It’s been said that Vonnegut wrote some of his greatest works while being employed full-time and having a houseful of seven children (three of his own, four adopted) waiting for him in the evening.
Vonnegut was a writer whose genius has rarely been surpassed, so perhaps even that distraction was inconsequential. With his skills as a writer, he was able to transgress workday fatigue and a busy homestead to produce some of the finest works of American literature.
As for me and my lack of genius, my writing process slows during the school year. After a long day of dealing with squabbling teenagers, I arrive back to my relatively quiet abode, I sit in my usual seat at the dining room table (which is, of course, for writing, not dining), light a candle, and I face a particular white wall with my freshly brewed dark roasted coffee. Once situated, I open the document and stare at the words, which all seem to blend together into a mishmash of confusion. Where was I exactly? Where was I taking this particular conversation? Where did I want to take the story from here?
"No more thinking," my mind begs. "Shut off your brain. Lay on the couch. Crack an ice cold beer. You deserve it after such a long day."
My mind makes a convincing argument. Sometimes, it takes the more rational part of my mind to conduct a takeover of the lazy side to overcome that master of convincingly crafted excuses.
So, I trudge forward and I write anyway. I edit. I know that I don’t write as well when my brain is tired (which is most of the time during the school year), but the important thing is getting the words (or the red ink) onto the page.
How Vonnegut or some of these other writers were able to do it, balancing their writing with other full-time careers and responsibilities, is a skill I am still working on. I can only hope it is a skill that can be learned.