HOW THE CREATOR OF HARRY POTTER FOUGHT HOPELESSNESS TO FULFIL HER DREAMS
We all know on some level that success doesn’t come overnight. The people who we see as successful today had to battle it out. They faced financial, social and other difficulties. They stayed on their path when most people would have given up. Eventually, their hard work and determination paid off.
Today J. K. Rowling doesn’t need any introduction. But there was a time when she was one of us. Struggling and battling with the hardships of life. More difficulties than most of us face.
She suffered depression, poverty, repeated failures and domestic abuse. But still, she never gave up. Today her books have sold more than 500 million copies all over the world. They have been translated into 73 languages. And have accrued over $ 20 billion through movie adaptation.
J. K. Rowling is the author responsible for creating the legendary character Harry Potter. Harry Potter, the boy wizard, is an entertainment franchise which includes books, movies, a play, a theme park, and more.
However, success did not come easy to her. She once said, “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.” Rowling had a very difficult childhood. She had a strained relationship with her father and had to deal with the illness of her mother. She was just 15 years old when her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
At 17, she applied to Oxford University but was rejected. This was her very first failure, but she didn’t let it stop her. The passionate Rowling applied at the University of Exeter, to complete her Bachelor's of Arts in French and classics. According to her official biography, she read so much that she clocked up a fine of 50 euros for overdue books at the university library.
After graduation, she took up a job of a secretary and seemingly ended up being the worst secretary ever. In one of the interviews, she mentioned: “All I ever liked about working in offices was being able to type up stories on the computer when no one was looking”.
Four years later, in 1990, during a four-hour delayed train journey from Manchester to London’s Kings Cross station, she was struck with an idea of a wizard school, which she later shaped into the mythical Hogwarts.
Over the next few years, she outlined the plots for seven books in the series. A few months from this, her mother died. It was the most traumatizing day of her life. With all the disappointment, she moved to Porto, in Portugal to teach English. There she married Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes. In July 1993, she had a daughter named Jessica.
But she suffered from domestic abuse which resulted in divorce in November 1993. Now, she was a woman with no major income and a dependent daughter.
Rowling says, “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
There was a time in her life when she visited different cafes and sat down there to write her first novel. She took Jessica with her, who slept in a pram next to her. During this period, she lived off government welfare. This was the time when Rowling felt that she was a failure. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and was suicidal.
But giving up wasn’t an option for her. After five years from coming up with the idea, in 1995, she somehow managed to complete the manuscript of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
12 publishers rejected her. Until, in 1996, Christopher Little, a small literary agent in London gave it the green light. After a year, Christopher Little made a small deal to print 500 copies of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone “with Bloomsbury. There they secured her a 2500 euros advance.
In March 1999, they sold 300,000 copies in the UK. Also, it won many awards, including the Nestle Smarties Book prize. She sold the book to Scholastic, which distributed it for more than $ 100,000. This ultimately evolved into the insanely successful Harry Potter series.
Later, she signed a seven-figure deal with Warner Brothers to adapt the books into movies. The first Harry Potter movie made $974.8 million. Altogether, the 8 movies of the entire series had a box office collection of an unbelievable $ 7.7 billion.
By 2004, Rowling became the first author to become a billionaire through book writing, according to Forbes.
Even after this, she never left writing. Still, she writes with the same dedication and passion. Her books still stand out in the libraries.
So, by now we all know that Rowling had more than her fair share of struggles but she made it big with her faith and hard work. She could have broken, she could have given up. She didn’t. And today the entire world knows her name. She has given so much joy to countless children and has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charity. Truly, she is an inspiration for all of us.