Procrastination and Presents
For those of you who haven’t done your Christmas shopping and sent off your cards, don’t panic-you are not the only one! What is it about this time of year that everything gets left to the last minute?
I am not by nature a procrastinator. I like to be organised, I need to know what I need to do and when and I am always super punctual.
Yes, there is always a but!
People are not always consistent and I am a pertinent example of that. I have never missed a writing deadline but I procrastinate on other things, usually things I am not so good at or find threatening or imagine will be. It’s amazing how overwhelming a task can be once you give it enough room inside your head. If you ruminate enough about it, it will spread to every corner of your brain until it is all you are thinking about.
Christmas shopping is time consuming and I would rather be writing, but this year I have forced myself to set goals so I don’t have that racing heart and panicky feeling the closer the big day gets. So yes, the tree is up, some but not all presents are wrapped and under it, and I am back at my desk.
Yep, another but.
Life is full of left field surprises and the trick is being flexible enough to deal with them when they arrive. I have learned to be more flexible over time. I guess having two very energetic full on boys taught me that over the years. They are adults now, but wow, was I on a huge learning curve while they were growing up!
My characters are another way I have learned to be more flexible. They – like my boys – very often have a mind of their own. They go off on tangents and do things I hadn’t planned for them to do. It’s the weirdest part of the writing process, how these imaginary people somehow morph into real personalities with real desires and wants and needs.
I think a lot of new writers (and I did this too when I was trying to break through) try too hard in crafting their characters into a stereotype or cliché of what they think a hero or heroine should be. My hint is to imagine them as real people, someone you would see on the street or sit next to at a restaurant. Study them: what do they look like? What are they wearing? What mannerisms do they use? What is their back story? Who do they care about? What is their most important goal? What do they have yet to learn?
Some writers use pictures from magazines and I do too occasionally. I once wrote a book on the basis of a picture of a man with blue-green eyes that I had pinned to my blind in front of my computer. His character came to life right there in front of me. Actually, he’s still there smiling that sexy half-smile right now!
Writing is a process and just about every writer has a different way of going about it. Some leave things to the last minute and fret over the deadline, and yet get it done by the skin of their teeth and still manage to write a best seller. Some like to set a daily word count and I have done that too in the past, but some days are diamonds and others are duds. There is no way sometimes of predicting what will get done, but one thing is certain: nothing will get done if you don’t at least try.
I love the following quote and I hope it encourages you all to make 2010 a fulfilling and happy year.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men (women) with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will solve the problems of the human race. ~Calvin Coolidge, US President 1923-29
With best wishes,
Visit Melanie's website at www.MelanieMilburne.com.au to get more information on these upcoming releases:
The Future King's Love Child-USA December 09
The Marcolini Blackmail Marriage-Aust December 09 Christmas Gift Pack
The Venadicci Marriage of Vengeance -Presents Extra USA Feb 2010
Castellano's Mistress of Revenge- UK Feb 2010, Aust March
The Melendez Forgotten Marriage-UK July 09, Aust Aug 09
The Doctor's Rebel Knight-UK January, Aust Feb 2010
The Emergency Doctor and Cinderella- UK April 2010 Aust May
Um, wow. Just wow. That's a lot of books. Melanie's obviously not a procrastinator...