Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed founder of Mamas Ignited and author Louisa Herridge about her life, what inspired her to start writing, and the work that went into her inspirational new book; Stop Ironing, Start Living.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m a 42 year old former teacher from Warrington and now a globally best-selling author, speaker, survivor and leader of the Mamas Ignited movement, on a mission as a Mindset and Positive Psychology Empowerment coach to help women to find their spark, so that they can create impact in their life and business. Like the glorious Phoenix, I have risen from the ashes of debt, abuse and trauma; reborn in flames as the blazing leader.
Only two years ago I was depressed, unhappy and felt stuck. Following a violent assault at the hands of my ex-partner, which resulted in complex trauma, PTSD and emotional and psychological burnout, as part of my recovery, I realised that I had stopped living.
After some time, support and coaching, I started to feel a little light ignite within – and I knew had to leave my successful teaching career that was making me miserable and re-invent myself in order to self-heal and find a better life.
I am now on a mission to encourage all women to believe in themselves, to ignite their spark to BE more, DO more and HAVE more by turning their ironing boards into surfboards and surfing the fires of life.
As the motto says – “An Ironing board is a surfboard that gave up on its dreams and got a boring job…don’t be an ironing board!”
When did you first WANT to write a book?
As cliché as it may sound… for as long as I can remember. I grew up reading and surrounded by books (no surprise I went on to become an English teacher). It was probably from around the age of 10 that I knew that one day I would write a book. I started actively writing around age 15 and began to pen my first novel ‘Lizzie’… it is stored in the archives somewhere!
I studied Scriptwriting at Masters Level and so wrote drama, radio plays and scripts for many years.
Over the years I have written short stories, scripts, blogs and journal pieces along with a published chapter in a collaborative book but I am thrilled to have finally released my own book.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I began writing a blog when I was a new mum six years ago battling the new journey of motherhood and post-natal depression. Writing became my lifeline and gave me purpose beyond being mum. It lit me up.
Once returning to work as a full time teacher and mum, writing began to take a sideline until March 2020 – I went to a Vision Board workshop and I put ‘Author’ on the board. At that point I hadn’t written for two years, a few months later I joined a Book Collaboration and in November 2020 my story of overcoming domestic abuse and starting my own business was published.
From there I committed to writing a microbook following my Mindfulness and well-being system which was published in April 2021 and from there lit the spark to write my own ‘big’ book. I joined a writing, editing and publishing programme with Authors and Co and set a date for publication and there was no going back!
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I wrote the blueprint for the book initially in April 2021, this changed and evolved into what it is now. Writing the book rna simultaneously with coaching and delivery of the tools and content and so the content of the book evolved as I did. I started writing in July 2021 and completed it within five months.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Stop Ironing, Start Living?
This inspirational book is the next step for me as I continue my global movement, to empower women by giving them the tools to ignite the spark of self-belief and extinguish adversity and fear to live a more fulfilled life – just like I did.
‘Mamas Ignited: Stop Ironing, Start Living’ is my story, your story, our story because we have all at times wanted more… and that NEVER involves more ironing!
I want to help women to tap into their story and be able to speak from the scar not the wound, using it to ignite their overall impact. I have had my share of adversity and know how hard it can be to stop listening to your inner critic, voice of doom and the tight grip of imposter syndrome and anxiety; I understand your fear of judgement or failure; I had it too.
As a mindset and empowerment coach, I work with women to help them to find their spark – whether that be personally or in their businesses – so that they can turn up the dial on living lives they actually love, transforming their ironing boards into surfboards that will ride the waves of their next adventure!
What were your biggest challenges with writing Stop Ironing, Start Living?
As a solo mum building a business, the biggest challenge was prioritising time to write and to create time to be in flow so that I could produce my best work. I work well to time pressures and so often I would write at the gym (my form of exercise) I would drop my daughter off at a class and then power write for an hour. I found my deepest flow in that business hub!
During the day I still had freelance writing and proofreading deadlines to meet alongside building my coaching business and so I did have to be creative with my time. I also had to give myself a break when I knew that I wasn’t in flow and sometimes that meant napping in the day and writing into the early hours once my little one was in bed.
What was your research process for Stop Ironing, Start Living?
My research namely came from the course that I was delivering alongside writing the book. I used a variety of tools in sessions and the feedback from my clients informed me of what I could include. The book is majority autobiographical and the learning is delivered through narrative prose. Not research as such, but timelining my own stories was really powerful. I looked back at events in my life – good and bad and journaled out what had happened ‘for me’ as opposed to
How did you plan the structure of Stop Ironing, Start Living?
The structure of the book is in two parts. Part one IGNITE YOUR SPARK follows my signature SPARK system and I carefully wove my personal stories within the content matter of the topic. Each chapter links back to the main topic with tools and stories woven together.
Part two SURF THE FIRE follows the FIRE acronym with a focus on the part of my story where I ignited my spark to overcome Fear, Ignite my dreams, Rise from the ashes and Empower other women as well as being empowered.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Stop Ironing, Start Living need?
A part of the package with Authors and Co was editing of the first 4000 and a self-editing workshop. The self-editing workshop gave me the tools to edit and other than that, I did it myself. It involved several ink cartridges and reams of paper and my trusty red pen… once a teacher and all that!
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Connect to your ‘why’ and ‘who’. You need to know clearly what message you want to share and who your ideal reader is. The more you are aligned with this when writing the more easily the words will flow.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I am currently coordinating a collaborative book called, From the Ashes, she is ignited. I have brought together a group of women who have all overcome adversity and trauma to inspire readers by showing how they have risen from the ashes. The book is going to be released in May and I am privileged to work with these women.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I was thrilled to find out the book flew straight in at Number 1 on the Amazon bestseller charts in 7 categories including; hot new releases and Inspirational Spirituality, knocking New York Times best selling author, former Hindu monk, and life coach, Jay Shetty off the top spot. Other categories I hit No. 1 in were; violence against women, psychological education and training, psychology of creativity and genius, business consulting, international business and finance and women’s spirituality.
I was super grateful, proud and so so happy. But, what is more important to me is that people are reading my book. That’s where the true JOY lies. Knowing that people are reading, connecting with and learning from my book. That is everything.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Louisa’s book is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09RGGGG58
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