Who’s Leilani?

I’m an award-winning writer with a passion for reaching women, advocating for special needs kids and restoring God’s honor. I own a business and have four kiddos – although one is ‘hanai’ meaning adopted Hawaiian-style. I’m the editor of Spirit-led Woman eMagazine and I just finished writing my first book, Ten Keys to Raising Kids That Love God.

I started writing when I was in the 4th grade. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Fong, would post my stories and poems on the bulletin board. My home life was chaotic and writing was a way to exit out of the poverty and pain at that time. While my mom tried to figure out how to put on the food on the table, I wrote poems and stories and created illustrations.

At 11-years-old I had my first story published in a kid’s magazine. My mom and dad were divorced. I spent summers at his house working in his garden and writing stories. I got kicked out of high school at 16 because of fighting. That same year I started college.

I took a senior-level English composition course as a freshman. We were required to write 3 papers and I wrote one long, well-researched story. My professor gave me an A and asked me to come to his office. “Have you ever thought of becoming a writer?” He asked me. “No. I want to be a lawyer. I don’t want to be a starving artist.”

He shook his head and continue to encourage me to pursue writing as a career. He must have been prophetic because I ended up writing my way through college. I worked at the campus newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawaii covering politics.  I received my degree in Journalism and started my first job as a reporter at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. From writing stories about politics, I’ve taken this incredible winding journey writing articles, scripts, ads, web sites – anything to pay the bills.

I’ve never thought of myself as spectacularly creative. Just a hard-working hack that tries to put out copy that resonates with the audience and “makes bank” as my son Chris would say. My kids are:

the diva

Alex, 17; D’Andra aka The Diva, 13; and Chris, 21.

jerome-cropped

Jerome Haywood, my husband, the one who keeps me sane, talks me off the ledge, champions my dreams. I hit the lottery when I married him on March 20, 1993.

5 thoughts on “Who’s Leilani?

  1. Leilani, It’s been forever and a day! I think you also wrote some articles for us at Good News Journal or was it the Centralia Fireside Guard or both? I was trying to think where I knew you from. I know it was when we both lived in Columbia, which is where I still am. Laurel shared your blog on Facebook. I blog. too, at teresashieldsparker.com. I just finished my memoir about my weight loss journey. I’m working on a teaching guide before I release it probably in October. The title is Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying To Earn God’s Favor.

    Although i still write I pretty much stopped working a writing job when my daughter was born 22 years ago. I freelanced for awhile and then in 1999 started doing foster care of special needs kids which morphed into having a supportive living facility for mentally challenged young women.

    God had been dealing with me for awhile about writing my story. I started working on it in Feb. and finished the writing in June. Still working on revisions. I thought writing would be the most difficult part but I’m learning there’s a lot more after writing. Of course, I’m self-publishing so I’m learning every little aspect as I go along. It’s great to reconnect.

    • Wow it has been forever and a day! I remember you very well. I remember you editing in Linda’s basement or working on the Good News Journal. Congrats on the weight loss victory! I don’t know if you know this but I’m also the editor of Spiritled Woman eMagazine – an affiliate pub of Charisma. I would love to republish some of your blog posts on our site at http://www.spiritledwoman.com. I can’t pay but it might get more traffic for your site and more visibility for your book. Email me at ldhaywood@gmail.com if you’re interested. Blessings, Leilani

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