Scott Hawkins’ Unbelievable Writing Schedule for The Library at Mount Char

Scott Hawkins, the author of the excellent The Library at Mount Char answered a question over at Goodreads about his writing schedule.

Since I’ve been spending my weekdays getting up at 5:00 to write recently (thanks, #5amWritersclub!) I found this very interesting and motivating.

It reflects well my own thoughts about writing a book as a mid-life crisis thing and actually treating it like a job and not a hobby.

This particular book took about fifteen months from start to finish, though there were maybe three months in there when I really didn’t do much.

In general, I try for two hours a day during the week, and maybe 3-4 hours a day on weekends. At the time I wrote Mount Char, I was getting up really early–like 3:00-4:00 a.m. most days. The bulk of the book was written between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. That sort of helped, I think–the rationale was that “if you’re going to get up this bloody early, you better @^T$ing work.”

These days I’m sleeping later and working in the evenings–6:00 to 8:00 p.m.. There is sort of a ritual. I brew a cup of really strong coffee, close out all my browser windows, and have at it. I usually get around 1200 words in those two hours, though of course some days it’s 2000 and some days it’s 500.

When I first got serious about writing every day, I’ll admit it was kind of a grind. After a while it got to be just part of my day. Now I genuinely look forward to it–I code during the day, so all the gore and one-liners in the evening are a nice break.

I’ll be honest, though–it’s a lot easier to sit down at the keyboard every day knowing that there’s a reasonable chance the book will sell. Writing Mount Char was kind of a mid-life crisis sort of thing. I’d written four books before that. None of them sold, so my hopes weren’t real high. There was some “you’re not getting any younger” in there. But the fact that I suspected no one but me would ever read it probably helped, in a weird way–I’m not sure I’d have gone quite so nuts if I seriously thought anyone would ever read it.


Anyway, thanks for reading! And tell your U.S. buddy I said hi.



The Library at Mount Char


As regards getting up at 5:00 to write; at first I thought it was crazy. I didn’t even really think the people at Twitter’s #5amWritersClub really were getting up at 5:00, it just seemed so outrageous. But then I tried it and it has completely changed my writing.

I can’t stress enough how much this has done, once you embrace the crazy idea of getting up at 5:00, and I owe the community a lot, especially Jon Paradise, who got me into it.

It is amazing. It has increased my output tenfold. I can’t recommend it enough, or Library at Mount Char, which is an amazing piece of genre fiction. Kids raised as gods in a strange house go nuts when their “Father” disappears.


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