William Faulkner has often been cited as one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century.
He was born Sept. 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi.
Wednesday was his 122nd birthday.
His publishing career began in 1919 but he was most prolific in the 1920s and 1930s,
Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel.”
He won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1954 for his book A Fable and again in 1962 for his final novel The Reivers. His 1929 book The Sound and the Fury was named sixth on its list of Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.
He composed multiple other works that appear on similar lists.
Faulkner lived and worked on his family’s country estate in Oxford, Mississippi.
His morning routine included rising early.
He enjoyed eggs and broiled steak for breakfast with a pot of coffee.
He then retired daily to his small writer’s study to labor over his work.
There, he wrote his novels by hand and later typed them out with two fingers on an old Underwood portable typewriter.
He was diligent about his routine and hated distractions and interruptions.
So much so, Faulkner would remove the door handle when he entered his study.
He’d take it with him to his desk in order to prevent unwanted distraction.
This way, no one could interrupt him.
How often do you get distracted from your work?
I am the world’s worst.
A grad school professor of mine once mused, “it seems your apartment is the cleanest when we are counting down the hours to a big exam or a due date on a paper.”
He was right.
For many of us, the minute we sit down to work is the same minute we remember 1,000 other things that “need to be done.”
For me, it’s usually unreasonable excuses like the sudden urge to organize my filing drawer or check my email inbox— again.
Many are distracted by social media.
Defeating these excuses requires action.
Faulkner needed to remove the doorknob.
What is your doorknob?
What keeps you from doing your best work and being productive?
Proverbs 4:25 says, “Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.”
Sometimes “keeping our eyes straight ahead” means removing the door knob completely.
By doing this, we leave ourselves with no excuses and no escape from our work.
What is your doorknob?
What do you need to remove or improve to be the most productive you?
One may look at William Faulkner and say, “How does one win a Nobel Prize, two Pulitzer Prizes and essentially define an entire genre of American literature?”
He removed the doorknob. That’s how.
Imagine what could happen if we all did the same.