John Steinbeck’s Journal

For those of you who enjoyed my blog post, I “Wish” No More, about my childhood, self-inflicted intimation of the writing skills of Steinback.

Excerpt from John Steinbeck’s journals while he was working on Grapes of Wrath.

March 21

My many weaknesses are starting to show their heads. I simply must get this thing out of my system. I’m not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people. I wish I were. This success will ruin me as sure as hell. It probably won’t last, and that will be all right. I’ll try to go on with work now. Just a stint every day does it. I keep forgetting.

Always I have been weak. Vacillating and miserable. I wish I wouldn’t. I wish I weren’t. I’m so lazy, so damned lazy. This year though I have made up for last year’s lay off. I really have batted out a lot of words. I would go through until winter if I could. But if I don’t lay off it will be done, and if I do lay off I’ll lose the thread. I am simply incapable of working any way but hard and fast. That is the only way I can make it. This is too bad. It is almost impossible in fact but I must get calm and quieted before I can go on. I mean that streak yesterday was curiously indecent. I don’t know why but it was. So many things. How impossible it is for me to think. Just writing words, but the thing is starting in my brain. I must get the tempo. — via Heron Dance Studio

He used the word “wish” three times! Steinbeck considered himself to be a failure as a writer, and lazy, so he forced himself to write. The results of that process, of trying to compensate for what he thought of as a lack of talent and discipline, were some truly great novels.

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