Countdown to a New Year, December 26: J.R. Gray
From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!
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This year was hard. I feel like I’m overreacting when I say it was, because I know there are so many people who experienced far worse. I’m usually the suffer in silence type, and I don’t like to talk about my feelings.
Writing for me had always been easy, until it wasn’t. I’ve written since I was a child, as a therapy for myself. It was a way to get my emotions out. Throughout the years I have put different parts of myself into each character I’ve written. It has been wonderful. Then shit got crappy last year. I was living in a place I wasn’t a huge fan of and I had so much hope for the election but it all went to hell. There was a lot of false hope throughout this past year as well. Ups followed by huge downs, including my basic rights threatened. I didn’t know how to get through it. This wasn’t my typical write through feelings I’m experiencing on a personal level. These were feelings I had on a global level. It was fear for the future.
On top of being depressed, and dealing with stresses from my life, (normal stuff with kids and family most people deal with) I was completely uninspired. It was a task to get through my day. I had nothing left to create. Every time I got online it was opening the valve and letting what was going on in the world, things I care deeply about, affect me more. I called, and fought and reblogged, so my voice would get heard, but the stress of worrying what could happen if some of those things got passed was exhausting and it added to my depression and lack of creativity.
I’ve also always suffered with imposters syndrome, which got bad this past year. I had a lot of talks with myself about why I’m still doing this, and I thought a lot about quitting. It’s a lot of work for not a lot of pay, and when I wrote as a kind of therapy why not publish it and share it? But if I had to force myself to sit down and do this writing thing again, was it worth it? I went back and forth on this a lot. I missed it at times. I missed creating, but I still had nothing to create.
So for NaNo this year I knew I had to decide if I could still do this. I didn’t tell anyone that was my plan, but I wanted to see for myself. Since I’ve done double NaNo in the past, 100,000 words in a month, 50,000 words was doable. So I picked a book that was so close to my heart. One I’ve been needing to write for a long time, that I thought might help me get through a lot of the things I’ve been feeling.
I’ve discovered the more I create, the more creative I feel. The more I’m writing, the more ideas I have. The more new plot bunnies I have. It was hard to get back into the groove of writing. I had lost all of my stamina for it. It was a drag to get 500 words out. Let alone the 2k-5k I used to do every single day. I’m still not there, but because of this epic writing group I have, it’s getting a lot better. I have been holding myself accountable and using Pacemaker to keep track. It’s a work in progress and I’m a work in progress. But I love what I do and I want to keep putting out books I need and needed. I have plans for Queer YA. I’m on track to have four books out in 2018 and it feels good to be out of my funk.
When not staying up all night writing, J.R Gray can be found basking in the warm glow of the Miami sun, or at the gym where it’s half assumed Gray is a permanent resident. A dominant, pilot, and sword fighting enthusiast, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. Gray frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns, to jot down nonsense. The bane of Gray’s existence are commas, and 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 build up of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave or possibly a mental institution where the tales would end up on the walls in crayon and finger paint.
J.R. Gray is Gender Queer and prefers He/Him/His pronouns.
Forsaken is J.R. Gray’s next book which will release at the end of February 2018.
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Child of a Mad God by R.A. Salvatore
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