Sometimes when I’m up at 11:30 p.m. I click over to PBS to see who is on Charlie Rose. It’s a mistake to do that because I’m supposed to be in bed at that hour, or at least on the way. About a week ago Charlie’s guest was author Scott Turow talking about his new book Innocent, a sequel to Presumed Innocent, the book that launched a legal-thriller career on the bestseller list.
I enjoyed the interview, and the next thing I knew it was 12:30 p.m. My main takeaway from Turow was that writers never really arrive. The goal is to just keep writing. It’s all practice, as he put it. The lawyer-author said he is still practicing and trying to improve his craft with each new book he writes. And now he’s trying something new—he’s writing a play.
Turow had no idea or expectation that his work would break out the way it did 20-plus years ago. I believe it took him by surprise. He had written four or five unpublished novels that were sitting in a drawer. That was the amount of practice he had when Presumed Innocent circulated and drew the interest of a handful of publishers. The rest is history, as they say. That book gave him the fame and financial independence to continue writing, although he still practices law part-time because he enjoys it.