Franz Kafka, the novelist who brought us the incredibly absurd and dark tales like The Metamorphosis and The Trial, proves that everyone can find the time to write. Born in 1883 to a domineering father, Franz Kafka found himself with little time to pursue his true and deepest passions: writing. Despite his circumstances Kafka has left us with some of the most interesting literary contributions the twentieth century has to offer, proving that despite our situations we can all create something beautiful. 

Kafka’s Early Years

Kafka was born to a German speaking, Jewish family in the city of Prague. He and his family was an exceptionally slim minority in the Czech speaking Christian culture which permeated the city. His failure to be accepted by the native social groups in Prague contributed to much of the isolation and distrust which can be found in many of his life’s literary works.

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old

Franz Kafka

Kafka’s father was very imposing on Franz throughout his life seeing him as a weakling and sickly person who did not reflect his own ideals, he wanted his son to work as a doctor or a lawyer in any similar well-paid position that held his Father’s respect. The conflict between the two was something that shadowed Kafka’s early life and permeated through to his adulthood. In his early adulthood Kafka was forced to work in positions which did not reflect his passions, working full-time in the civil courts and then later at an insurance broker he felt unfulfilled. The young man was an avid reader and his true passion was to write, the only trouble was he had very little time to do so due to an extremely strict work schedule, putting long hours in the career his father wanted him to pursue.  

It’s amazing and frightening to think that there are so many people out there with passions and goals that will never be fulfilled. Whether these resisting forces emerge as the domineering father figure which we see in Kafka’s story or indeed as something completely different. People we could have possibly passed in the street with unbelievable talents that will go to waste, this was not Kafka’s destiny though.

Kafka’s Routine 

Kafka’s professional working day started at 8:00am where he would clock in and get to work in the office. He would be working in his office up until 2:30pm when he would end his shift and go home. Straight after work Franz would have a quick lunch and go to sleep at around 3:30pm. Kafka would sleep for 4 hours and wake up at 7:30pm where he would complete a short workout and have dinner with his family. All this would usually go on until late and he would start writing at 11:00pm! He writes: “depending on my strength, inclination, and luck, I’d write until one, two, or three o’clock, once even till six in the morning. Then every imaginable effort to go to sleep,” where he would wake up and do it all over again.  

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.

Franz Kafka

Kafka’s short life came to an end in 1924 at the age of 40. Without praise, without discovery and without ever realising that his works would change the world forever. Franz Kafka never lived to see the critical and popular acclaim that many people have showered his work in. Many attribute Kafka as a pioneer in contemporary existentialism influencing the likes of Albert Camus and many other philosophers of the time. His work although e never lived to see it has become extremely important to the world of literature, so much so that anything that resembles his writings or philosophies is now referred to as Kafkaesque.

Kafka’s Passion       

What this says about Kafka speaks volumes about who he was, it is inconceivable to imagine what would have been possible for him if he had dedicated his life to literature without the distractions put in place by his father. Kafka’s routine is crazy to say the least, with some nights as little as four hours sleep before the working day, it’s not hard to imagine his life could be extremely difficult. What this kind of routine and work ethic says about Franz Kafka is that he was an extremely passionate man. In order to fulfil his purpose and his desires he would go without sleep and make huge sacrifices in his professional life, and to personal well-being, just to make sure he put pen to paper day after day after day.

With that being said how can we ever say we don’t have time to write the truth is we just need to find the passion to overcome each and every hurdle that stands between us and our writing. If Franz Kafka could function on 4 hours sleep and create beautiful novels which have touched millions of people round the globe how can we not manage a single sentence on our days off from work. Writing is all about passion in order to remain disciplined and committed to our work we have to love what we do.

Evil is whatever distracts  

Franz Kafka