If you are a lover of fantasy series or an ardent follower of pop culture, chances are you must have come across the name J. K Rowling. The 51 year old is a renowned novelist, screen writer and producer. She is the author of the critically acclaimed and multiple award winning Harry Potter fantasy series.
Before her fame, Rowling have had to overcome her fair share of battles. Born in Yake, England, she grew up surrounded by books and had always wanted to be a writer from an early age. She wrote her first story about a rabbit at six and wrote her first novel at eleven which she always read to her sister. She had an unhappy teenage hood mostly characterised by her mother’s illness and a strained relationship with her father. She left home for the university when she was eighteen, moving to London after her graduation.
In 1990, while on a four hour delayed train trip from Manchester to London, she conceived a fully formed story idea of a young boy attending a school of wizardry which will later become the Harry Potter series, she began writing out the story immediately she got home. That same year, her mother died after ten years of suffering from multiple sclerosis. The death of her mother heavily affected her writing. She channelled her feelings of loss into her writing, by expressing her pain as her lead character’s own.
In 1993, she moved to Porto to teach. She taught at night and wrote during the day. It was during this time Rowlings met and married her husband; Jorge Arantes. Her first child was born a year later, that same year; she separated from her husband amidst rumours of domestic abuse. She moved back to England with her infant daughter and three chapters of what she written down.
Overwhelmed with feelings of failure; caused largely by the burden of providing for her daughter with no job and a failed marriage, Rowlings who was previously diagnosed with clinical depression contemplated suicide to ease herself of her suffering. She picked herself up though, applying for state welfare benefits and channelling her sadness into her writing. After a period of five years, she completed her first book while living on state benefits.
Upon completion, she submitted her manuscript to twelve publishing houses and was rejected by all of them. After several closed doors and rejections, she finally got Bloomsbury children books to publish her book but was advised to get a day job as she had little chance of succeeding. She was also advised to change her name as a book by a female author might not appeal to her target audience of young boys.
Her first novel became a massive success much to everyone’s surprise; six further titles followed in the series each achieving record breaking success. Warner Bros optioned the rights to make the book a film adaptation further fuelling the success of the series.
Rowling have since gone on to publish other bestselling books with amazing reviews, she is also the recipient of several awards and accolades.
What JK Rowling’s life shows is that failure is what you make it. Despite the fact that she faced many set backs, rejections and tragedies, she still kept moving forward, using her experiences as inspiration for what became her success story.
The lesson you can all take from this is if you see failure as the end of the road, then it will truly become the end of your journey, but if you see failure as an opportunity to learn , grow and improve, then your failures will just be a stepping stone to your successes.
For those of you that love videos, we have included a short animation of JK Rowling’s Inspirational journey.