“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
“‘Harry Potter’ gave me back my self-respect. Harry gave me a job to do that
I loved more than anything else.”
J.K. Rowling has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to aspiring writers all over the world, not just because of her incredible success story, but because of the grit and spirit she showed in bringing Harry into the world. It’s hard to believe now, but her first Harry Potter novel was rejected by twelve publishers; publisher thirteen proved to be the lucky charm. And early on, her agent told her, “You’ll never make money writing children’s books.” But J.K. persevered and triumphed. There are scads of inspiring interviews and quotes on line about her writing process. Here are five writing tips from this stellar storyteller that may prove helpful in crafting your own work:
1. Write when you can: Start where you are and write in whatever time you have. As Rowling says, “Sometimes you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there.” How true this is! Most of us don’t have the luxury of huge blocks of time to write in, but we can make progress if we keep at it steadily. It is possible to make your writing dream a reality by finding find pockets of time throughout your day.
2. Planning pays off: Rowling didn’t dive right into her first Harry Potter story and she advises fully imagining the world your characters will live in before you begin. She took five years to imagine and plan out the details of Harry Potter’s world, from its Muggles to its magic. And amazingly, she plotted out all the events in the seven books in her series before she started writing her first book.
3. Rewriting is essential: After spending five years pondering and planning her books, you would think that Rowling could sit down and write her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, from start to finish without much rewriting. But in fact, she rewrote the first chapter 15 times until she felt it worked just the way she wanted it to. She struggled with getting her story right and revised her way to completion.
4. Watch your plotting and pacing: After plotting out all seven books, Rowling encountered a thorny problem: While she knew what happened next at each stage of her story, her readers couldn’t: They needed a sense of excitement and discovery as the plot unfolded. After writing her first book, Rowling realized she given away the whole story of her series — so she had to rewrite it and withhold key plot elements.
5. Write from your passion: “What you write becomes who you are… So make sure you love what you write!” This comment says it all. Rowling loved the world she created and her readers see her pleasure on the page. Write on!