“I’m usually a night owl, but when I wrote Marley & Me, I forced myself to go to bed early and get up early. I wrote from 5 to 7 a.m. and then ate breakfast and went to work to write my newspaper column. I averaged a chapter a week this way. I began the book in early 2004 and finished the manuscript right after Labor Day. My agent, Laurie Abkemeier, sold it the next month in an auction.”
Harper Collins/Author interview
Let’s do the math at what Grogan accomplished writing two hours everyday for eight months outside his day job; Marley & Me spent weeks at the number 1 slot of New York TImes Best-Seller list, sold more than 5 million books internationally, and the movie version (written by Scott Frank and Don Roos) made $247 million at the box office.
Two things I’ve written extensively about on this blog are the importance of emotions and conflict in screenwriting, and the Marley & Me movie packs in both. It’s worth a revisit.
Note: The above quote was pulled from this 2009 post.
The Breakfast Club for Writers (2.0) Writers Elmore Leonard & John Grisham early in their careers also got up at 5 a.m. to write before their day jobs.