Grisham: The Lawyer/Author

Because I was unable to attend How I Write I found an interesting interview with a writer that I absolutely love, John Grisham.  There were quite a few things that resonated with me from this interview but I really liked how there were “Key to Success” references made throughout the interview.  Those references were instrumental in helping me coalesce his ideas.  The keys to success Grisham discussed were vision, The American Dream, perseverance, passion, integrity, and preparation. Although all of the Keys to Success were relevant, I think The American Dream and preparation were the salient themes in the interview.  They are the two themes Grisham brought out that I think will help me most as a writer going forward.

First of all, what is the American Dream?  If a family lives in a house as shown below with a couple kids and a dog, does that mean they are living the American Dream and that they are happy?



According to Grisham the American Dream is “for one generation to keep building the dream for later generations.” I am inclined to agree with that statement more than the popular definition associated with the American Dream.   Grisham’s definition doesn’t suggest in any way that the American Dream means one has to have a home as pictured above.  In my opinion, his statement suggests that the American Dream is about having aspirations and bringing those aspirations into fruition for your sake and for the sake of future generations.

My two greatest dreams in life are to be a great writer and to develop my interpersonal skills.  I am developing my interpersonal skills and writing skills everyday in school, therefore, I am living the American Dream right now right? I think I am, but can the popular definition of the American Dream apply to me if I don’t own a home or have kids?    This idea of the American Dream relates to my writing because by developing the skills necessary to make my dreams come true I will be a better person and a better role model.  Making my dreams come true will allow me to make a profound impact on people’s lives and help people express themselves in a more cohesive and intellectual manner.  One of my main goals in life is to help myself so that I can help others in the future, and I think that is a characteristic of what Grisham and I think the American Dream is.


In order to make my dreams come true I need to prepare. So how do I prepare to be a good writer?  I think for now, the answer is that I need to read, not just for school, but for pleasure as well.  Why can’t this be me on the beach reading?


Reading can be relaxing, fun, educational, and it can develop your writing skills all at the same time. Grisham suggests that:

“It is terribly important to read extensively. Virtually all writers I know are voracious readers still, and that is preparation.”

Grisham was a lawyer and an author and I think that is quite an impressive feat. Does maintaining a legal career and writing career spark enough curiosity for you to look at this interview in its entirety?  I encourage my audience to take the time to read and listen to the entire interview.  Grisham is one someone who I look up to as a writer, and one day I hope to one day be able to emulate the aesthetic tone he writes in. First, I will complete all the books he has written.  After all, there is no better way to prepare to be a writer than to read.


P.S. If you have time, read this book if you haven’t already done so!  Honestly, this reads like a whirlwind.  It is a great example of how I aspire to write in the future.  I literally couldn’t put this book down towards the end until I finished.

2 thoughts to “Grisham: The Lawyer/Author”

  1. The concept of the American Dream is something that has always intrigued me as well because it is thrown around so frequently, but everyone seems to have a different perspective on the meaning. Honestly, when I hear this phrase, I think of the process of upward social mobility in this country. It seems to me that with hard work and determination, almost anything can be achieved in this country due to our extensive freedoms. This is not always the case in countries with more oppressive governments, and is unquestionably the reason that such a wide variety of individuals immigrate to this great nation.

    I thought that your point about honing your current skills for future success was especially profound. The idea that we spend so much time and money and effort in college can become overwhelming when analyzed with a narrow lens, and could lead to questions of whether or not this is all actually worth it. Yet, when I widen my lens and realize that I am gaining both academic and personal skills which will hopefully one day allow me to achieve happiness and success.

    I was wondering if you think that you need to read more of everything or if there are specific genres which will be most beneficial in your future? I agree that reading is an amazing way to broaden your vocabulary and knowledge in general, but your point made me wonder how reading for pleasure related to your above point of achieving the American Dream. Is it because this will make you happier? Or gain more skills? Or both?

  2. I’ve been thinking about the American Dream recently. One of my favorite singers, Marina and the Diamonds is British and has a song called “Hollywood,” where she talks about the American dream; I love her music but this my least favorite songs of hers. She presents Hollywood and money as the American Dream. Even if this is a criticism on what a mess America has become, I think you’re right, at its heart the American dream is about fulfilling yourself and your dreams through your own merit and morals. As for writing and the American dream and writing as your American dream, I think we often think about how writers contribute to the American Dream, shape the American Dream, and criticize the American Dream but we don’t think as often about how writing can be an American Dream or how learning can be the American Dream.

    As for your comments about reading and preparation, I read incredibly often but a great deal of its for school and a great deal of its not the kind of quality stuff I’d like to imitate. I think it’s important not just to read but to read as a writer, to go beyond the story and the narrative and the characters and see the constructs. It’s most important to ask questions, not only why a writer is making certain decisions about presentation (why this perspective, why this time jump, why this tone) but how they’re constructing characters, setting, and plot.

    By the way, I haven’t read The Firm but I’ll definitely check it out now!

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