This Writer's Life by Jeffrey Perren
Up before dawn — make tea for me, coffee for the wife. Check emails — marketing tasks, correspondence with beta readers, and miscellaneous.
So far, that doesn’t sound very exciting. But that’s the business side of things. I leave as much of that as I can to my publicist — remembering how blessed I am to have one who loves my work.
Later, write or edit the latest story. Currently, that’s Clonmac’s Bridge, the tale of a maritime archaeologist who discovers a Dark Ages bridge near Ireland’s Clonmacnoise Monastery — and finds it perfectly intact. Soon, it will be a re-telling of the William Tell legend and later a trilogy set in the Age of Discovery.
But whatever the subject matter, the process is similar: research everything you can about the history, technology, and general society and daily lives of the period and people. Then, weave a plot within and around all that — filled with drama, romance, and ideas to enrapture the reader for every single page until the end.
Tall orders, all of them. But that’s what makes the writer’s life a glorious adventure all on its own. Visit places I’ve never been but want to see. Be people I’ve never been but strive to become.
Like life, the effort is three-parts tedium to one-part heart-pounding excitement. And you’re continuously trying to shift the ratio, despite the never-ending resistance of the universe to move it in the undesired direction. Still, you have to try — and try and try again. To give up is to decay, to die a little, on your way to complete dissolution. No profit in that.
It isn’t for everyone, for sure. It’s cerebral and emotionally taxing. It’s isolated and isolating, and it takes far more self-discipline than most people — me included — can manage on a regular basis.
No one orders you to write all day, every day. But if you don’t the page doesn’t get filled. You feel guilty when you slack off, and rightly so. You realize that no one, yourself included, is paying you to not write — neither in coin nor in praise. So, you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and plunge in.
Then, you find you’re enjoying the process so much you wonder why you procrastinated so long.
That’s one writer’s life, anyway. Your mileage will no doubt vary.
Jeffrey Perren wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand.
Educated in philosophy and physics at UCLA and UC Irvine, he lives in Sandpoint, Idaho.
He is also the author of "Cossacks In Paris," an historical war novel set in the Napoleonic era, as well as the romantic travel mystery "Death Is Overrated."
DEATH IS OVERRATED
COSSACKS IN PARIS
CLONMAC’S BRIDGE - GOODREADS
Expected publication: March 22nd 2014