J.K. Rowling Talks Rejection After “Potter”
What would you say if I told you J.K. Rowling has had her fair share of rejection? Shockingly enough, it’s true. WHAT?! I’m saying the queen herself gets turned down by publishers? I know! It’s completely unfathomable! I mean, what sort of backwards world is this?
Truth is stranger than fiction, and the truth is, even the most successful and seasoned writers aren’t immune to the bitter sting of rejection. Like the amazing storyteller, writer, and mentor she is, Rowling has shared more writing advice for those of us looking to break into the biz. This is wonderful for me, personally, since many of my fellow MuggleNet writers and I are on this very journey. It’s filled with ups and downs, celebrations and self-doubt, but nothing is as painful as that good ol’ knife in the heart—the rejection letter.
Face it, we all love when Jo gets chatty, and today was no disappointment. While I adore her snarky moments, I also cherish the more serious and uplifting messages she gives us.
Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers before becoming one of the most successful books of all time. Yet the very same writer with the very same talent was rejected again when submitting works under her pen name, Robert Galbraith. One of the letters, though good-spirited, even attempted to give tips and suggestions one might give to a wet-behind-the-ears writer. If that doesn’t show you the amusing irony of the publishing world, I don’t know what does.
JKR’s message is very clear and concise: A rejection from a publisher (or many) is not the end of your career. It does not mean that it’s time to give everything up, and it certainly does not mean you are untalented. Just keep pushing at it until you make it. Use what they give you to improve and strengthen your work but don’t take their opinions as law.
This is fantastic advice that can be applied to any pursuit, whether it be writing, performance art, school, or your job. Life is full of “experts” telling you how to do your dreams “right” (i.e., their way), but in the end it’s all just personal tastes and opinion. As I like to say, failure is not in the rejection of others but in the resignation and abandonment of your dreams. You have not failed until you give up.
The best satisfaction of all is to keep pushing until you make it. Just ask the guy who, unwittingly, rejected J.K. Rowling twice.
Just one more thing to add to the growing list of why we love J.K. Rowling. Has anything else Rowling said helped encourage you in your life? We want to hear about it in the comments below!