A writer like you: Lindsey Richardson
Meet Lindsey Richardson, an author, blogger, and proud cat mama.
One of her favorite hobbies is playing video games. She is currently working on the third book in her mystery/fantasy series titled Clara and Daphne.
In this interview, we talk about how to engage with the indie author scene, write attention-grabbing beginnings, and set effective writing goals.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! I was the kid in school that loved any writing assignment because I accepted it as a new challenge haha.
What has shaped you into the writer you are today?
My writing has changed so much over the years. My first complete novel I wrote when I was 12, my first book was published at 18, and since then I’d like to think I’ve come a long way. I think this is true for all authors, but just like in a book where you character develops over time so do we as authors.
As I’m getting older I’ve been able to experience more, learn more, see the good and bad from situations or people.
I’d also like to think I’ve become more serious with my writing. I don’t view as just another hobby like I did when I was a teenager. I take it seriously, I try to schedule in writing time and really reflect on what I did well and what I can improve. I’ve opened myself up to talking with more indie/hybrid authors such as myself, and I’m always learning from them as well.
What have you learned from your mistakes along the way?
I’ll be the first one to admit it: I’ve made a lot of mistakes throughout the years. Sometimes as writers I think it’s easy to feel guilty or ashamed of a mistake we make, but it’s only human.
When my first book was published back in 2012 I had no idea what I was getting into. I mean, I had a vague idea, but you always imagine it differently than how it turns out.
And in 2013 I started self publishing my books. Now, since my publisher went out of business, I’m 100% indie. That being said, with self publishing my books I’m always learning as I go.
I’ve learned so much I don’t even know where to begin.
For one thing, never let anyone crush your dreams. I was always told as a teenager that I was too young to publish a book. Not true. If you’re passionate about something you’ll find a way.
I’ve learned to ask for help. The author community is amazing, and I’ve made so many friends along this journey. I used to be afraid to ask for help from fellow writers, but now I love having that open communication with them.
There are worth-while investments —for me it was purchasing Vellum so I can now do the interior design for my books (without having to pay someone else to do it).
Do you have any tips for writing a powerful beginning or ending?
Ok, so here’s my tip when it comes to beginnings: Get you reader’s attention. The beginning of your story is where you need to give your reader a reason to keep reading. Start off with at least one character that the reader can be curious about or someone they can root for that way they’ll continue on.
As for endings, they’re tricky. Personally I think getting to the end is tricky because if it’s a solo book (as in not a series) you want to make sure you wrap everything up, leave no rock un-turned. On the other hand, if it’s a series you want to leave something that indicates to the readers that it’s not over —and to get them excited or interested in the next book. Personally, I like using cliff hangers with series.
Any tips on overcoming writer’s block?
This is something I struggle with every single day. You would think as the years pass, I write more books, I learn what does and doesn’t work that this wouldn’t be such an issue. But rest assured, everyone battles writer’s block (more often than you think).
The thing about writer’s block is it’s just that: it’s you blocking yourself from writing. It’s a mental game with you vs. the book, and sometimes writer’s block wins.
When you find yourself in a situation like this I always suggest taking a break, finding motivation (whether it be from music, Pinterest, another book, etc), outlining (if that’s your sort of thing), or sometimes something as simply as a change of scenery or writing on paper instead of typing does the trick.
Any tips on staying motivated?
Motivation is another thing everybody in the writing community struggles with. And trust me, I struggle with this more than I’d care to admit!
The key to staying motivated is to give yourself small goals to work towards and find ways to reward yourself. Lately I’ve been doing this with my word count goals. I place a sticker (or several) on my calendar for each day that I wrote, include how many words I wrote that day, and then I’m able to see my progress. The more words the better (or bigger) the sticker that I get to place on the calendar.
Setting small and realistic goals are importantly because it’s easy to get caught up in staring at that ideal final word count you want. Or getting lost in your own head and not knowing where you want to go next with your story. Sometimes you’ll have to push yourself forward or think of a clever way to get yourself back on pace with where you want to be.
Describe your typical writing process or routine.
So I typically aim for 1k words a day. Lately this hasn’t happened with my current WIP, so I try to aim for at least 500.
I start with a first draft, and then I usually edit and rewrite for the second draft. I find that rewriting helps me get to know the story better and help me edit along the way —of course it differs for everyone. After rewriting I print out the entire book and go through it again, this time seeing if the book is ready for publication or not.
When I’m actually happy and confident with the story I then send it off to betas. They’re the final ones to read through it before I edit once more and then we have the final draft —which gets prepped for publication.
What writing advice would you give others like yourself?
Being an author is hard work. I personally think it’s even harder when you’re an indie author. But whether your indie, traditionally published, or an aspiring writer I’ll say this: don’t give up. There will be many times you’ll want to give up. There will be ups and downs, but if this is something your passionate about every failure is worth it. Good luck, and keep up the good work.
What are you current writing goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
So I had hoped to be done with my current WIP this month. I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen. I’m hoping to be done with Clara and Daphne by September so I can start editing. This is only the first draft, and unfortunately I’m a slow writer, so between distractions and writer’s block, I’ve fallen behind schedule.
Like I said I try to aim for 1k a day with my writing. That’s been harder and harder to do with my schedule, but I’ve been using a word tracking app to keep track of my progress and, though it doesn’t feel like it, I’m actually very close to the end of this book.
Besides that I plan on re-releasing my book Thicker Than Blood sometime late this month if everything goes according to plan.
What are you currently working on, and what makes you excited about it?
I’m currently working on Clara and Daphne —this is the 3rd book in A Rose With Thorns series. I’m excited about this book because, unlike the previous books that were primarily told from Clara’s POV, this book starts off with Daphne’s POV for the majority of the story.
I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say Daphne is put in a very unique situation. Writing from her perspective has been so eye opening for me, and it’s given me even more insight into who she is and who she will become by the end of this series.
What is your ultimate writer dream?
My ultimate dream is to one day be able to write full time. I admire those of you who can. Realistically and financially I know it’s a long shot, but I would love to spend every day writing. I always wonder how much more I would accomplish if I was able to dedicate 100% of myself to my writing.
Where can we connect with you?
To free the writer this week, let’s try using Lindsey’s word count sticker method to track our progress. Place a sticker on your calendar for every day you write that reflects your word count. Visualizing your progress is a great way to stay motivated!