Hello Sparkle Writers, are you ready for another mind blowing session on today’s #WriterSpotlight? We have the uber inspiring Jokotade, author, speaker and founder of the Jokotade Network. Her story is truly unique. After giving up on her dreams to become a published author for years, Jokotade decided to give herself a fresh start. If you’ve been having problems making your writing dreams come true, Jokotade’s story is what you need!
Hello Jokotade. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Vivian “Jokotade” Adeniyi and my audience fondly knows me as “Jokotade”. I am a Nigerian-American author, speaker, and thought leader on topics relating to women, business and leadership. I am also the founder of The Jokotade Network, which hosts a variety of talk shows with audiences in over 100 countries. Behind the scenes, I am a wife, mother and an entrepreneur.
Have you always known that you would be a writer and a speaker.
From my childhood, I loved to write and tell stories to impact people’s lives. I was also placed in several leadership roles that gave me opportunities to speak. So, I think it’s safe to say yes that I have been on the path of making something of those childhood experiences.
What inspired you to write your book, ‘Fresh Start’?
Well, the simple answer to that question is this – My Struggles. After facing and overcoming several challenges and setbacks at different points in my life, I felt inspired to share my story in my own way and in my own voice. People often see you at the end of a tunnel but never really hear of the dark side of the journey through that tunnel. Writing my book ‘Fresh Start’ was a way for me to warmly and sincerely share how I overcame the many challenges life has brought my way. I had somehow lost myself to life and quickly became a woman who stopped investing in her dreams. Life had happened, and I lost all maps providing any form of direction and plan for my future. I desired the opportunity to simply start over and leave my struggles behind. This book is a result of my personal journey to find my way, rebuild my life, get back on track, and move forward. It is a book about dreams coming to pass. It is a book about reaching for your potential.
Writing a book had been a dream for you for a long time. How did you feel when ‘Fresh Start’ was finally published?
I felt so much joy, fulfilment, relief, and freedom…all at the same time. My faith to reach for the impossible grew even more once ‘Fresh Start’ was published. I’ve always felt nothing is impossible but now I know nothing is really impossible. I still pinch myself and ask “Did I really write this book?” (giggles)
Can you take us through the journey of writing the book; what challenges did you face and how were you able to overcome them?
Oh my goodness, the process of writing a book is like being pregnant…from conception to delivery…it is a process that must take its due course if you want to be successful as an author. I must confess that it was a lot of hard work as I penned each chapter all by myself with no ghost writing. I learned that I have more inside of me than I actually realize.
As I mentioned earlier, from my childhood I loved to write and tell stories to inspire people. I dreamt of becoming an author “someday”. Now, you and I know that when it comes to writing there is no such thing as “someday” so that “someday” never came to pass. I began the journey of pursuing that dream of becoming an author, but somewhere along the way…life happened. I never actually followed through on that dream. I cannot begin to tell you how many book ideas I have had over the years. I would start, stop, start over again, and eventually give up. When I observed that I had somehow lost sight of my dreams of becoming an author and the fulfillment of that dream was lacking, I desired a fresh start and chose to look in a different direction.
I sought counsel by studying other experienced authors I could relate to. I learned that I wasn’t alone in my struggle to follow through on great ideas. I also learned the single most important lesson every aspiring author needs to know and it’s this: choose one book title, and then focus and commit to that book title every day until the book is complete and published. It seemed very difficult and unattainable at first, but the moment I made that choice and committed to writing something every day and at a specific, dedicated time, I began to see remarkable progress. As I write in the book, I am so glad I discovered what I needed to do and I did it…and now…it’s history. I learned from my struggles that focus and commitment will lead you to completion if you don’t give up.
‘Fresh Start’ is available in major book stores in the US. How were you able to achieve such a great feat?
HARD and PERSISTENT work! Let’s just say I asked my way out of zero with this book. I dreamt of producing a bestseller quality with this book. I worked hard on every detail of the book from the cover to the layout to its distribution. I personally researched how the book could be listed on some of the world’s largest distribution channels and applied to be listed. This made it easier for booksellers to find, source and list my book.
In your journey as a writer, can you share some of your most rewarding moments with us?
One major highlight for me was when I received and held the printed proof copy of the paperback book in my hands for the very first time. Another moment was when my eight-year-old son took a copy of the book to school to show his teachers and friends. A third and very special moment for me was when I arrived at the live book launch event. It really did feel like a dream. I also will never forget when the hardcover copy finally arrived, I remember driving with the book holding it so close to my heart…hoping it won’t slip away.
You are committed to helping women to win in life, love and business. Why did you decide to focus on women?
…Because I am a woman (chuckles). More than ever before I am better able to articulate my life purpose or let’s just say my life calling. Along with my past experiences, I have paid attention to my path in life and discovered that I was born to lead and inspire women first. Fulfilling this role comes naturally and very passionately for me. It only made sense that I raise my hands and answer the call.
In my journey, I observed that there are not enough written or spoken resources that specifically address or support the struggles women face and in the language women understand and desperately seek.
I hope to harness the power of technology using my written and spoken voice to help women bridge the gap of where they are and where they want to be in life, love and business – I haven’t met any woman that doesn’t want to thrive in any of these areas.
You also have an app; can you tell us all about it?
In 2014, I felt inspired to start a podcast with my name. I titled it ‘The Jokotade Show’. I had no idea what it would evolve into. The Jokotade Show became an avenue for me to cover a diverse set of topics to meet the many different needs of my audience. I have since seen the need to breakup The Jokotade Show into specialized segments – resulting in The Jokotade Network of Shows. Each show is true to my personality, the many hats I wear and the many roles I juggle every day. I also developed an App for the convenience of my audience. The App is called ‘Jokotade’ and it helps my audience access their favourite shows from The Jokotade Network on their mobile devices. It’s like having your own success coach everywhere you go (laugh out loud).
Aside from becoming a published writer, what other writing goals do you have?
It’s no secret that I am passionate about writing nonfiction. I dream of writing over 50 nonfiction titles, however, I do also have a dream of writing romance titles for television one day. Let’s just say I am a hopeful romantic and I hope to spread the goodness of love to the next generation – laughing out loud.
What advice do you have for an upcoming writer who wants to publish a book some day?
Let me begin by saying – Please don’t give up on your dream of becoming a published author. If there is one advice I can shout from the roof top its this – Schedule time for your book-writing dream. I often say:
Let your schedule reflect your destination.
If you dream of becoming an author like me, then go ahead and schedule time for that dream destination. You see…Dreams just don’t happen. Dreams are scheduled. Choose a date for your “someday” so your “someday” will become your “launch day”. I wrote this book with what some have labeled an almost impossible schedule as a wife, mother of two young children, entrepreneur, community leader and mentor to thousands. In the last quarter of 2015, I adjusted my personal schedule to reflect my priorities and destination for 2016. This adjustment helped me fulfill my dream of becoming a published author in April of 2016. Now, I am on to my next books…take note of the plural…books and I believe you reading this interview can too!
Jokotade continues to pursue her dreams. Discover her network of shows including The Jokotade Show, The Before I Do Show and The Idea to Influence Show helping her audiences win in life, love and business. Her shows are available on her mobile App “Jokotade” available for free on the PLAY store and on iTunes. For more of her inspiring story, wisdom and practical insight visit her home online. For a complete list of where to find her book “Fresh Start” visit the official page for the book online at FreshStartJourney.com. Be sure to also follow her on social media @jokotadeshow.