The Writes of Summer: Self-discipline and necessary distractions

by Jeffrey J. Michaels

One of the harshest realities for me to come to terms with once I was out of the school system was that there was no longer a summer vacation scheduled into my life. “You mean, I have to show up for work…like every day?” I asked my supervisors disbelievingly. Many decades later I am still a bit miffed by this weird fact of life.

It is said that the goal of most of mankind is to be gainfully unemployed. This is why many of us choose to be writers. And for the most part it works for us. Except for that gainfully bit.

We authors seek greater freedom of time and a loosening of constraints of responsibility. Just like summer vacation in school days. But lack of structure and self-discipline soon becomes the downfall of many.

No freedom without self-discipline

It is said that there can be no freedom without self-discipline. Of course the folks that say that are generally referring to a greater governmental philosophy beginning with Ancient Greece. Or maybe the Atlanteans.

Either way, as a writer who desires to be a published author we must be prepared to work every day and eschew freedom of time for the tyranny of self-employment. I wince at my own words because I am not naturally inclined to any form of discipline. In my experience, a creative being is rarely so inclined to act within the bounds of a traditional concept of self-discipline and structure. It is often those with a fair amount of entrepreneurial spirit that succeed over those with pure artistic genius. Please note: This is not a dissing of entrepreneurs. Only an acknowledgement of their skill set being the more successful business model.


The average human can be distractible. In the case of creative beings they are eminently distractible. Having deadlines put in front of them is annoying and may even be paralyzing. Setting of goals is anathema to many. Yet. Without some structuring even the most brilliant writing will lie fallow on a shelf to be tossed out after the would-be brilliant author shuffles off this mortal coil. The genius-level tome falls under the “not to be” category, Shakespearally speaking.

Thus Seshat, the Egyptian Goddess of writers, created editors. Or maybe it was Baalat of Byblos. Personally, I am blessed with a wise and structured partner of the astrological sign of Taurus. She keeps this Gemini grounded (most of the time. With great effort, she adds). But even practical Taureans have their creative moments. Thus when she heard the theme of this month’s blog (Summer, for those who hadn’t noticed) she immediately wrote a set of clever lyrics that, in no way, adapts equally to another specific song about summer, and might just be a little singable if you squint your voice and sing askance of the copyright laws with the understanding that parodic intent is non-prosecutable. There is NO POSSIBLE WAY a snowman would sing these lyrics.

Take a break. Enjoy the moment of summer. And for you in readers in the Antipodal regions, go ahead and bookmark this article. You can ignore it in six months’ time as you will be deep in your own creative endeavors. Just like me.

Letting Go in Summer

The beach. It calls. It’s better than staring at walls.
My skin seeks some sun, after all – It’s Summer!
But I NEED to write! Well, I can work right through the night.
Longer days offer plenty of light – In Summer!

Blank page. Frozen keys. Ah, the scent of the sweet jasmine breeze.
I can choose to do whatever I please – I’m a writer!
There’s always another day. I’ll not lack astute things to say.
I might as well go out and play – I’m a writer!

The walk to the ocean will do me some good.
I’ll gain inspiration…um, I think that I could.

Will fresh air tempt my Muse to come free me?
But out of seclusion…Oh! People might see me.

I’m sure I have shoes in these piles somewhere.
Perhaps real pants would be better to wear?

They say it’s not wise to waste the summer.
But missing my word count will sure be a…

Oh! I’ve got it! My protagonist will be much more relatable if they get distracted and lose sight of their quest and that will help resolve my 2nd act muddle!

Now. Back to work!


Jeffrey J Michaels, Author

Jeffrey J Michaels, Author

Jeffrey J. Michaels is a Gemini. As such he is deeply involved in whatever interests him at the moment. His describes his book A Day at the Beach and Other Brief Diversions as “metaphyictional,” combining fantasy and humor with metaphysical elements. He is currently polishing a sweeping fantasy series of interconnected tales collectively known as The Mystical Histories. It is varied enough that he says he may even finish most of the stories. In his real life he is a well-respected creative and spiritual consultant. He does not like to talk about his award winning horror story.

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