Two things at once…

One of the most annoying things in my life is that I can’t do two things at once! I can’t comfortably do them in tandem either! Which is my way of saying I can’t do one thing in the morning, another in the afternoon and return to the first thing the following day. I’d love to call it an eccentricity but I’m afraid too many other people are built the same way.

I blame it on a lifetime of writing hundreds of television screenplays and a host of books. I had to finish one completely before I started another. I could never write two scripts side by side and I envy (or do I mean resent?!) those who can.

I’m sure there’s a weird and wonderful psychological name for this problem. It’ll no doubt have the word ‘compulsive’ or ‘obsessive’ lurking in it and it’s probably gender specific. Male. The Northern Light (aka my wife) can do several things at once. The other day I heard her promise to be in two places at the same time.  Her logic was that she’d arrive five minutes early for the first appointment and five minutes late for the second and no one would be any the wiser. Aargh!  I have to be half an hour early for everything.

To further illustrate my main point, I should mention that the entire focus of my existence at this moment is writing this blog and to hell with all the other stuff on my daily list. That includes weeding the veg plot, walking the dog and going back to the seventh Nathan Hawk book. There are six of them so far, including the latest White Crane




Back to my monomania, which has a strange curlicue to it!  Once a script or book is finished I forget it, almost terminally. I once famously adapted a Agatha Christie Poirot (Dumb Witness) for television, delivered it to the producer and went on to something else. Five months later the producer rang to say they were going to film Dumb Witness.  I couldn’t remember a thing about it – story, characters, location, to say nothing of the fact that I’d written it. The producer sent me a copy. As I read it, it drifted back and I could’ve sworn we’d filmed it months before and it had been transmitted. It doesn’t help that I rarely watch my own stuff anyway and, believe me, there are so many repeats I could spend every other day watching one of the milestones of my life. Do I need help, do you think? Or shall I just live with it?

So, now this blog is finished I can go back to the new Nathan Hawk Murder Mystery which, I tell you, has taken on a life of its own! First, though, I have to answer a few enquiries about The Occasional Jonas Kemble.

It isn’t a Hawk book, it’s a thrilling ride through a family’s frightening loves and hates. How I’m going to cope with doing two things at once remains to be seen. And then there’s the weeding and the dog…


Douglas Watkinson is an English novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

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