“I seriously doubt I would ever have written the first story had I not been a lawyer. I never dreamed of being a writer. I wrote only after witnessing a trial.”
Reading success stories about struggling authors who’ve gone on to grab the brass ring always gives me a boost. No matter how unlikely their tales are or how different their backgrounds from my own, I still enjoy hearing about their Literary breakthroughs. And it’s always fun to learn how someone stumbled into a writing career.
Here’s a story I just came across about John Grisham. John’s been a busy boy. since he first began writing, He’s penned close to two dozen novels. All told, he has more than 275 million books in print in 40 languages.
Which is all the more amazing, because John’s literary career started off, not with a bang, but a whimper. He didn’t even set out to become a writer: A story found him — and he ran with it. He was working as a lawyer when he heard a case in court that inspired his first book, A Time To Kill. He would get up at 5:00 AM and write before going to work — it took him three years to finish his novel. It was rejected by 28 publishers before a small house printed 5,000 copies. John later said he bought at least 1,000 of them himself.
But here’s the real heart of the matter: The day after he finished his first book, John began another one. Called The Firm, his second story was snapped up by Paramount because of its cinematic appeal. Ultimately, Doubleday published it and won big when it spent almost a year on the New York Times Best-seller list.
I just love the way John barreled ahead with book number two almost before the ink was dry on book number one — and probably before it was even sold. I guess the important thing was that John himself was sold on writing — and on himself as a writer. Even though he didn’t start out to be one, he realized that he had ideas and a flair for spinning a page-turning yarn. And so he just kept on writing, even though there was no assurance that he’d even get a publisher or make any money. Thousands of pages later, he’s still going strong. So let’s take a tip from John and relish the ride. Write on.