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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Feb 2, 2023

Mark interviews Malcolm Coon about his plans for overcoming the "back-burner" state of his writing projects, why he doesn't plan on giving up should his writing income ever get to "that" level, his goal of completing a short story every month this year, and more.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a brief personal update inside of the word about this episode's sponsor segment.

You can learn more about how you can get your audiobooks distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In their conversation, Mark and Malcolm talk about:

  • Malcolm's full time work in tech while simultaneously having wanted to write since 1997
  • A falling out Malcolm had with a partner in his tech business and how that led to working on a tech thriller that he worked on, but abandoned after about a month
  • His long-time love of reading fantasy, which led to deciding to write fantasy
  • Getting serious about his writing in about 2011, discovering various writing podcasts, and realizing that this was something he could do
  • How the writing would regularly go on hold because of the fluctuations of the work-life
  • Changing his tact a little and deciding to write a short story every month in order to create a story collection that would act like a prelude to the unfinished trilogy he'd been working on
  • The challenge of being an entrepreneur in tech while also balancing being an authorpreneur
  • The strategy of doing the writing first thing early in the morning for about thirty minutes BEFORE opening the email browser, which usually leads to getting sucked into work for the entire day
  • Attempting to do a little bit, no matter how small, every day, because once he misses a day it's easy to miss a second day
  • How the process of just trying to cram a large word count out with inserted notes about research to do for later insertion can often lead to a section of bad writing with additional work to do on it
  • The way his current writing are based upon a world that Malcolm and his brother created when they were teenagers playing Dungeons & Dragons
  • The parable storybook Malcolm created called The Greatest Writer in the World (in the style of "The Greatest Salesman in the World) that he published to Amazon, but then took down after a year upon realizing he hadn't invested the proper time in polishing and editing it
  • Malcolm's goal of ultimately wanting to make a living of his writing, but to never give up the entrepreneurial tech business work that he loves
  • Becoming less concerned with words per minute than with creating quality
  • How Malcolm has found it far more difficult to manage himself in the writing roadmap plan compared to the way he very effectively manages developers for his entrepreneurial work
  • The idea of that breakthrough moment of what it will take to get over that hurdle of getting the books done and published
  • The importance of figuring out what works for us as writers, which is always going to be unique
  • How the 25 words a day goal can be like a "just one more potato chip" methodology
  • Malcolm's overall plan for getting this writing project back on track
  • Mark's threat of holding Malcolm accountable for his stated goals by having him return to the podcast to share an update

After the interview, Mark reflects on false starts in writing, the importance of reasonable goals, and adapting the advice offered into one's own unique circumstances and preferences.

Links of Interest:



Malcolm Coon is an author who works in tech full time as an entrepreneur. He doesn't yet have a website, and Malcolm will be returning to future episodes.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0