Another Reason Not To Give Up On Your Novel: J.K. Rowling Will Be Really Disappointed

There’s a great novel inside of you, just waiting for the moment to burst out. Not sure about that? Take J.K. Rowling’s word for it.




In a series of tweets ― inspired by one from Beauty Jackson, a podcast host and blogger with a sizable Twitter following ― Rowling encouraged creatives to never give up on their passion projects, even if the odds of success seem insurmountable.

Here’s the original tweet, which Rowling quoted:

HEY! YOU! You’re working on something and you’re thinking “Nobody’s gonna watch, read, listen.” Finish it anyway.

There were so many times in the early 90s when I needed somebody to say this to me. It’s great advice for many reasons. 

In a long thread, she extols the value of finishing work even if it never finds an audience, the lessons learned by persevering in creating art, and the importance of remembering that success is not a true measure of quality.

The discipline involved in finishing a piece of creative work is something on which you can truly pride yourself.

Maybe your third, fourth, fiftieth song/novel/painting will be the one that ‘makes it’, that wins the plaudits…

Maybe your third, fourth, fiftieth song/novel/painting will be the one that ‘makes it’, that wins the plaudits…

… but you’d never have got there without finishing the others (all of which will now be of more interest to your audience.)

Easy for her to say, right? If every struggling author eventually had a smash-hit debut novel that left them multi-millionaires, if not billionaires, then, well, money would probably cease to have much meaning.

It’s been well-documented how winding, and often difficult, a path Rowling took to superstardom ― a single mother who’d worked for Amnesty International and taught English in Portugal, she found herself scraping by to support her daughter in Edinburgh on state benefits while she toiled on her Harry Potter manuscript and trained to teach. After all that hard work, the book was rejected somewhere between “loads” and “12” times by publishers before Bloomsbury took a chance on the magic of Hogwarts.

And, to be clear, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone wasn’t her first novel. She wrote her first book at 6 years old; it was about a rabbit.

The point is, creating stuff ― whole-cloth, out of your brain ― is difficult, and it can be exhausting. It’s especially exhausting when your work isn’t appreciated, after all the thankless hours you invested in it. But if you’re really determined and you believe in yourself, maybe you just need a solid pep talk to carry you through the tough times ― and J.K. Rowling always serves the good stuff.

By Claire Fallon


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