Updated: May 7, 2019
Laquanda McCoullum is the ultimate creative who wears many hats as the producer and director of the hit online show, "On the Spectrum," acclaimed playwright, author, celebrity publicist and an executive administrator.
She found her love for writing and the arts at a very young age right in the heart of her native city, Philadelphia.
And while Laquanda loved writing, she never considered herself one until life happened opening an opportunity for her to publish her first book series, "For My Daughter," and "For My Son," a self-guided journal for parents to write their perspectives on life and wisdom for their children to read later on in life.
We had a fantastic opportunity to discuss with Laquanda the path that led to writing and her own personal experiences that opened the door to more creative outlets.
1. What was the Lightbulb Moment that led to you becoming a writer?
I used to write poetry when I was younger as well as short plays and skits for church; but, I never thought I would be a "writer." The idea of writing books seemed to be exhausting. I could not wrap my mind around how people skillfully wrote books. And so, when I was younger, I gravitated to Performing Arts. I remember my Grandmother saying, "I always thought you would be a writer," and now after all of these years, I can say, "Look at me Grandmom! I'm a writer." And I love it!
2. What was the defining moment or circumstance that led to you writing books for parents especially one that communicates legacy to their children?
So I created a journal for parents to leave lessons about life for their children as a result of losing my own mother. I don't think I maximized her presence because foolishly, I thought she would live forever.
There were so many things I didn’t know and so many questions I wished my mom could have answered for me. So the journal was birthed from me wanting to leave lessons about life for my daughter if something would happen to me or just as a reference for her to look back on.
3. What are the driving forces behind your success?
The driving forces behind my success are God, faith, excellent mentorship, and accountability!
4. For those who are struggling with the loss of a parent, what is your advice on making the first step to healing from loss and using it for gain to help others?
It's been almost 19 years, and I'm not "healed." Her absence is still painful.
Yes, there are times that the thoughts of her bring me great joy and her valuable lessons guide my path, but I miss her terribly.
So my biggest lesson is to stop trying to get over it. People tell you that. You'll get over, they say. But I didn't get over it yet, and I don't want to.
I want to miss her.
I want to remember her.
I want my love for the person that has birthed me into this world to be with me until I am no longer present.
Don't let people rush you out of grieving.
Still, live your life as full and as beautifully as your loved one would have wanted, but it is okay to miss them. It's okay to cry, even 20 years later. I had an opportunity to talk with my Grandmother before she passed away about the subject. She lost her mother more than 40 years ago, and she said there were still times that she craved her mother's embrace.
So I guess I would say find healthy ways to grieve and don't allow people to tell you it shouldn't hurt anymore. Cry if you have to, excuse yourself to the bathroom or take a long ride in your car whenever necessary. In my opinion, losing someone you truly love is like losing a limb.
Yes, eventually you can learn how to maneuver without it, but you'll always be aware that it's no longer there.
5. What have the obstacles of being a mompreneur and wife taught you about yourself, womanhood and raising a daughter? How have you learned to put you first, so others can get the best of you? Any tips on how to do so?
I don't really subscribe to the notion of putting myself first. I like the idea of just making sure I include myself and have space for me in my life. Because I lost my mom, I have a different perspective on what time with my daughter means, so she is first for me.
But I have learned to include and make time for me even if I'm second, third, fifth or last. I make time for me. So my tip would be to schedule time for you daily and honor that time. Realize that helping yourself is helping your children and your family.
6. What does “embrace possibilities” mean to you?
Embrace possibilities means to be open enough to see the world through lenses that are not your own. Exposure can be transformational.
7. If you had to sum up your life’s purpose in 3 words, what would it be?
Help People Succeed
This is only the beginning for Laquanda as a creative force in the world publishing her second book, "The Day I Said I Do to Me."
For information about LaQuanda:
Her Latest Book: The Day I Said I Do to Me
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