April 30, 2020

Who I Am (Part 1)

Melissa Bourbon     

Over the years, I’ve sometimes wondered how I kept my head afloat on any given day. My husband has always had an intense job with long hours. I have been writing since 1994, or so, but my first book wasn’t published until 2008. I’ve also have taught middle school English for years and years. And I’m a mom, which, as so many of you know, is a full-time job all by itself.

My mother is always telling me to slow down, relax, don’t take on so much, etc. But I think it’s in my nature to keep busy. As Lucille Ball said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

I’m that busy person.

I rarely have time to waste, so I multitask expertly. TV time with the kids—or for myself with one of the awesome Netflix or Amazon original series? I’m also updating my website, or editing—my own work, or a freelance job, or helping my son with schoolwork, or brushing the dogs, or brainstorming for an article or new book. Or, of course, folding clothes. There are always clothes to fold.

I’m a mother of five, ages 17-27, so my days of a PTA volunteer and band mom are over. I’ve also recently stopped teaching and am now writing full time. It’s a luxury I didn’t think I’d get to have. It’s ended up being a be careful what you wish for thing. I’ve realized that I work better under pressure. After teaching all day, then coming home and doing all the mom things, I used to sit down and write my books. I did that for years and years. Now that I’m able to write full time, I find that I miss that pressure. Miss might not be the right word. Thrive. I thrive under pressure.

It’s taken some time, but I’ve finally figured out how to impose my own deadlines, make sure I’m in my office working during certain hours, and that I meet my daily word count goals. I’ve also learned that I need to separate my home space from my workspace. I’ve found that this is so important for my sanity.

My kids and husband have asked me why I don’t just sit back and relax? I think the answer really defines who I am, as a person and as a writer. I’m proactive. I’m a doer. If I see a need, I jump in. If I want something, I figure out how to get it. There’s a quote I like, author unknown: Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.

Just to clarify, I don’t see success as something finite or concrete. I already feel successful. I have set my mind to accomplish certain things, I’ve worked hard, and I’ve reached those goals.

I wanted to write. So I did. Every Monday night when my youngest was but a few weeks old, I went to a coffee shop with a friend and wrote. 

(See Part 2 May 1, 2020)

Melissa Bourbon Ramirez is the national bestselling author of more than twenty mystery books.

She is a former middle school English teacher who gave up the classroom in order to live in her imagination full time. Melissa, a California native who has lived in Texas and Colorado, now calls the southeast home. She hikes, practices yoga, cooks, and is slowly but surely discovering all the great restaurants in the Carolinas. Since four of her five amazing kids are living their lives, scattered throughout the country, her dogs, Bean, the pug, Dobby, the chug, and Jasper, a cattle dog/lab keep her company while she writes. Melissa lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and their youngest son. She is beyond fortunate to be living the life of her dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Melissa for this insightful post about prioritizing, multitasking and moving forward with our goals.

    As writers, this is something we all have experience with and hopefully are in the process of honing each day.