I always like to hear other writers speak and feel so fortunate to have heard both Ian Rankin and Rob Brydon at Hay yesterday. Rob was simply hilarious talking about his autobiography ‘Small Man In A Book’ which I’ve already added to my future reading list. But I took most of my inspiration from Ian Rankin who was interviewed by Susan Crompton, Arts Editor of The Telegraph.
When asked ‘Do you treat writing like a job and start religiously at your desk every morning at 9.00am?’ Ian replied, ‘If you give up your job to become a writer why would you want to work office hours?’
He went on to explain that he starts his day in his local café reading a paper and then goes on Twitter and answers emails, etc. Then, when all these displacement activities are out of the way, on a good day, he may start writing before lunch. Some days he starts writing at 2.00pm, other days at 4.00pm and sometimes as late as 7.00pm. So far, he and I are very similar – but then he went on to say that even on days when he doesn’t start until 7.00pm he can easily work until midnight and considers a 5-hour writing day pretty good. He usually aims to complete 5 pages a day and can finish a first draft in about sixty days. He does only essential research for the first draft and then completes more detailed research when he knows exactly what it is he needs to know. I feel I learnt a lot from him.
His next book, due out in the autumn, features Rebus and Siobhan being investigated by his latest creation Malcolm Fox. It’s called ‘Standing In Another Man’s Grave’ and when his publisher baulked at the length of this title he pointed out that it has exactly the same number of characters as ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ – nice one Ian!