Episode 40: How to become a writer, and help other women achieve their goals with Na'ima B. Robert

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Na'ima B. Robert has been telling stories and helping other women tell theirs for over 15 years. 

She is the award-winning author of the bestseller, 'From My Sisters' Lips' and founding editor of 'SISTERS', the magazine for fabulous Muslim women.

Her historical novel, 'Far from Home' earned her a Muslim Writers Award and the Children's Africana Book Award in Washington. Recognised for her contribution to diversity in children's literature, her acclaimed children's books include 'Ramadan Moon' and 'Going to Mecca' and the YA novels, 'Boy vs Girl' and 'She Wore Red Trainers'.

Her books have been selected as 'A' Level texts and studied at university level.

She trains and mentors writers as part of the Muslimah Writers project.

Na'ima B. Robert has been telling stories and helping other women tell theirs for over 15 years. 

Joining us today is award-winning author Na'ima B. Robert. Na’ima is the author of the best seller “From My SIsters Lips”  and founding editor of 'SISTERS', the magazine for fabulous Muslim women. Na’ima shares her story of her early stages of writing up to how she became a coach offering world class writing courses that focus on helping others develop their writing skills. She shares tips on how to release mindset and be a successful writer and touches on how to overcome fear by believing and valuing ourselves as well as her opinions on publishing options. 

Her historical novel, 'Far from Home' earned her a Muslim Writers Award and the Children's Africana Book Award in Washington. Recognized for her contribution to diversity in children's literature, her acclaimed children's books include 'Ramadan Moon' and 'Going to Mecca' and the YA novels, 'Boy vs Girl' and 'She Wore Red Trainers'. 

Her books have been selected as 'A' Level texts and studied at university level.

She has been published in the Times, the Independent, the Guardian and featured on TV channels around the world. She is Trainer-in-Chief at Muslimah Writers.


In this episode.

  • Na’ima’s ride and journey in writing various genres of books in reflection to who she is.

  • Entering entrepreneurship by teaching what she knows how to do best.

  • Naima’s world class teaching how to write services

  • Investing in ourselves

  • Being supportive and helping one another.

  • Honoring the uniqueness of ourselves gives us value and lifts us up

  • The “helping each other spirit”

  • Advice for beginners starting to write

  • Mindset and fear free courses

  • Self publishing or Traditional Publishing? How?

  • Why your book can be rejected by publishers

  • Living with purpose and joy and empowering ourselves       


Upcoming projects:

Unleash Your Message coaching programme (starts 18th March)

Own Your Voice Challenge 

Challenge yourself to write for 10 minutes a day for 10 days (8-18th April)

Be the Hero Growth Programme

coaching.muslimahwriters.com

Connect with Na’ima

http://naimabrobert.co

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter


Transcription of episode 40



FOUSIA: On today's episode I have a wonderful guest for me. It's the amazing Naima B Robetrs. Naima has been telling stories and helping other women tell their stories for over 15 years Masha'Allah. She's the award winning author of the Muslim bestseller from my sister lips and founding editor of sisters magazine. Her historical novel far from home earned her a Muslim Writer's Award and the children's Africana Book Award in Washington. She's been recognized for her contribution to diversity in children's literature. Her acclaimed children's books include Ramadan moon and going to Mecca and her YA novels Boy vs Girl and She Wore Red Trainers. Her books have been selected as A level text and studied at university level. She's been published in The Times the Independent the Guardian and featured on TV channels around the world. She's trainer in chief at Muslim writers. Without further ado let's get into today's episode with the lovely Naima B Roberts



FOUSIA: As-salāmu ʿalaykum and welcome to the Naptime is Sacred Podcast. This is Fousia again and I have an amazing guest for you guys today. I told you when I started podcasting again that inshallah we're gonna have really great sisters to build on the Amazing Muslims that we interviewed for the past couple of years. And today I have with my sister Naima B Roberts. As-salāmu ʿalaykum! How are you doing today.



NAIMA: Walaikum assalam rahmatullahi barakatuh Alhamdulilah Good Sister how are you?



FOUSIA: Ahamdullah I'm doing great. So for those of you guys who haven't listened to the podcast before I interview amazing Muslims who are doing great things. Naima is an author. She wrote the bestseller "From my sister's lips", "Boys vs Girls", "From Somalia with love". Bunch of amazing amazing books mashallah and she's also the editor in chief of Sisters Magazine which is available to read online as well as I believe it was in print as well. So tell us a little bit about yourself and your own words is writing something that you've always loved to do.



NAIMA: It's some you know                for having me on the podcast and especially to be in a lineup with amazing Muslims. Thats amazing mashallah. I enjoyed writing when I was young but I think I enjoyed reading more and I definitely never thought that I would be a writer because to be honest I wanted to make money and being a writer does not make you rich necessarily. In fact in general it doesn't. So when I was young and thinking of my career path I definitely was thinking more on the lines of entrepreneur business woman somethings is gonna get me the high luck sand the house with the staff and everything. But what pushed me to start writing was after my first child was born I used to go to the library every week without fail. And my first love is children's books. I absolutely adore them and I could just literally read them all day. But the thing that bothered me was that there were no books at the time that reflected my son's heritage as an African as a Muslim as a black boy you know anything like that. And the few books that there were available just didn't match the quality of the other books that we had grown to love and just something inside me shifted something inside me stirred. And I think certainly for me my biggest thing was I want him to be proud of who he is what he stands for and where he comes from. And I fear that if he continues to see heroes being another skin color another religion another everything that he will one day feel ashamed of who he is. And so for me as a mother that led me to feeling shame because I look to him and I thought well how can I give you this gift. How can I give you this gift of self acceptance and self-love and pride in your identity. And that's really why I started writing children's books and why I cast in need for myself in the multicultural children's book space because that was where I saw the need and the need was for my own children first. And then of course for so many other thousands and thousands and millions of children out there.



FOUSIA: That's mashallah I mean that's how entrepreneurship starts right? You see a need that isn't being fulfilled and you take care of it and you're doing that through writing which is amazing. I talked to my kids about this all the time because I am a hoarder of I guess cultural Muslim kids. By cultural I mean it's everyone looks like them. I don't care how old my kids are as they age. I keep buying these books and I'm like I don't care if you don't read these books anymore. But you're going to read these ones ok because we have to make up for lost time because I mean ahamdullah on my oldest just turned 13. And when he was little none of these books existed. So right now we're playing catch up and we have been for the past couple years ahamdullah. And I think a lot of sisters feel the way that you do in terms of starting their own business and making things that are relevant to us in our lives a lot of times we've had to kind of just use what we have. At least we had something things some people don't even have that. But to be able to see yourself in characters to be able to see yourself in you know gifts and products and things that you can use on your body and skin and things that you can wear that reflect who you are as a person or what your culture is that's amazing. So let's talk a little bit about... I know you said that you were a reader more than you are a writer growing up. What is the first thing if you remember that you actually like published.



NAIMA: The first book was "the swirling hijab" which is a very simple rhyming story about a girl playing with her mother's hijab but the first story that I ever had published was called called "Joe's shadow" and it was about my son discovering his shadow for the first time. And that was published in Ladybug Magazine it's an American children's magazine. And I just sent it off to them and they said yeah we love it. And they published it. But most people don't know that. I don't even have a copy of it. But that was actually my first published piece.



FOUSIA: Wow. I'm sure in the age of the Internet now we can we can find it somewhere.



NAIMA: I'll look for it.



FOUSIA: So from then to now. How do you think your writing has grown and what's impacted you along the way I know writers grow... they have their own seasons of writing through life. How do you think you've changed from children's books and you write fiction for adults as well. How do you like kind of mix that all together as who you are right now.



NAIMA: My first foray was into children's picture books fiction and nonfiction. The next leap from there was memoir. So that was from my sister's lips was actually my first big book and then I pulled back from non-fiction and I started writing fiction for young adults. So YA fiction. That's the "From Somalia with love", "Boy vs Girl", "Far from home". That whole kind of group of books were all my young adult novels. And then of in between I carried on writing children's books. And the one I'm working on now I've actually gone back to adult non-fiction so I'm writing a motivational manifesto for Muslim women which hopefully will be out at the end of the year. But it's been an interesting ride because from my sister's lips saw me at a particular point in my life in a particular circle at a particular point of my development and a whole lot has happened since then including being editor of Sisters Magazine which meant that you know writing editorials and just reading and being nourished by different voices and different perspectives and also meeting a lot more people has resulted in I think this later book. I think people find it to be quite different. It probably is more reflective of who I am on social media now because that's where I do a lot of my communicating. So it's gonna be interesting to see. We just got like a different focus I think now than we did when I wrote "from my sister's lips" at that time really the only books that you would find by Muslims were pretty much dour books and obviously the landscape has changed so much since then. I think we're so much more courageous when it comes to talking about taboo topics being vulnerable being honest especially as women. I think the women have made more progress than the men to be honest.



FOUSIA: That"s how it usually goes.



NAIMA: I think for a long time the men were at the forefront and they certainly were achieving way more than we were. But I think something happened in the culture. Something shifted and now I think that sisters are so much braver and bolder than we probably ever were certainly in our time and our breaking more barriers within the bounds of Islam. And I think we're just a lot more honest than we were when I wrote "from my sisters lives" because there were people who felt it was not appropriate. You know that it was too honest that it was too personal because at the time you didn't talk about personal things you didn't talk about your personal experiences of things unless it was a transcendental experience or something that was particularly inspirational something that other people could be inspired by other than that you did not talk about your difficulties didn't talk about pain you didn't talk about hardship. You didn't talk about weakening a man. Those are just like off the cards when it was off the table basically.



FOUSIA: And now we have people share and I think it's amazing because emotionally and mentally that has really kind of upped our game as women. We have so much to share and these stories that we're showing what our deep personal issues or things that have impacted us traumas things like that. Where the next generation has a place to go to learn about that whereas we didn't our Moms didn't and talk about this other women our mothers ages or grandmothers who just didn't talk about their problems. They had a kind of a second up and deal with the cards that you've been dealt with kind of mentality because that's the society they grew up in that was their generation and now we're talking about so many things like we talk about marital issues we talk about you know psychological problems that we're having physical illnesses you know things that along the way that have just been kind of a burden and the Internet I say is always like the best and the worst place but when it comes to sharing your story and uplifting women it's really become one of the best places that we can share these stories. So tell me now I know that you've done a little bit of a pivot. You're still writing.. you still have writing projects but now you've got I guess a little bit more of that entrepreneurship that you wanted as well were you doing courses and you're teaching women how to write. Let's talk a little bit about that. What made you make that choice to want to kind of bring sisters along with you on the journey that you've taken and help them benefit from that.



NAIMA: I think that you know around last year April.. you know what. It wasn't even something I was planning at the time I had a marketing agency and I took a course with a woman called Sunny Lenarduzzi and her course was all a launching your own course.



FOUSIA: Yes.



NAIMA: And I bought it as an extra to her YouTube for buses.



FOUSIA: Yeah.



NAIMA: So I just bought it cause I was on offer of it yeah... Okay cool! And then I did the course and she gave us a deadline and she said six weeks from now you are going to launch your first course. And I was like Oh no. And then I thought well what can I teach people that I know really well. And then I thought aha. Children's books I know children's books I love children's books children's books is me okay. Children's books are up. Okay. So yeah. So that's what I did. I followed all the steps I did all the work in the course and I launched my first lie of course six weeks later. And then I did an online version a couple of weeks after that. And then I realized that oh my goodness I can make money from teaching what I know I can fulfill this need. That sisters have because I know how many sisters want to write but it's like no one knows where to go. You know you kind of dabble a bit. You read some blogs you sign up to some newsletters you might follow some writers but there wasn't really anywhere... And I still think that you know there is a gap there where you feel I can go here to learn from someone who knows what they're talking about who's walked the walk talk the talk step by step to get my outcome. So that was really kind of where it started and my goal for the Muslim Writers Project is that it becomes the number one place to go if you are a sister who wants to write. No matter what stage you are we will meet you at that stage. So if you are dreaming of writing and you haven't got the courage and the guts yet we will hold you by the hand work on your mindset help you to get those habits and you know we have so many different ways of helping sisters. But whether you're just starting out or whether you're ready now to write your book or whether you've already written a book and you think you know how am I going to sell this thing you know we've created a system that meets sisters where they're at and gives them really world class resources and training and support and feedback. I'm so grateful for the wonderful response that I've had from sisters so far. I remember somebody saying to me oh your niche is Muslim are writers. Oh I didn't think sisters were in to writing. I said girl!!!..  We've got like a Facebook group was 2000 almost 3000 members now and we have not struggled at all to find sisters who are interested in writing who are prepared to invest in themselves to put in the work to get the results that they want.



FOUSIA: That's amazing mashAllah and I'm glad that you said investing because a lot of times the things that I've noticed is that as women as moms we don't want to take out the wallet for ourselves. Right?  We'd rather buy new shoes and clothes and like vacations for the family and things like that. But tell us a little bit about why it's so important for us to invest in ourselves.



NAIMA: Let me tell you something interesting. All our masterclasses are valued at 497 but we often do offers and we offer them at 197. And I started doing masterclasses at 47 pounds because I thought the community...Sisters don't have money you know I want it to be accessible to everyone but you know we sold at that price. And then we raise the price because we improved the courses and have to let people kept investing. And the thing is that you would be surprised the number of people who spend 47 dollars 99 dollars one 197 dollars and sometimes more on a course and never even open it you would be surprised how many people do not even open that course. And I think that there's a sense of... obviously for some people 197 is a lot of money for other people its just something you put on your card. It's no big deal. And I think that you know sisters in general like you said are more likely to buy things for others specially for their children than to invest in themselves. But the thing is unfortunately as human beings when we struggle for something when we have to strive for something that is when we value it if something is too cheap there's something that happens within us that makes us either a bit negligent when it comes to it or we look and we think well maybe it's not that good anyway you know and you will see sisters who have developed an investment mindset. They approach paying for things quite differently. So you ask yourself would you rather spend 200 on a pair of shoes on a course and would you rather spend 1000 on I don't know repainting your house or getting a coach for example you know where are your priorities. A lot of the time we prioritize material things rather than things that will actually benefit us and make us better people. We're good at spending money on things. But ask somebody to put money down to invest in coaching or mentoring or some kind of personal education and people are like oh but you know why should I have to pay for that like you just help me. Its interesting..



FOUSIA: Its funny. Yeah I've heard that a lot before. She's kind of like oh you know just paying for something sometimes gives you that extra push. I know for me that I'm thinking that's hard or earned money right. And some for other people is kind of like they need another push they need people around them. So let's talk about as women how do we support each other right? I know you're doing you know a bunch of different things. Be the hero is one of them teaching how to write is another tell us how can we be better supporters of each other just kind of uplifting one another.



NAIMA: For me it's so simple. I think it really clear the attitude that we should have with regards to our fellow man and the way that we should walk in the world. And that is love for your sister what you love for yourself. It's so simple but it's something that people really don't seem to get sometimes. You know I believe firmly that we are stronger together. And I don't even believe in competition because guess what. No one can compete with me. Nobody can compete with you. No one can compete with Aisha or Jamila or Khadija or anybody else out there and this is what I teach my students are my clients. And I say to them the more you honor the uniqueness of who you are the more you appreciate it the more you amplify it the more amazing you become and the more unique. Like there's a word I'm looking for. It's like no one can copy you nobody can duplicate you. You are not replaceable because I only made one version of you. So the more you tap into that the more you differentiate yourself from anybody else and you will attract the people to you for who you are. And I said this to my students I said look the end of the day I'm not everybody's cup of tea and I'm fine with that. And you need to be fine with that too because sometimes what people try to do when they're in competition mode they think to themselves I need to be like so-and-so I need to be louder like that sister or I need to be more serious like that is this that I need to be a bit more kind of elegant or stylish like that says that maybe I should be more boho like that sister. But the thing is that you will attract people who want your essence and the people who want you they may not want that sister who's boho. They may not want that sister who's loud. They want you. And of course there will be other people who don't prefer your style. And you need to be OK with that because your message will land with the people Allah has created that message for. And as long as you're okay with that and you're fine to be authentically you you will find your tribe. Don't try to make yourself vanilla so that you can compete with more people or so that you can blend in and people accept you more. I always tell my writers that there that is the death knell to your writing. That's the death knell to your message because the whole point and the thing that sets you apart from everybody else is your unique voice your unique perspective your unique story don't water it down to be accepted don't water it down so that you kind of blend in so that you measure up or anything like that. Stay true to who you are and your people will find you.



FOUSIA: That's like the best piece of advice I've heard because I mean if you look at social media right now especially places like Instagram Facebook it's like we're all competing right? It feels like there's five slots for like amazing Muslim and there's hundreds of thousands of us trying to like rush there and try to do that. But I mean I really wish that I could repeat this over and over again what you've said. There is so much to go around there's a lot to go around. Everyone's message is different because it's unique to who they are and their own personal experiences and I was talking to another sister the other day about collaboration over competition right. Oh yeah. And lifting each other up and supporting each other where you can. And I think we're kind of missing that right now. And I hope that inshAllah it's something that we can work towards and hopefully the next part of our social media stories will be stories of everyone sharing their own unique experiences and uplifting one another and picking up the sister who might need some help from you and taking her along with you inshAllah.



NAIMA: At the end of the day. I consider myself kind of older generation because I'm 40 and I've been in the dean for over 20 years now. So I consider myself a little bit of the elders not the elders elders. Certainly in this generation of social media and entrepreneurship I see myself as an elder. And you know I just believe in the tradition of passing on the Khair of paying it forward and helping the ones who come after you to not make the same mistakes that you made to no more than you did and eventually to surpass you. Yes that's what I want. If I have writers who train with me or I have clients who you know come on to my coaching programs or whatever it is I'm looking at you not as the next Naima B Robert. You're the next best you and you're gonna be amazing and you are going to go out there and give your message with full backing and full intention and full certainty and with everything that you have because that's how I teach and that's how I coach like I'm not letting you go out there with some half baked right top or whatever. And this book is going to be fire and it's gonna be your fire. And that's what it needs to be the next generation that comes up they will surpass us because really if you look at my generation our writers of quite few and far between. In particular published writers we are few and far between. You could probably count them maybe on two hands who who've actually been published and whose work is available in schools and libraries. And that's not going to happen for this next group coming up. There's gonna be way more... and I can see it already that the younger generation more of them are breaking into publishing more of them are telling braver stories. And I just cheer them on and they know that because I'm always like tweaking them as "Hey Girl!!! I'm so proud of you!!!"



FOUSIA: That's amazing. So in the spirit of this helping each other out let's talk a little bit about let's use the example of a sister who really wants to write she feels like she has something to share but writing doesn't come natural to her right. What skills does she need to develop. Where should she look for resources and do you think that people who would consider themselves not to be great writers or not to have I guess the language skills to be great writers. How would you help motivate them how. What advice would you have for those sisters.



NAIMA: Well what do we always do is we always start with mindset because without mindset everything else is redundant. That's what I believe. The first thing that you have to do is to believe that your voice has value that your story has value that what you want to say has value. The next step is to give yourself permission. And what I always teach my students and my clients is to start writing in a safe space. So we always start with private writing because what I don't want them to do is while they are building up their muscles of expression of thought of creativity whatever it is I don't want them thinking of readers and editors and critics publishing and platforms and all of that stuff because it gets in the way. And actually like when I speak to some of my clients I realize that their fear of all those things what people will say whether they'll be judged will people like it. Will anyone read it. That's actually what's stopping them from writing in the first place. So what we say to them is shut out the noise. That's the thing that we say shut out the noise.. the noise is everything other than you the page and a love shut out the noise. Don't share your work initially write privately. Just write for yourself and get into the flow of of just getting it out and onto the page. And that is the advice I would give to any sister who's right at the beginning of the journey. Firstly declare I am a writer and I give myself permission to write and then you get your pad your paper your whatever it is you want to write on. Try to write for 10 minutes a day privately. Don't talk to anyone about it don't share it with anybody. Don't show it to anybody and don't even think about showing it to anyone. You just write what you need to write what you want to write. We actually have something called a fear free writing course which is a six week journey through this process it's downloadable there are a couple of videos but it's mainly you download the workbook and I talk you through what mindset you need to have for the week ahead and then we've got some prompts so you can use the workbook to just write for 10 minutes every day. That's really useful if you want to do something to set your own pace because I think that the thing that kind of almost cripples writers right at the start is all this baggage and all these fears that they have. And if you can get rid of the fear and you can get used to expressing yourself through the written word you will see at the end of that six weeks when you look over your daily writing you will see the shift you will see the change you will see the improvement. And that's not even with you having invested hundreds or thousands of dollars and you know this is just you and the page and the right mindset.



FOUSIA: Amazing mashAllah. That's great advice because I think we're all a little stuck in our heads sometimes and we have that... you know that mentality that you know why me? What do I have that's great I'm glad you're talking about mindset so let's skip a little bit ahead. There are a lot of sisters writing and they don't necessarily know because there's a new space for them and they are coming in as I guess like it maybe an indie writer or you know... Now we've been put in this kind of like Muslim writers box as well when it comes to bigger publishing companies. How do you get your foot through the door. I know a lot of them are struggling with "OK I've written the book I've done that step". I've had it illustrated or you know if it's a novel I've gone through the whole process. How do I get an agent. How do I get published. And a lot of sisters are turning towards self publishing. So one which method do you find most useful self publishing or traditional publishing. And second how do you make those connections to be able to send your work to people.



NAIMA: I got so much of a really good question. Whenever I work with a client I always ask them "Are you thinking of going the traditional route or the self publishing route?" And we have like a little exercise in the academy that allows people to kind of gauge for themselves which is the right route for them. But I would say that a lot of it depends on the story and the audience because at the end of the day mainstream publishers want to sell books. They invest a lot of money in creating a book and for them it needs to sell it certainly to a certain extent. They have a certain expectation of it finding a market. Some stories are more sellable than others. Some stories are just more marketable than others. And when it comes to traditional publishing it really is getting three things right. The right story at the right time with the right publisher. Any of those three is out and you're not getting a deal. So if it's the right story the right time wrong publisher sorry it's a rejection. If it's the right story wrong time but the right publisher again rejection. Right publisher right time wrong story rejection. So I teach my students to be very strategic when they want to approach mainstream publishers. You need to do your research you need to see which publishers they are out there that are actually publishing the kind of book you are interested in writing or that you have already written. Then you need to dig deep into them and look at their list. What kind of books have they published. What trends do you see in what they're doing. Look on Amazon look on Google. You know this topic area that you are addressing. How many books are there on that out there. Are there loads and loads and loads which means that the market might be saturated and you may need to come from a really unique angle to be able to get in. Or is there absolutely nothing out there which could mean that there's an opportunity or could mean that it's just not popular. Like it's just not a thing you know. So when it comes to traditional publishers research is your friend so you need to get really comfortable with looking at publishers looking up their websites looking up submission guidelines looking at their catalogs to see what kind of books that they are publishing because you will get a feel for where their preferences are and they often say as well. Even with agents they say we do picture books or we are concentrating on multicultural or we don't do YA or whatever the case may be. So pay attention to stuff like that. And at the end of the day with traditional publishing is also what I tell my students all you can do is write the best story that you can bring in the troops your editors your coaches your beta readers everything to make sure that the story is top notch then Bismillah you send it off to these publishers that you have researched and you just leave it to Allah and you get on with your next project. That is all you can do.



FOUSIA: Amazing and that's great advice. Let's talk about you mentioned rejection right? If you sent it to the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong I guess book that you're trying...



NAIMA: It could be any of those wrongs.



FOUSIA: Any of those things. How do you help sisters learn how to deal with rejection. This is like in this industry and it comes to writing there's a lot of it. How do you let them know that that's OK and also what I mean I guess going back to Islam. Like how do you bring back to local to just you know believing in Allah that when it's your time it'll be your time. But also in a way that they don't feel like it will never be their time.



FOUSIA: I mean I remember speaking to a sister ones and I said to her that you know once you've done your bit you send it off and it's now the results are with Allah and your job now is to go back in and write another story. OK. And obviously I mean nobody likes to be rejected. It feels really really awful especially when you've put that much time and effort into it. But again it's not something that you should take personally because any one of those three could be wrong and it's not necessarily your story. It could be that they love to your story but they don't have the market for it or they don't believe that they can reach the market for it. You see what I mean. All they're focusing on something else this year it's got nothing to do with you and your story. So the number one advice I would say is that just don't take it personally. And we are blessed to have a lot more publishers now indie publishers nontraditional publishers hybrid publishers as well as self publishing. So that if you do feel that no this is an important story I know this is on the market. It may not be a market of thousands and tens of thousands like a publisher is looking for but there's a big enough market for me. And there is a big enough market that I can find and I can serve through this book in which case self publishing is the way to go. We have like a mini course in the academy where we teach authors how to launch their books so that they don't end up launching and it's crickets you know out to how to actually sell their books. But we made sure that inside the Muslim writers Academy we collected resources like this because we know that these are some of the issues that sisters face. For example social media a lot of authors kind of struggle with the idea of social media because they have heard somewhere that it's important to use social media as an author to build a platform build an audience they don't know how to do it. And some of them are not on social media or they're introverts and they don't want to spend all day kind of tweeting and you know taking pictures and stuff like that. So we have guidance for them on how to build their platform how to build their list. These are things that most newbie writers or even seasoned writers don't really know much about at all. But that's why we've gone and we've done the research and we've taken the courses and you know invested in ourselves so that we can come back and teach the community so that we have a better chance of really crushing it when we come out with these books for our community and for the wider community as well.



FOUSIA: That's amazing mashAllah. Tell us a little bit about your message to sisters. A lot of the posts that I see on your Instagram and Facebook has really become uplifting for us and tell us why that's so important to you. What have you seen in the community that you felt that this was a need that a handler you've been able to fulfill and you are fulfilling.



NAIMA: That's a really difficult question for me. I just think I see life in terms of potential and I see human beings in terms of potential and I see my sisters in terms of potential and I think the more we focus on our own agency and the agency that Allah has given us I feel empowered by what I'm learning. I feel empowered by the decisions that I'm making. I feel empowered by my choices and anyone can do that. Anyone can have access to that because Allah given us choices for free like he's given us the ability to choose. It's not about money it's not about education just about anything. You have the ability to choose. And I think for a lot of us we spend a lot of time in victim mode and victim mode... Disempowers us 100%. And the more we look to other people to solve our problems that more disempowered we become. And I think it's time for us to take back that power and take it back in a very very personal way. So I'm not like asking for revolution right but but it is kind of like look guys we get one shot at this life here. Ok. How do you want to live what impact do you want to make on yourself and on others and what will your legacy be. Because I could die tomorrow. So every day I ask myself like what have you done. How have you shown up. What have you contributed. What are you going to leave behind. How are you... What... When I did my post about like stop being inspired and take action. It's like those of us who are you know in the space where we are reaching out to sisters and we are sharing stories and we are sharing these things. We're not doing it just to pass the time. We're doing it so that you can have a shift. And once you have that mental shift that emotional shift that energy shift you will start to see things differently and you'll start to make different choices. And I feel the more you are at cause in your life. Something I learned the more you are at cause in your life the happier you'll be because you know that you are impacting your life in a very direct way. You are making your own choices. You're being a big girl and you've got your big girl panties on and you're taking responsibility for your failure for your success for your happiness for your sadness for your depression whatever it is you're taking responsibility. It can be scary at first but trust me on the other side of that fear is a sense of courage and joy that for me it's beyond anything else to live with purpose and joy. That's what it's all about for me somehow.



FOUSIA: That's amazing. Naomi thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful advice and tips this conversation has been amazing and I hope our listeners have been able to benefit from it as much as I have. Tell us a little bit about where we can find your work your courses anything that you have coming up so our viewers are able to find you.



NAIMA: Definitely I mean I post on Instagram regularly Facebook as well. My Web site is naimabrobert.co So you guys can check me out there and join my mailing list the end list where I send out Friday basically motivation every Friday as well as all the things that are on my mind extracts from the book I'm working on and any new projects that are coming up inshAllah so definitely go to my website and go to my socials and I'd love to be able to connect with everybody there and InshaAllah.



FOUSIA: InshAllah.. And I think in the next couple of months you have something that you are going to be launching correct?



NAIMA: Yes of course. I always got something going on. I'm really really excited because my I have a new program called "unleash your message" which is an elite writing program for sisters with a message for women with a message who believe in that message and want to finally write their book and get it out into the world. So I'm really excited about that. And then we have the own your voice challenge which is a free challenge where we are challenging sisters women around the world to write for 10 minutes a day for just 10 days. And this is our way of saying to people like you can write a lot of people think they don't have time to write I'm busy I've got days I've got that we are saying Try it for 10 minutes a day for 10 days and see how you go. We'll be supporting them through videos. We've got lots of material that we're preparing and that is from the 8th to the 18th of April. So I hope that all your listeners will sign up for that and maybe we can share the link with them in the show notes but that that's going to be really exciting and it's gonna be a really lovely buzz around that particular campaign so I'm really excited about that.



FOUSIA: That's amazing we will definitely share all of your information and everything that you're going to be working on in the show so everyone can InshAllah benefit from it. Naima thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.



NAIMA: Thank you so much for your time. May Allah bless you in all your affairs. You and your family. Ameen.