Hello, and welcome back to writing Wednesday. Today’s guest is Lisa Swift-Young who is also known as Pause 2 Pause. So, as always please give her a big welcome and I’ll speak to you guys in a few.
- Please introduce yourself before we begin.
Hello everyone!! My name is Lisa Swift-Young. I am the author of Pause 2 Pause: 30 Days to Happier and Healthier Relationships with Your Children. As noted in the title of the book, I am the mother to two adult children as well; my husband and I just celebrated 30+ years of marriage. I’ll do the math for you; I’m 54. In addition to an author, my daughter and I are the co-cofounders of 4Curls, a natural hair care beauty brand. When I am not running my businesses, I am either working at my corporate gig in marketing or wandering around the globe looking for new ideas.
2. Every writer has an origin story to tell, what’s yours?
My story is I didn’t plan to be a writer. During a particularly challenging time of loss and grief, I was compelled to start a gratitude circle with my children. After more than two years of exchanging daily gratitude texts via text messaging, we had gathered more than 2,000 gratitude messages. I realized that this was a simple, easy, and effective way to leave a legacy while living. We had started four businesses, traveled the globe, and established a grant-giving foundation. I realized that our intentional gratitude practice had given us direction and purpose. I wanted to share this practice with others in hopes that they would find similar success.
3. What was the first story, poem, or novel you ever worked on?
Interestingly, I haven’t thought about this in a while. My first story was about my first encounter with God. I was about 14 years old, and I reminder writing down what it felt like to know that I was saved. I have been in church my entire life, but this was the first time it was personal. The story was presented to me as a song. Although, I never published the song bit and pieces come back to occasionally.
4. What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest part for me is sharing intimate details. I am naturally an introvert, so sharing is not my preference. For me, writing is easy when I am called upon to write a copy for work. It is much harder for me to share my personal feelings.
5. What Genres do you write in, and do you have a favorite?
I generally write nonfiction; however, I am an avid supporter of independent films. I love stories in the genre of realistic fiction or meta-fiction dramas.
6. Why do you write?
I write to leave a legacy while living. As I have gotten older, I want to share what I’ve learned. I appreciate that those before me shared their knowledge and perspective. I realize that storytelling is how I have come to know the world around me. I am appreciative of that insight, and as I approached the half-century mark, I wanted to give back. Writing became a way for me to contribute.
7. Favorite author and/or book series?
My first literary guide was Langton Hughes. I didn’t discover him until I was in a freshman English class when I wrote a paper on the Harlem Renaissance. The genius of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston was the spark. Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison continue to fan the flame.
8. Okay, the tough question here. It’s no secret that Mental health is essential for writers. Seeing that I want to be more of an advocate for it, is there any advice you like to give to people to keep fighting, whether you’re dealing with it personally or know someone that is?
Great question and thank you for bringing this issue to light—mental health as important as physical health. It could be argued that mental health proceeds to physical health. It is hard to stay motivated to work out or eat right if one is not in a good mental state. My 1st book was about reframing and redirecting my energy and mental state towards the positive. Our daily act of practicing gratitude helped us to recognize the opportunities all around us despite the tragedies. The Pause 2 Praise practice we developed gave us practical, applicable activities that helped us build our mental acuity for thriving in chaos. Because of that training and development, we have been able to excel in areas we formally found challenging. Like a personal trainer for your physical health, I believe everyone should have a mental health coach or team. Writers are often isolated, so they must build a stronger foundation. The accountability of the Pause 2 Praise practice makes it easy to create a positive environment.
9. Before we leave, is there anything you’re working on now or anything you have released?
Thanks for asking. I am working on the 2nd edition of the Pause 2 Praise series that focuses on crisis management. We all have and will have crises. They are never planned, but they are always on the way. I heard it said you are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or going into one. It could be health, financial, emotional, or job-related crises. Crises are irrespective of the person or economic status. So how do you prepare for the next crisis? The proactive building of your mental attitude and perspective will help you thrive instead of strive. The new project is training for building your team and proactively building your mental stamina, so you will be prepared to conquer chaos and come out better.
10. Finally, anything you want to say to new writers/artists?
Yes, your voice has value. You have a story that someone needs to hear. So, on the days you feel defeated, remember somebody pushed through so you could be here. One of my favorite quotes is from Julie Dash’s “Daughter of the Dust.” “We are the children of those who chose to survive.” Their blood runs through; you use it to fuel your future.
Welcome back and I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. If you enjoyed learning about Lisa you can find her on Instagram and or Facebook be sure to visit and show her some love. But that’s all I have for you today and remember to read, write, and create whatever it is you’re doing and have fun doing it.
“Love makes your soul crawl out of its hiding space.”
-Zora Neale Hurston