10 Inspiring lessons I learnt from JK Rowling

Dedicated to my friend Dimitri De Vries.😉

  1. Follow your heart even in the direst of situations. It can never lead you astray. She was on government assistance when she started writing Harry Potter. She could have thought, “Oh this book idea can wait. Let me first make enough money to make ends meet and then I’ll work on this children’s book.” Thank heaves she didn’t do that. She followed her heart.
  2. Dare to tread the road less travelled. Her brand of magic – her particular world of witches and wizards – was offbeat for her time. As was the size of the books she wrote. They were massive while the ones being written at that time were much smaller. But she dared to write those gigantic, unique manuscripts anyway because they made sense to her.
  3. Write, write, write. If you want to excel at something, you do a lot of it. The same goes for writing fiction. Initially you write a lot of rubbish but eventually you’ll start writing good stuff.
  4. Read a lot. It’s essential for a writer. You’ll learn what good writing looks like and what bad writing looks like.
  5. Be obsessed about your passion. Rowling started writing stories when she was very young (7 years old) and she invested numerous hours into writing even while looking after a toddler and working as a teacher. She was obsessed about storytelling which eventually led her to write the Harry Potter series.
  6. Be dogged. It took her seven years to write Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone. But she persisted and got the book written. It was shot down by a number of publishers before it was accepted by a small publisher, Bloomsbury. At every step, she had to be dogged about everything.
  7. Love is the strongest force in the universe. Nothing impresses a vital lesson upon the mind as a well told story. Nothing convinced me of the power of love more than Lilly Potter’s love for her son, Harry’s love for Sirius, and Dobby’s love for Harry.
  8. It doesn’t matter where you start. Rowling’s story is truly rags to riches. When I’m tempted to think how I’ve had it rough, I remind myself of where the author started.
  9. The power of imagination. Growing up in a schooling system that firmly believed in Science and Mathematics meant living in the objective world that could be measured, tested, and proven. But living in Rowling’s world meant that I was privy to pure imagination working its magic. Listening to her Harvard Commencement speech further cemented this in my mind.
  10. Contribute. She worked at Amnesty International in her twenties that impacted her deeply. When she gained popularity and became wealthy, she invested time, money and effort towards humanitarian causes. I’d like to emulate her by supporting causes that matter to me.

If there’s one person that’s almost single-handedly responsible for inspiring me to one day become a fiction author, it’s JK Rowling. She literally was my childhood and it’s hard to imagine growing up without the Harry Potter books. I love those books with all my heart and am so appreciative that they were a part of my life at such a young age. Thank you, JK Rowling. You’re truly an inspiration!

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