember to risk expression in business and your life.
NT: What are you working on now?
AR: I just finished co-authoring a book about wealth, wellness, and entrepreneurship. It’s called How She Got Free: A Spiritual Business Manual for women who lead through entrepreneurship. We’re hosting a “town hall” type of chat via Google+ Hangouts. If women want to join us, we invite them to RSVP at bit.ly/shegotfree. We’ll also be live-streaming it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/ladyliberationists.
NT: I’ll make sure to check that out. Your last conference was a hit! What are you reading now, and which book would you recommend as a must-read?
AR: Right now, I’m in the middle of editing a fictional manuscript called Naturalized Flies, and I’m working on some e-books for some women’s social group projects. So, with all that on my plate, all I’m reading now is my calendar, to make sure I’m not missing any deadlines–LOL!
NT: LOL! I feel you on that. What has been the biggest challenge in your writing and publishing life so far?
AR: Staying in my writing zone can be challenging sometimes. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting in touch with a character or a train of thought, then have it disappear because you’ve got to shift gears and go into work mode or mommy mode. I try to write in chunks of time, and I write best when it’s late at night. Knowing my “writing time” has been helpful in countering my “writing zone” challenges.
NT: What advice would you give to other writers, especially those just starting this journey?
AR: Practice, practice, practice! I’ve gotten better each year because I write often and I also read often. Even if I can’t read a novel, I can read one of Seth Godin’s brilliantly concise blog posts, or a gem of wisdom via written word from Hiro Boga, and I straighten my back a bit, and dig into my craft a little more.
NT: I like that. We don’t have to limit ourselves to books only. If you could invite three authors to your home for dinner, whom would you choose?
AR: Banana Yoshimoto, Maya Angelou, and Amiri Baraka.
NT: What an evening that would be! How can we contact you and find out more about your books?
AR: The Life Design Agency is my online hub.
NT: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to our readers?
AR: Yes. Remember that we live in a time when becoming an author is no longer a complicated process manned by the “powers that be.” Don’t wait for anyone to validate your writing; just write. If you suck at it, keep practising, you’ll get better. Just keep exploring your thoughts and commit to putting them on paper (or on computer screen!).
Did this interview resonate with you? Show Akilah some love by sharing your thoughts in the comments.