Every writer is
different. Each has his or her own way of working, a method for getting words
down on paper. Some are procrastinators, some are methodical, some write in
between juggling a daytime job and caring for a family.
Grisham, Jr. (born February 8, 1955) is an American bestselling writer,
attorney, politician, and activist best known for his popular legal thrillers.
His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.
graduated from Mississippi State University before attending the University of
Mississippi School of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade
and served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to
September 1990. He began writing his first novel, A Time to Kill, in 1984; it
was published in June 1989.
As of 2012, his
books had sold over 275 million copies worldwide. A Galaxy British Book Awards
winner, Grisham is one of only three authors to sell two million copies on a
first printing; the others are Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling.
As a kid he
never thought about being a writer or even a lawyer. His family moved around a
lot when and in every town they went to the big question was how
many books can you take out the library: “backward” towns would allow two, “progressive”
towns would allow six or seven. He read a lot and mother would always read to
them. When he was eleven years old he discovered Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Huckleberry
Finn and the Hardy Boys. He was a big reader until law school killed the
pleasure because there was no time to read.
When he first
started writing, Grisham says, he had "these little rituals that were
silly and brutal but very important.
clock would go off at 5 a.m., and I'd jump in the shower. My office was 5
minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of
coffee, a legal pad and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week."
His goal was to
write a page every day. Sometimes that would take ten minutes, sometimes an
hour; ofttimes he would write for two hours before he had to turn to his job as
a lawyer, which he never especially enjoyed. In the Mississippi Legislature,
there were "enormous amounts of wasted time" that would give him the
opportunity to write.
"So I was
very disciplined about it," he says, then quickly concedes he doesn't have
such discipline now: "I don't have to."
writes in an old building, five minutes from his home. There is no fax, no
internet, and no noise. He turns up there every day arriving at between 6.30
and 7.00., uses same cup for his coffee and everything very structured. He spends four
to five hours writing after which he needs a break because, as he puts it, his
brain is fried. He still has a very rigid schedule but he enjoys it and finds
it fun to do. He has very few interruptions and the room he writes in is very quiet
and very dark – he even covers the windows to make it even darker. He uses an
old word-processor he has used for 14 years, which, he says, is about to give
up the ghost.
He is an
outliner. Typically, he starts with one idea for a story and then outlines
it into forty or so chapters before turning it in to his publisher for review.
Then the rest of the story is fleshed out in subsequent sessions.
regime may seem brutal, but I suppose it’s a test of a writer’s ambition
whether he or she puts in the hours. His books sales are testimony to the fact that hard
work is one of the main factors in whether or not you succeed.
Labels: A Time to Kill, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, lawyer, Mississippi, Mississippi State University, outlining, Tom Clancy