Real Women, Real Lives
Who inspires you? Who do you use as your motivator to get things done or to make valuable changes to your life?
There are thousands of women who stimulate our need for greatness. They appear on our television and movie screens, we listen to them on the radio, or we read their encouraging stories in articles or books. It’s easy to put a celebrity on a pedestal and desire their lifestyle, skillset and strength of character, but we don’t need to turn to the glossy magazines, or the big screen, to find inspirational women who can motivate us to succeed. They live next door, work alongside us, and talk to us at the supermarket.
The Real Women, Real Lives feature highlights the incredible individuals who have succeeded on their chosen path, or turned misfortune into positivity. Ladies who have conquered illness or gone above and beyond to help others, and made a difference. Women who have stepped out of their comfort zone and launched a business, or ventures that have an impact on their environment, or community.
These remarkable women are your friend, co-worker and neighbour and I’m delighted to be able to share their stories with you.
Today, I am delighted to invite Sunday Times bestselling author, Heidi Swain to share her story.
Tell us a little about you and your story.
My name is Heidi. I’m a 46 year old married mum of two (allegedly) grown up kids and, since 2015 I have been writing commercial fiction for Simon and Schuster. Last year I became a Sunday Times Bestseller.
What’s your biggest dream in life?
Right now, my biggest dream in life is to be able to at least double what I’ve written in the above section! Don’t get me wrong, being a wife and mum is wonderful and being contracted to write two books a year for such an incredible publisher means I’m finally living my long-held dream, but my life (or at least the bit of it I save for me), has begun to feel ‘small’. I’m tentatively feeling my way along at the moment, spreading my wings and broadening my horizons, which I’m sure will help push me in the right direction. I know we are often told than it isn’t possible to ‘have it all’, but I’m going to give it a shot!
If you chose a power word for this year what would it be and why?
DISCOVERY – I’m certain this wonderful word will enable me to achieve my biggest dream. I’ve found myself in some interesting situations, seminars and events this year and they’ve all had an impact on my mindset, confidence, understanding and decision making. I’m determined to keep discovering, adding to my knowledge of both the world and my craft and pushing myself forward rather than staying put.
Who inspires you and why?
There are two people, two women in my life, who inspire me more than anyone else right now.
First, my mum. She’s an incredibly strong woman and, as my daughter recently pointed out, a great role model. The game of life has thrown some truly heart-breaking times and events across her path and yet every time she has battled through and emerged stronger than before. She’s single and independent, works demanding shifts as a Senior in a care home for dementia patients and yet still finds time for her family and friends. Any day now she’s having her head shaved to raise money for cancer research! She’s amazing.
My daughter is every bit as amazing and inspirational, but in different ways. She is incredibly creative and has a great sense of style. She’s also smart and wise beyond her 18 years. We have fascinating conversations about gender, sexuality and mental health. Every day she teaches me something new, brings something to my attention that I’ve either never considered or even heard of before. My world is enriched and enhanced by her and, although I’m so excited about her future plans, I know I’m going to miss her dreadfully when she heads off to university in September.
What, in your experience, motivates you best? Can you give an example?
I have a best friend, a fellow author, who fortunately lives close enough for us to get together when either of us needs a shoulder to lean on, a chance to laugh or cry… you get the idea. She’s one of the few people who can see straight through me and I can always rely on her to tell it to me straight when I need to be told!
My wonderful readers are another great source of motivation. Every day I receive messages and emails telling me how my books have influenced decisions, encouraged new hobbies or even been a welcome refuge during tricky times. That’s a truly amazing honour and keeps me heading back to the keyboard.
I’m also motivated by nature. As a Pagan I celebrate the Sabbats and always feel uplifted and invigorated after a walk in the woods, taking note of the subtle seasonal changes. This heatwave has made getting outdoors uncomfortable and I can’t wait for the cooler days. And nights!
What actions/events/environments would adversely affect your motivation? Can you give an example and how you coped?
Although I’ve struggled to admit it, I know my motivation has been knocked for six during the last few months. There’s been a constant bombardment of difficulties – family illness, health problems of my own and the resulting need to focus every spare moment on trying to keep on top of things has made me feel like a hamster on a wheel. A hamster juggling a very full load. Blindfolded. Some weeks I’ve hardly left the house and, I’m not going to lie, that’s probably the most frustrating thing.
I know the key to coping with life’s hiccups is to get out and about, let folk in, share the load and resist the temptation to turn inwards and yet that’s what I’ve ended up doing recently and that’s not like me at all. But, don’t despair, I’m firmly back in the driving seat now!
How do you ensure that your personal level of motivation is high on a daily basis?
I’m the ultimate list lover. Even through the difficult few months I’ve just experienced, the lists have been a constant. Every Sunday I’ll grab a pad of A4 four paper, divide a page up into 7 sections and start adding all the things I need to do, places I want to visit, bills I need to pay, words I need to write… Not only does it keep me motivated but getting it all down on paper means I can get it out of my head. I find it cathartic. Freeing up the extra headspace gives room for the plots and plans to develop and grow, which is of course essential for an author.
To find out more about Heidi you can connect with her here:
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