A Writer’s Schedule

photo 1aI was recently asked what my schedule is like for writing.

I can spend an ungodly amount of time sitting in my backyard just thinking about my stories and characters… and sometimes not thinking about anything at all.  And sometimes that’s when the real inspiration comes about.

Over the past year I’ve gotten into somewhat of a rhythm. I’m on track to complete a total of four (maybe five) books this year. That’s a lot of writing and it does take a bit of dedication to the craft to maintain a pace like that. What’s funny, is that even with that many books becoming available, I still get complaints from my readers that the books are coming too damn slow.

Some authors take years to complete one book, while others do a book a month. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. So what does that equate to for time each day actually writing? Typically no more than four hours a day. After that the quality of my work goes down and my back starts to cramp up. So I’m up early, sometimes as early as 4:30 or 5:00 AM. Eventually around 9:00 AM my dog Zoey and I disappear into my office only to appear again somewhere around noon.

photo 2But that’s not the end of my day—only the writing aspect. When you’re a self-publishing author there is an accumulating amount of work to do and that often takes another two to three hours a day. For instance, once a book is written or partially written, it needs to go off to my first round editor—then second round editor, then my developmental editor… all that back and forth is a monumental time suck. It’s worth it, but very involved. Then there’s the formatting aspects of the book itself and the cover art development. I can spend tons of time on cover art – even when it’s done by an outside artists, I still involve myself in the design. After that it’s time for the actual publishing onto amazon, iTunes and the other online publisher sites. Then there’s the promotional aspects and returning emails and, well, you get the picture… It’s a full-time job.

Do I recommend making this a profession? Yes, if you’ve got the wherewithal to make it all come together. I’ve known quite a few people that were excited about becoming a self-published author. Although several have stuck with it, most find it’s so much more difficult than they had thought it would be. Not only do you need to have that self-discipline thing going on, you have to actually enjoy writing—not to mention, be good at it. But you’ll never know unless you give it a try. Even if it’s dedicating an hour a day to the process, that eventually will return results.

1 reply
  1. Mars Dorian
    Mars Dorian says:

    Thanks for the insight of an indie author’s life, Mark.

    I’ve just started this journey myself with my first book, and I can’t wait to extend my portfolio and dive deeper into the world of sci-fi. I’m curious about how you started the Scrapyard Ship series — was military space opera a passion of yours, or did you check out the successful genres on Amazon etc. and then chose to write a story in a market that sells ?


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