Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

My Writing Schedule

I recently settled into a new day job. The settling period took about four months as I ramped up on things. During that time, I was writing, but in a haphazard, whenever-I-could-find-time sort of manner. I certainly wasn’t blogging much. About two months ago, that all changed. I started writing more regularly and blogging every day. It helps tremendously that I now work-at-home full-time.

I’ve shown previously that from a statistical perspective writing a novel is pretty easy. The reality, however, is that being creative is a draining experience. There is a limit to how many words a writer can produce per day. Pushing hard for a day or two is fine when a deadline is looming, but it’s not a recipe for long term success. In my opinion, it only leads to burn-out.

What follows is a general look at my daily writing schedule.

Typically I’m up at 5:30, at the computer by 6, and writing by about 6:30. I usually spend that first half hour in front of the computer waking up with my coffee, checking Twitter and reading blogs, and going over various stats (web site stats, for example) from the previous day. I’ll write for about 1-2 hours. Sometimes more but usually by 9 I’m thinking about day job stuff so the writing part of my brain begins to go into shutdown. I’ll sometimes write in the afternoon as part of my lunch break and sometimes at night, especially if I feel I haven’t produced enough that day. Generally, though, nighttime is for writing business such as marketing, following up with an editor or illustrator, writing blog posts such as this one, or spending time with my family.

I've found my creativity goes into the toilet at night. Probably because I'm up so early and after a full day, the energy just isn't there. Basically my brain is done for the day with anything that requires serious thought or creativity. I can handle writing a blog post, but writing a scene for one of my novels? I’ve found I spend far too much time staring at the proverbial blank page. If I’m doing that I’m not being productive, so I tend to spend that time doing other things where I can make progress.

As far as a weekly perspective, I’ll do the above Monday-Friday. Saturday morning is when I write up my weekly writing progress post. Also, I spend some time on blog post planning. Currently, I’ve got posts scheduled out into January and even beyond, so I’m not spending too much time on the planning itself. But I am spending time on producing the posts. I like to have at least a week’s worth of posts written, so I’ll stay with that task until it’s done. The remainder of the morning is spent writing fiction. I’ll go into the afternoon with that depending on the weather (nice weather usually draws me outside) and what other tasks I have waiting for me around the house. On Sundays I don’t publish posts. I’ll work on content as needed, but generally it’s a writing-fiction-only day. I’ll write in the morning for at least a couple of hours then the rest of the day is for other, non-writing things.

Generally, I plan to write every day. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the day job requires my immediate attention. Sometimes other things come up. That’s how it goes. But I’ve made a commitment to blog and produce fiction every day and I’m sticking to it.

I'd be curious to hear about other writer's writing habits. Let me know in the comments below.

It's been a while…

Every once in a while I escape from my blogging cave. The result is that this site goes quiet, the posts stop flowing, post view counts diminish if only slightly, and I hope that at least one of the three readers of this blog wonders if I've escaped for good this time. Not so.

As you can see in this ridiculously difficult to read graph, my blogging always seems to drop off in the summer months.

image

You might attribute this to the usual abundance of Texas sunshine and vacation, which normally is a correct assessment. But in this case my blogging has dropped off because a couple of months ago I got myself a new job. Once again proving the adage, "It's who you know", I landed myself a very nice position with a company that is my previous employer's biggest competitor working under someone I previously worked under there. The offer was simply too good to turn down. One of the perks is that I'm 100% work-at-home now. One would think that'd be great for the writing. Alas, new job for me means new dedication to that job. Only when I feel I've settled in do I typically ease the foot off the accelerator. I think I'm reaching that point now.

Unfortunately what this has also meant is that my writing productivity was put on hold. Writing is fun and fulfills a certain need, but it doesn't pay the bills. It's not my career. I honestly can't say I'd want it to be my career—too much volatility, unreliable income, and forces beyond the writer's control come into play.

In any case, I am getting back to writing and blogging and everything else now. This unplanned break may or may not affect the completion of the second novel in The Alchemancer Series. I'm hoping to get things back on track and I'm still shooting for completion of the novel by early next year. Look for additional updates over the coming months.

5 out of 5 stars for The Five Elements

Continuing down the path of narcissism, I give you another stellar review for The Five Elements, this one from a very nice Goodreads member who won a copy of the novel via a Goodreads giveaway I ran not too long ago.

Here's the review:

I loved this book! Read it through in one night! The characters take you along for quite an adventure! The characters are very believable in some unbelievable situations but they display very real and sometimes raw emotions. Very well written. An exciting plot and subplots which weave a fantastic adventure. If you like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, you will definitely enjoy this book. I personally hope to see more from Scott Marlowe! Well done! – Phoenix Carvelli

I'm stunned she read it through in one night. I'm also stunned—and appreciative—that she seemed to have liked it so much.

Thanks, Phoenix!

5 out of 5 stars for The Five Elements by reader Timmain

5-stars

There's a new review for The Five Elements out on Amazon and Goodreads and it's 5 stars out of 5!

I love getting reviews, even if they aren't always flattering. They're feedback regardless of the number of stars. But it's always nice exhilarating getting a 5 out of 5.

In this one, reader Timmain, who also read and reviewed The Hall of the Wood, said this about her experience:

The Five Elements is an enveloping story that drags you in and doesn't let go. I enjoyed it immensely. The characters come to life and tell their story in a way that shows the authors passion for the subject matter. I myself do not have any background or knowledge of alchemy and yet the story is written such that I had no trouble following along and cheering the heroes on through every step of their journey. Well done Mr. Marlowe.

Thanks, Timmain!

She brings up a good point re the use of alchemy, which I would extend to all of the pseudoscience and steampunk-like devices and machines used in the novel: While I strive for some semblance of believability (in the context of it being fiction, of course), I never at any point let the story get bogged down in technical mumbo-jumbo. My job is to entertain, not teach. It's nice to see I accomplished that.

If you'd like to get your own copy of The Five Elements, you have some options:

  1. If you're a member of Goodreads, you can enter the currently ongoing giveaway and maybe you'll win a print copy.
  2. Buy the print edition on Amazon.
  3. Buy the Kindle edition on Amazon. I'm holding prices at $1.99 until the Goodreads giveaway ends on March 10.

5 out of 5 stars for The Five Elements by reader Terra

The Five Elements 200x300Terra had some very nice things to say about The Five Elements on Amazon.com:

As an epic fantasy adventure, Scott blends magical realism, elemental powers, alchemy and mechanics into a fascinating story.

And,

What I didn't expect is to be sucked into the book to where I was forced to shirk all work, parental, and clean-up responsibilities just so I could find out what happened next in this world Scott Marlowe created!

It's gratifying to have anyone read my work. But to get an excellent review in the process? It's the ultimate form of validation.

Thanks, Terra!