his is the story of a woman who did not give up on herself in the face of adversity. Had she given up on herself and her dream, the world would have been deprived of a magical experience known as the Harry Potter series. With a trail of failures behind her, Joanne Rowling’s journey was afloat on perseverance, which ultimately led her to become the first billionaire female author.
The Birth of Her Dream And Subsequent Struggle
It all started on a train ride from Manchester to London in 1990 where Rowling got an idea of a spectacled young wizard boy. With the end of her train journey, thus, began the story of Harry Potter. She immediately started working on the story and invested herself in her writing. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and J. Rowling lost her mother, Anne Rowling in December the same year. The profound loss of losing a parent is reflected in her first book- Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone. The death of her mother shattered her completely and sent her into depression. In order to escape anguish, 9 months after her mother’s death, Rowling left the country and moved to Portugal to teach English.
Life And Marriage in Portugal
She taught at night and began writing in the day. She soon met a Portuguese journalist, Jorge Arantes who shared her interest in Jane Austen. They got married in 1992 and welcomed their baby girl, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes in 1993. However, the marriage was short-lived and they separated after 13 months of marriage. It has been suggested that Rowling was a victim of domestic abuse during her marriage.
Single Parenthood And Depression
In December 1993, with her infant daughter and three chapters of her first book, she moved to Edinburgh to be near her sister. Jobless and divorced with a dependent child, Rowling hit an all-time low. She plummeted into deep despair and was diagnosed with clinical depression. She also contemplated suicide. This engulfing sense of doom, devoid of any happiness later takes the shape of the Dementors (soul-sucking creatures) in her third book.
“I remember 20 years ago not eating so my daughter would eat. I remember nights when there was literally no money.” J. Rowling told The Daily Mail. Now, she had nothing to lose and interestingly, found her failure liberating. This gave her time to work on her book. She started writing in cafes (understandably not ordering any food beyond coffee so that they won’t kick her out) while her daughter slept. She poured herself into the book and finally, in 1995, she was ready with the finished manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone.
The Publication Of Harry Potter
She sent her book to 12 publishing houses and was rejected by every single one of them. She was rejected, not defeated. After an entire year of struggle, her efforts finally bore fruit. Barry Cunnigham, an editor from Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London read the manuscript with his 8-year-old daughter. After the first chapter, the little girl immediately demanded to read the next. This prompted Barry to publish the book. However, he also issued a friendly warning to J. Rowling to get a day job, since she had little chance of making money through a children’s book.
5 months after its initial release, the book won its first of many awards, a Nestle Smarties Book Prize. And like this, JK Rowling went from being jobless to becoming one of the bestselling authors of all time. To face 12 consecutive rejections and still finding the will to seek out yet another publisher is truly inspiring. She believed in her craft. She had a passion and no rejection or failure could take that away from her.
It is right what they say then, that hard work and perseverance is the road to success. Joanne Rowling’s story shows us that no rejection, no failure, no setback can put a full stop to your dreams. In her words- “You control your own life. Your own will is extremely powerful.”