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The Dreaded Summer

Summer break is looming, and by looming I mean hanging over my head like a damn dark cloud. I have ten days left of peace. The days are spread out over the next three weeks, and I’m dreading summer. Not because I’m the asshole parent who doesn’t like spending time with my kids. I do, for the most part, but summer brings zero set writing time. I’m not really sure how I wrote so much in the past with little people always under foot, but now it’s fucking had. It’s always “Dad I need…” Every five minutes. And my six year old talks twenty-six hours a day. Honestly, the kid even talks in his sleep.

I need to find my balance and a good way to write through the summer to meet my deadlines. Did I mention I contracted four more books for the end of this year and next year? A writing groove is hard to find, but once I’m in it I can write pretty fast. There are months I’ve written over 100K, and some where 10K is a struggle. I’ve never had writers block, so to speak, more like my muse is a faucet, at times it’s all the way open, pouring so fast my fingers can barely keep up while at other times it runs at a drip.

I need to find a better way to keep the faucet wide open. (I guttered that statement as soon as I wrote it. I hope you did too.)

The truth is, every author is busy, we all have lives, and distractions. Some of us strive for five hundred words a day, while others do five or ten thousand. Sometimes I crave the time before the internet. I wish I could send myself back to a time without distractions for only a few hours. But as I saw this I am probably sitting here reading an article on things I already know, pressing on click bait from Facebook, or scanning tumblr, which I tend to do as a go to when ever I need something to do with my hands. There are times I even ask myself why I’m opening an app I just closed minutes ago. I used to sit for hours, before wifi, before smart phones, and write for hours. But now it seems I’ve trained my brain to need to check my phone constantly when I have a computer already open.

I can put my phone down for hours with my kids, or when I’m out with friends and not think twice about it. So why when I’m writing does the internet call my name so sweetly? Maybe it’s because I used to have to try and fit in as many words as possible at night, or when I could find an hour alone. Maybe I have too much time to get things done and it has put me in a false sense of security, so I squander it all.

I have four trips already planned for the summer, looming deadlines, blogs I want to write, and kids threatening to eat away at my writing time, so I need to pack in words in less time than ever. Minutes need to mean something. So I’ve come to the conclusion I need to find a new writing spot. One without the internet, and I need to leave the phone in the car, or at home. Out of reach. I need to retrain myself to do this thing, my job.

But it’s not only about getting words out for fans, it’s also about me. I started putting words down to get them out of my head. Writing gives me calm, it lets me get out of my mind for hours at a time, it lets me spend time in the minds of new people, and it lets me explore places. When I pick up my phone every five minutes the illusion is shattered. I don’t get lost in words nearly as much as I used to, and I miss it.

So I have a new goal: Write distraction free. Wish me luck.


When not staying up all night writing, J.R. Gray can be found at the gym where it’s half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave. Although the idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns.

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