In a series of posts, I’ll share both Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel and what I learn from it, and I’ll show you what the writing life is like for me.
In his March 14 Journal of a Novel entry, John Steinbeck complains about distractions.
I didn’t get much done yesterday and probably won’t today. Outside things are cutting in.
Tell us about it, John.
At this point in his career, Steinbeck was a full-time writer, although that writing included not only novels abut also film scripts as well as short stories, novellas and nonfiction. He did not, however, have a “day job” which many of us writers do. I’m fortunate in that my occupation is in some respects a “writing job.” However, it’s still a job and one that doesn’t leave a lot of time or energy for working on a novel, or even a short story.
I suspect he also did not have to put into marketing and promoting his writing what I and so many of my fellow authors do. I can tell you, he did not have a blog or a Facebook page or a Twitter account. As much as we might like reaching out to and interacting with the readers of our books, it is work. It calls for different skills and even the writing part exercises different muscles. The industry expects us not only to be talented storytellers but also to master the commercial side, and doesn’t make it easy or give us much help with that, either.
We also want to have a life, and that means spending time with and taking care of friends, family, and community.
I tell you, there are simply not enough hours in the day.