Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guest Blogger Melanie Milburne

Please welcome the fab Melanie Milburne to the blog. Another Aussie author, Melanie writes for both Presents/Modern and Medical. She joins us today with a very timely and smart blog...


Procrastination and Presents

Hi everyone,

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.

But…

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.

But…

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,
Melanie Milburne

Visit Melanie's website at www.MelanieMilburne.com.au to get more information on these upcoming releases:
Presents:
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
Medicals:
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...

8 comments:

Problem Child said...

Welcome Melanie!

I'm so glad to hear that your characters have minds of their own. I thought I was just a little crazy...

I'm headed off today to finish the Christmas shopping, so y'all play nice with Melanie while I'm gone!

Playground Monitor said...

So... I should... uhm... stop trying to beat my characters into submission?

I'm trying to be more flexible. Honest I am. I wrote something earlier this month and let the characters take the lead and by golly even though it ended up in a different place than I'd plotted, it ended up in a better place.

Welcome to the Playground! Sorry it had to be 30 degrees. Just don't lick the flagpole and you'll be okay. ::grin::

Anonymous said...

enjoyed todays posting...have a fabulous day, everyone.

karenk
kmkuka(at)yahoo(Dot)com

Sherry Werth said...

Hi Melanie and Welcome!
Love the quote. You certainly don't sound like you have a procrastinating bone in your body! I, on the other hand, have fine tuned that skill and am extremely good at it. Just ask my family and friends! :D But you are so correct. I only procrastinate about things that I'm not sure of...such as my writing. But I have big plans for 2010 and at the top is to complete that MS.
Happy Holidays!

PS: Checked out your website. You have a lovely family and the scenery is beautiful!

Smarty Pants said...

Sorry I'm late. Hi Melanie! I love the quote. I've known so many people in my life that had infinite brains and talent and zero ambition to go with it. I'd like to think I'm well balanced enough in all the categories to get somewhere eventually.

Eventually is just not coming soon enough.

Angel said...

I love that quote too, Melanie! That's one of my favorites.

I think PC is right. Procrastinating must not run over into your writing. That's quite an impressive Coming Soon list! Do you consider yourself a fast writer? Are you a plotter or a panster?

I definitely struggle with procrastination, but almost always get things done if I have a firm deadline (that I haven't set). :)

Angel

gigi said...

Hi Melanie,
You seem like you have your act together. Like you I am always punctual. Never late if I can help it. But lately I do find myself taking a bit more time to get somethings done. I call it pushing it back until I am in the mood to do it.
Anywho I really enjoyed reading your post today. It brought a smile to my face.
Merry Christmas!

Melanie Milburne said...

Hi everyone,
Sorry to comment so late but I got an awful bug for three days. Just as well I was well ahead of everything.
Angel, I am a fast writer but I then have to do a lot of editing as a result. But that's just my process. As for the pantser thing-I used to be much more instinctive but after 37 books (working on 38 right now) I have to plan a lot more. It's good though as even with the plan in my head those characters still do what they want at times!
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and thanks Kim for inviting me to post.
Love Mel