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J.K. Rowling’s 10 rules for success

  • Fatima Mahjabin Tasnim
  • 30 June, 2019 12:00 AM
  • Print news
J.K. Rowling’s 10 rules for success

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Writer J.K. Rowling gained worldwide fame after publication of her famous children’s book series ‘Harry Potter’. However, success didn’t come easily to her. Read on to find out her route to success.

1.            Failure helps you discover yourself

It is well known today that 12 publishers had refused to publish ‘Harry Potter’. Writer J.K. Rowling had to face numerous rejections until; finally, her first book was published.

During numerous interviews Rowling has said that, when she was going from one publisher to the next with her manuscript in her hands hoping that her book would get approved by one of them, although it was one of the hardest times of her life, she discovered herself. She adds, “Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

2. Take action on your ideas

Rowling believes that it is crucial to act on your thoughts. Even if you don’t believe anything will happen, you might be surprised. No matter what your qualification is, you should always take action on your ideas because even the smallest things can change your life for the better. She was on a train when the idea of Harry Potter came to her. It was so sudden that she had to note it down and after heading home, she immediately began writing after which she spent the next five years planning her ideas and finishing her books.

3. You will be criticised but you must welcome it

Like everything that gets recognition, while there was massive praise for Harry Potter, there were criticisms as well. Rowling says, although she was thin skinned and lacked confidence in many areas of her life, she had welcomed the criticism about her writing but she had never allowed it to get to her. When she was asked the question, “Do you write for yourself or your writers?” she replied quoting Cyril Connolly’s words: ‘Better to write for yourself and have no public, than write for the public and have no self.’

4. Always keep yourself humble and never forget where you started from

In a documentary Rowling is seen crying while visiting her house, the house where she wrote Harry Potter and where it all started. Despite being the world’s richest writer today, she hasn’t forgotten her past. She believes that if a person remembers their roots, they will always remain humble.

5. Believe in yourself

Even after all those publishers had rejected her work, she had remained persistent and had kept believing in herself because according to her, “We can change the world with our imagination if we choose to believe that we can. We don’t need magic for that. It has always been inside of us.”

6. Start your day as early as you can

Despite being a writer herself and not having strict office hours, Rowling maintains a rigorous routine of waking up early and working all day. When asked about her daily routine on her website, Rowling wrote, “I try to start work before 9am. My writing room is probably my favourite place in the world. The earlier in the day I start, the more productive I am. In the last year or two I’ve put in a couple of all-nighters on the screenplays for Fantastic Beasts, but otherwise I try and keep my writing to the daytime. If I’ve started around nine, I can usually work through to about 3pm before I need more than a short break.”

7. Your life is your own responsibility so you must act as such 

We are dependant on our parents since the moment we’re born. Even after growing up, we seek their advice, among other things. But that doesn’t give us any right to pinpoint our failures in life on our parents. Only when we learn to take responsibilities for our own actions will we be able to aim for success. Rowling says, “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

8. Let your imagination soar

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation.” says Rowling. In several speeches she has mentioned that, she has relied heavily on her imagination while writing. According to her, in order to achieve anything extraordinary, you must be able to imagine and dream.

9. Life is not a checklist of achievements

Some people don’t feel happiness even when they seem to have everything they could ever need in the world while some, even though they have nothing, feel the happiest. J.K. Rowling says, “Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.” She also believes that our life is like a story. “It doesn’t matter how long the story is, the only thing that matters is how good it is”

10.  Allow yourself to do what you love

“I consider myself quite lucky to be able to do what I love. Writing has always been my passion; I have always known that I wanted to write.” says Rowling. You’ll only give your best when you’re doing what you love. Work won’t feel like work and you’ll enjoy it thus, leading to your success.