Monday, December 06, 2021

That one-legged man, that contest, and me

I've been reading with interest the posts concerning focus and the need for it in our game. Or, as is often the case, the lack of it.

The reason the views of my fellow Type M authors resonated even more than usual was that I have become increasingly aware of how busy the next 18 months to two years are going to be for me and the importance of being focussed - if not Ernest - in getting through it.

At the very least, I will have to rekindle some long-dormant organisational skills.

So why am I going to be busier than that fabled one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest, I hear you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

It was recently announced that I have signed a brand new three book deal with my UK publisher, Polygon, for a further three books, which will bring my Rebecca Connolly series to a total of seven (three already out, a fourth next year and then the new deal kicks in). I am both excited and delighted that confidence has been shown in the books and I will do my very best to live up to it.

But that's not the reason for my feeling of extreme dauntedness. Is that a word? Probably not but I'll go with it anyway.

There are various pies in which I have a finger or three and all require the expenditure of time while, of course, I also have to occasionally run a vacuum over the house and wave a duster around.

And let's not forget Mickey the dog and Tom the cat who both require some attention.

But more than all this, there is another project in the offing that will vastly increase my workload. I can't tell you anything about it yet but it's happening. 

Yes, I know I am being mysterious but mystery is my business. I may get that on a t-shirt.

So in order to get around all this I will have to be hyper organised - a feat I have singularly failed to achieve in the past year or so. Frankly, I have been all over the place, organisation-wise, and that has meant some things have been neglected. Mostly that vacuuming and dusting thing but also keeping up with certain friends, and if any of those I have seemed to ignore of late happen to be reading this - albeit unlikely - I heartily apologise.

The thing is, I used to be very organised, at least professionally. Personally I have always been a mess. 

I was the editor of a weekly newspaper for many years. Each week began with a series of blank pages, much like writing a book, while those higher up made it their mission to complicate things by piling more work on me while also reducing staff numbers. I couldn't do that job, with all its attendant pressures, without some kind of focus.

So it looks like I will have to find that old me, wherever he is. What has become an increasingly languid approach to the job of writing will have to change and words will have to fly from keyboard to screen faster than a politician avoiding the truth.

I may...

 - whisper it, for there is shame here - 

... have to actually...

 - gulp - 


Yes, some element of story boarding may be necessary. 

I can hear the Scottish Association of Pantsters preparing to rescind my membership, rip off my epaulettes and drum me from the clubhouse to the beat of the Rogue's March.

The question is - can I organise myself sufficiently to not only plan the story but actually stick to it?

There, as they say, is the rub. Time will tell and I will keep you posted.


Tanya said...

Douglas, thank you so much for making me laugh! Like you, I used to have pretty formidable organizational skills and have been frustrated by their seeming deterioration over the past year. Not sure if I should blame age, the pandemic, or not attach blame at all. Regardless, we all have to keep on plugging to hit those deadlines and I'm sure we'll find a way.

My cats are the best therapy (as are all pets), so I'm sending hugs across the pond to your sweet Mickey and Tom and hoping they can help with comfort and encouragement!

Douglas Skelton said...

Thanks, Tanya. Yes, all we can do is to keep plugging away.

And Mickey and Tom say thank you.

Although the most encouragement they give me is to head to the food cupboard for them.