John Grisham Daily Routine

John Ray Grisham Jr. (born February 8, 1955) is an American novelist and attorney, best known for his popular legal thrillers.

“The alarm clock would go off at 5, 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.”

John Grisham | Biography, Books and Facts

  • Grisham primarily writes his novels during the winter months on his farm in Oxford, Mississippi. During this period he works five days a week, starting at 7 am and typically ending by 10 am.
  • Grisham writes in a period outbuilding on his property that used to house an antebellum summer kitchen. He and his wife refurbished the kitchen to maintain its period details (with the main exception being that they added electricity and air conditioning). Crucially, as Grisham explains: “[the building has] no phone, faxes, or internet. I don’t want the distraction. I don’t work online. I keep it offline.”
  • Grisham maintains strict rituals for his writing. He starts work on a novel on the same day each year, and starts writing each day at the same time. He works on the same computer. He drinks the same type of coffee out of the same cup. “My office routine rarely varies,” he explains. “It’s pretty structured.”
  • Grisham starts a new novel on January 1st and is usually done with the bulk of the writing by the end of March. He aims to be completely done with the manuscript by July. This leaves a nice half year period to recharge and work on new ideas.

Literary Rainmaker John Grisham - WSJ

On his daily routine:

When he first started writing, Grisham says, he had “these little rituals that were silly and brutal but very important.”

“The alarm clock would go off at 5, 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: to write a page every day. Sometimes that would take 10 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.”

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Back in 2012, mystery writer John Grisham told Allergic Living about how, by keeping meticulous notes, he and his allergist were able to suss out the cause of his skin that felt “on fire” with itchy hives. The culprit turned out to be mammalian meat, from beef and pork to lamb and rabbit.

Today, the prolific writer explains that he’s become an old pro at managing a meat-restricted diet, with the help of his wife, Renée, who also developed the disease from a tick bite.

“With time, you can adjust to anything,” says Grisham. “After so many years of eating a lot of fish and fowl, not to mention vegetables and pastas, we hardly think about the allergy.”

With so many healthy alternatives to beef and pork, “I haven’t missed a meal!” Or so the author says. One can’t help noticing the relish with which Grisham describes his occasional red meat cravings, and the stoic way he pushes past temptation.

“There are moments when I’d love some bacon, ham, ribs, a steak, and a big fat cheeseburger,” he says. “But those moments pass and we order or cook something else delicious.”

The Grishams are long-time residents of the countryside near Charlottesville, Virginia, a beautiful and historic city – that also happens to be a favorite habitat of the Lone Star tick. Anyone who spends time outdoors there is susceptible to the tick’s bite. Alpha-gal allergy was even discovered by University of Virginia allergist-immunologist Thomas Platts-Mills, who developed his own case of the disease after hiking in 2007.

While Grisham hasn’t had a serious reaction in years, he certainly can vividly recall what one felt like. “My last reaction was in Paris about seven years ago after eating rabbit for dinner.” He notes: “It was pretty ugly.”

For Grisham, there’s no mystery to dealing with the vexing alpha-gal allergy. Practice avoidance and stay positive.

“If the wrong tick finds you, don’t despair,” he advises. “Life goes on with a lot of great foods available.”