The weather held yesterday, but only just, teetering on the edge of a humidity-fuelled downpour for most of the day, threatening warm rain, which thankfully never came. Not that I would have noticed anyway, trapped in my large open plan office with hundreds of other little workers, busying away on our keyboards.
Actually, this is my “project week”, which means I have no standby or daytime support to provide. This week I get to work on my own projects, at my own pace, and in my own way. The way I tend to plan my days, therefore, is to go into work at a reasonable time, say 9am, then work hard so I am able to leave at 3.30pm sharp. Short and sweet, leaving me to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening.
I worked on BACCARA BURNING when I got home, allowing myself to be absorbed by the story and the characters, allowing myself to be at one with it. There’s no point in fighting against it—it must be written.
On the back of listening to Bissett and Co., I’ve come to a decision. I am (yet again) going to rearrange my GDRs for 2009. I look at it now and I realise that, perhaps seeing the reality for the first time, I cannot achieve all that I have written down because there is simply too much there. I have placed far too many demands on myself, thereby spreading myself too thin and the result has been a slide towards frustration and poor output.
I need to focus much more than I am. I need to do one project at a time. I need to stop trying to do so many things all at once because it’s not working any more and I do not have the time to waste trying to squeeze everything into the time I have made available to write. It’s not what I want out of this. I want quality over quantity.
And so later today I will rearrange my 2009 GDR yet again. Tomorrow I shall make it public. Talk about a year of adaption? Or should that be a ‘learning how I can best work’ curve? I have faith I’m doing the right thing.
Ian read from his impending release, The Complaints, due in the shops in September. It’s an Edinburgh cop novel with a difference, because the main character, Malcolm Fox—who is nothing like Rebus we were assured—works in Lothian and Borders Internal Affairs Unit. In short, he investigates cop corruption.
It’s a nice slant to take and possibly a natural one, the obvious question being would Fox ever investigate Rebus, a man with plenty of skeletons to hide? “Maybe in book three,” said Rankin.
Rankin went on to talk at length about the new book before hitting his fans with a bombshell: “I’m taking a year off.” Heads shook and jaws dropped, but can you really blame the guy after having written at least one best selling novel every year since 1984? He plans to travel far and wide and “escape from writing” for a while so he can “visit the places he’s been to for work, but like a tourist this time.”
Rankin was on great form for the evening; funny, witty, self-deprecating in typical Scottish fashion, and topical, commenting on the farce of the Lockerbie bomber affair. It was a great event and one of his best appearances that I’ve experienced from him at the book festival in recent years.
And of course, listening to how the backdrop of his new book is the financial crisis that affected the country, and focussing it on what happened in Edinburgh back in February, has yet again showed to me the importance of being focussed and driven on achieving one goal at a time.