Five things I’ve learned from writing five books – Lynsey James

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With her fifth book, A Season of Hopes and Dreams, just published, Lynsey James stops by to offer five pieces of wisdom she’s learnt along the way. ♥

1. Getting published isn’t the end of the story, but the beginning.

When being published and sharing my books with readers was just a dream, I always imagined getting The Call or The Email to be the happily-ever-after at the end of the story. Instead, it was just the beginning. The last three years have been utterly amazing; I’ve written five (soon to be six) books, hit bestseller lists in the UK and US, and signed three book deals. I’ve also got a fabulous agent (Sarah Manning at The Bent Agency) and can’t wait to see what the future holds working with her. So instead of being the end of the story, getting published was just the beginning of so many amazing things.

2. The author community is such a supportive one

I’m lucky enough to have a great bunch of author friends that I’ve met since being published. A lot are with the same publisher as me (HQ Digital), but some are with different ones. Some people might imagine the author community to be quite competitive, with everyone vying for top sales and bestseller spots. And while it’s true that everyone wants to do well, we all support each other. When things are going well, we celebrate, and we commiserate when things aren’t quite going to plan. We’re building our careers together, and there’s nothing I love more than seeing my friends doing well or smashing their goals.

3. Writing books is a constant learning process

It’s virtually impossible to write five books without learning things about writing in the process! My writing has changed a lot from my first to my fifth book; so much so, they look like they’ve been written by two different people! It’s quite funny to look back at my earlier books and see how my style has developed and changed. I definitely believe that the more books you write, the more you learn. Writing is a skill that you never stop developing. I also have a better idea of the way I work now. I’m definitely a night owl writer and a complete pantser, as opposed to a plotter. I love just diving into the story and figuring it out as I go along. I’m completely in awe of people who use brightly-coloured Post-Its and do really detailed plans, but I can’t get my brain to do them!

4. Believe in yourself

This is something I’ve struggled with over the years, even after getting published. There have been times where I can’t quite believe I’m lucky enough to be doing my dream job, or when I think it’ll all come to a swift end. The most important thing I’ve learned from feeling like this is that you have to believe in yourself. Getting published and building a career as an author isn’t easy; it can be a rocky road with rejection letters and days where you feel it’s never going to happen. Even after you get The Call or The Email, there will be times where you doubt yourself. It’s natural, we’re all human. But, as someone told me once, “with generosity and talent combined, good things will come your way”. If you keep working hard and keep learning, good things will happen.

5. Being an author is the best job in the world

This might go without saying, but I really do love being an author. The hours are long, the work can be hard and I can’t quite afford my LA beach house yet, but I absolutely love what I do. There’s nothing I enjoy more than creating characters and stories in my head, then putting them out into the world for people to enjoy. The fact I’ve been able to share five books with all my wonderful readers is mind-blowing, and my experiences so far have shown me that writing really is my dream job. I want to share my stories with people for many years to come!

Lynsey James was born in Fife and is an incurable bookworm. A careers adviser at school once told her writing wasn’t a “good option”, so Lynsey has tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. Now, she finally has fulfilled her dream and is writing full-time. When not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Matthew Gray Gubler finally realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

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