Women Who Create / Hayley Sleigh

This week we have the pleasure of welcoming marketing/communication/creative writing expert Hayley Sleigh on to the Women Who Create fortnightly interview series!

Tell us a little about your background... 

I was born and raised in Nottingham. I went to the University of Leeds to study BA German and English. After I graduated I spent a decade working in marketing and communications for companies including Boots UK and University of Nottingham.

Last year I found myself becoming stressed and deeply unhappy with the environment I was working in. I have always loved reading and writing, and so I decided to go back to university to study a Creative Writing MA.   

In addition to studying and writing creatively, I also work freelance as a marketing consultant and copywriter.

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Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focussed and happy?

I keep a bullet journal. I make notes at the end of each day about what I have achieved. It can be something big like ‘had a story published online’ or something small but vital like ‘talked to friends when I was feeling low’.

What two things can't you live without?

My phone – that’s really pants, I know – and a nice notebook for scribbling.

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

In my creative writing I take inspiration from current affairs – such as the Grenfell Tower fire, the #MeToo movement and the rise of the alt-right.

What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?

I think creativity is about tapping into your inner child and producing something new for the sheer adventure of it. It’s so easy to lose sight of that. When I was seven I never had writer’s block. What happened?! 

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?

I haven’t found my dream collaborator yet, unfortunately! I’m taking an evening course on creative collaboration this Autumn, perhaps I will find my soulmate there.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

Lovely notebooks and pens my loved ones have given me.

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What is the best thing about working for yourself?

Being able to put myself and my wellbeing first. By being my own boss, I am able to give myself enough time to rest and refresh.  

And what is or has been the most challenging?

Working in marketing, creative writing and article writing, I feel like I don’t have a roadmap to follow for successfully combining these different areas. But that can be exciting too!

What is your proudest creative moment in the journey so far?

When the Grenfell Tower inspired story I wrote was published, I received feedback from people about how they experienced the character’s point of view and how it moved them. It’s a powerful thing, being able to provoke empathy through creativity.

What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business journey?

Progress, not perfection! No-one’s expecting you to become superwoman overnight. Celebrate your little successes along the way. If you can work at gradually becoming more productive, more confident and more highly skilled, you can achieve wonderful things.

Find more about Hayley and how she can help your business shine over on her website now