October 2, 2019

My Writing Process

By Tracy Richardson, author of The Field

I was never one of those people who started writing stories at age 7 and always knew they wanted to be a writer. I am, however, constantly writing things down and am a generally creative person. I have spiral notebooks for different projects to keep myself organized and make lots of lists – shopping lists, lists of creative projects, lists of people, ideas, you name it! I consider myself a ‘maker’ and somewhat of a fiber artist. I knit, sew, refinish furniture, paint and love to create in the kitchen. I just signed up for classes to learn wet felting – a textile art method – and photography.

My vivid imagination helps me to create the stories in my books. I’ll get an idea for a novel and then start writing down thoughts, plot elements, characters, and settings in one of my notebooks.  Each book has its own notebook and everything relating to the book goes into the notebook. Once I have enough ideas to flesh out an outline I move to the computer. I always start with an outline to keep myself organized, but it usually changes as the book progresses. I have a few people that I bounce plot ideas o of, and I do a lot of brainstorming, letting the ideas simmer in my subconscious. I think of my novels in terms of scenes in a movie, with each chapter representing a scene, and that’s how I begin the outline. I usually have some concept of the beginning and end. The progression of the plot unfolds as I work on the book. I never know what my characters will do or how they will direct the action. I don’t really experience writer’s block per se. If I’m not sure of the direction the plot is going or what happens next, I’ll just move to another section, focus on research for a while and come at it from another angle, work on another creative project or go for a walk in the woods.

Other aspiring authors often tell me they want to write a book and ask how they should go about it. There’s a saying among authors – BIC – Butt in Chair. In order to write a book, you must sit down and ‘Just Do It’ as the saying goes. I’m pretty task and goal oriented and try to be very organized with my time, but it’s still not always easy to find time to write. When I’m writing I usually write on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at a tea shop near my home. I don’t like coffee shops as they make my hair smell like coffee – ick!! I’ll write for 2-4 hours. That’s about all I can do at one stretch. I find it helps to get away from the house. I’ve been so in the ‘zone’ writing there that on more than one occasion I’ve looked up and all the other customers are gone, the chairs are up on the tables, the music is off, and the staff is sweeping the floor. They’re nice enough to let me stay until the last minutes.

Writing is a discipline. The first thing you write is never the last thing. You will come back and revise. It’s always easier to revise what you’ve already written then to put the first words on the page. The important thing is to begin and stick with it! 

Tracy Richardson wasn't always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. In a weird way her life reflects the book through odd synchronicities. She has a degree in Biology like Mrs. Murry and without realizing it she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg's parents. (Really, it was not intentional, because that would be weird)! Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environment issues and metaphysics. Growing up, Tracy's younger brothers called her 'sarge' and once when she took a personality test for a job, the evaluator said she could give a Drill Sargent a run for his money. If you need someone to boss your around, Tracy's your gal! Tracy lives in Indianapolis. Visit her webpage at

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