"Most people only ever see the ‘glam’ side of being a writer – traveling, doing signings, having meetings in swanky restaurants – but really, that’s maybe three weeks out of an entire year."
- Lindsey Kelk, Published Author
Can you give us a brief overview of what you do?
I’m a full time author so the majority of my time is spent writing and researching my novels. To date, I’ve written nine novels, two e-novella and I’m about to start work on my tenth book. I also do some journalism and very occasionally, I ghost write for brands and movie tie-ins.
Tell me more about your career before becoming an author?
I’ve always been involved with writing, one way or another. My first two jobs were in PR so I was writing a lot of press releases, which was a great way to learn discipline and how to write for a specific audience. After that, I got a job as an editorial assistant with a children’s publisher. I spent six years in editorial, learning the publishing business and getting more and more writing experience. Having a background in the industry definitely helps me as an author as it’s given me a clearer idea of how many people are involved, what they do, how important everyone is to the process as well as the retail side that comes afterwards. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
What inspired you to become an author?
Reading was my passion growing up. I loved to get lost in a book and as soon as I was able to write, I started putting pen to paper and writing my own stories. It never occurred to me that I could actually write for a living until I sold my first book. I wrote it more to see if I could than with any intention of getting it published but once I started, the passion and love I’d had for writing when I was younger came back and I was so happy. My life was running in a fairly miserable rut. I’d been in the same job for a while, I was in an unhappy relationship and I was in tons of debt so writing was an escape. I think a lot of people are inspired by a feeling of being trapped or disappointed with life, that was definitely what spurred me on in the beginning.
How did you manage writing alongside your full time career?
It wasn’t easy! I was working as a senior editor at this point and commuting an hour each way to and from a hectic, high-pressure job. But as soon as I started writing, I found that I loved it so much, I made the time. As soon as I got in from work, I would make dinner, take care of anything that needed doing and then get my laptop out and write until bedtime. Admittedly, my relationship suffered and eventually we did split up but I’ve no regrets. It got to a point where I could only really be fully there for my job and my writing, so being single felt like the right thing to do. I carried on working and writing for the first three books that I published and only quit my full-time job when I signed my second contract two years later. And even then, it was terrifying!
What’s been the biggest highlight?
It’s so hard to pick one! I think the best part of being a writer for me has been the amazing people I’ve met that wouldn’t have crossed my path otherwise, as well as all the chances I’ve had to travel. Seeing my book on the shelves and having a top ten bestseller still doesn’t feel real and even though I love it and wouldn’t ever change it, writing does eventually start to feel like a job sometimes. The friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had will last forever.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Being a writer can be very isolating. I spend weeks on my own in my apartment, tapping away on my laptop. Anyone who spends that much time alone, inside their own head can start to feel a bit crazy after a while. I’ve missed parties, concerts and holidays to work and even New Years and Christmas have been swept aside when I’m on a deadline. Finding people who are sympathetic or even who just understand can be a bit difficult. Most people only ever see the ‘glam’ side of being a writer – traveling, doing signings, having meetings in swanky restaurants – but really, that’s maybe three weeks out of an entire year. The rest of it is just you, in your sweats, hammering out another chapter and then not sleeping for a week because you’re convinced it’s not good enough. Or maybe that’s just me!
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business or becoming a published author?
If you’re really, really passionate about it and you’re prepared to commit 100% to making it work, then go for it. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. I’ve never started a business and being an author is a bit different but with writing, you can’t get into it to make money or get rich and famous because nine out of ten published authors don’t. Your income could be anywhere from nothing to six million pounds (if you’re JK Rowling) so, if you don’t love it, don’t do it.
What’s next for you?
I’ve just finished an e-novella, which publishes at Christmas and I’m working on my next novel, due out in May 2015. I’m also doing quite a bit more journalism lately and working on a couple of other projects. I’m terrible for taking on too much!
What’s your favourite quote?
I read great things all the time and then can never remember anything! There’s a Thomas Jefferson quote I like, ‘If you want something you’ve never had then you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.’ I think that’s important to remember, that you have to be brave sometimes to get what you want.
Lindsey is the author of nine novels and has sold over 1.2 million books in over 22 languages, including the bestselling I Heart series. As well as writing novels, Lindsey has written for many magazines and newspapers including Marie Claire, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, InStyle and The Telegraph. Originally from Doncaster, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York and her latest book, What a Girl Wants, is out now.
Want to hear more inspiring articles and stories like this, including our tips to help you style a career, business- and life- you love? Join our growing tribe here