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John Grisham Quotes

John Grisham Author

John Grisham quotes: thoughts about success, storytelling, critics, writing, and riches by legendary author John Grisham.

“Writing’s still the most difficult job I’ve ever had – but it’s worth it.”

“I was a lawyer for 10 years – a short time, but it molded me into who I am.  My clients were little people fighting big corporations, so it was a natural thing to not only represent the little guy but also to pull for him.  It’s the American way.”

“You live your life today.  Not tomorrow.  And certainly not yesterday.”

“The worst letters come from retired high school English teachers.  They will literally take a book and pick it to pieces and send me 14 pages of notes.”

“My name became a brand, and I’d love to say that was the plan from the start.  But the only plan was to keep writing books.  And I’ve stuck to that ever since.”

“An outline is crucial.  It saves so much time.  When you write suspense, you have to know where you’re going because you have to drop little hints along the way.  With the outline, I always know where the story is going.  So before I ever write, I prepare an outline of 40 or 50 pages.”

“I didn’t dare think of the future; the past was still happening.”

“Reading is by far the most successful pursuit of happiness.”

“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth.  Each of you is an original.  Each of you has a distinctive voice.  When you find it, your story will be told.  You will be heard.”

“If you’re gonna be stupid you gotta be tough.”

“It’s amazing how lies grow.  You start with a small one that seems easy to cover, then you get boxed in and tell another one.  Then another.  People believe you at first, then they act upon your lies, and you catch yourself wishing you’d simply told the truth.”

“Please give me 50 more years of work and fun, then an instant death when I’m sleeping.”

“I’ve sold too many books to get good reviews anymore.  There’s a lot of jealousy, because reviewers think they can write a good novel or a bestseller and get frustrated when they can’t.  I’ve learned to despise them.”

“One thing you really have to watch as a writer is getting on a soapbox or pulpit about anything.  You don’t want to alienate readers.”

“I always try to tell a good story, one with a compelling plot that will keep the pages turning.  That is my first and primary goal.  Sometimes I can tackle an issue – homelessness, tobacco litigation, insurance fraud, the death penalty – and wrap a good story around it.”

Stephen King reached out to me 25 years ago and taught me some valuable lessons.  In return, I’ve tried to be generous with my time over the years with young writers.  I’ve given them my email and said if you need someone to talk to, I’ve been through it.”

“Ten years from now I plan to be sitting here, looking out over my land.  I hope I’ll be writing books, but if not, I’ll be on my pond fishing with my kids.  I feel like the luckiest guy I know.”

“Live your life the way you want.  You’ll figure it out.”

“The two mistakes that come to mind are people who introduce a flood of characters in the first few pages.  Where the reader has to stop and get out a flow chart and has to figure out who is who.  And you just can’t do that – introduce the first four generations of a character’s family in the first chapter.  You can introduce four or five characters at the most in the first chapter.  Another mistake is to use big words that are not normally used in conversation to try to impress folks with your vocabulary.”

“I earned my first steady paycheck watering rose bushes at a nursery for a dollar an hour.”

“Nobody wants to read about the honest lawyer down the street who does real estate loans and wills.  If you want to sell books, you have to write about the interesting lawyers – the guys who steal all the money and take off.  That’s the fun stuff.”

“After I’d been a lawyer for about five or six years, I started playing around with fiction.”

“There is no devious and dangerous life.  I’ve lived a charmed life, especially in the last 30 years since I’ve started publishing.  I’ve won the lottery.  And I keep winning it every year and I am so fortunate to do something I thoroughly enjoy and still enjoy after a bunch of books.”

“Still, something about writing made me spend large hours of my free time at my desk.”

“I have learned not to read reviews.  Period.  And I hate reviewers.  All of them.  Or at least all but two or three.  Life is much simpler ignoring reviews and the nasty people who write them.  Critics should find meaningful work.”

“It’s a game.  We tax lawyers teach the rich how to play it so they can stay rich… and the IRS keeps changing the rules so we can keep getting rich teaching them.”

“Writing was not a childhood dream of mine.  I do not recall longing to write as a student.  I wasn’t sure how to start.”

You should also read James Patterson’s advice before you leave.

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