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J.K. Rowling on Becoming an Author

j-k-rowlingHave you ever failed at a job interview? Or failed to get promoted? Well, according to J.K. Rowling, sometimes failure can be the making of you.

Although she started out with very humble beginnings, J.K. Rowling is now one of the most successful and recognised women in the UK. And her struggle to achieve her dream job, of being a children’s author, shows just what individuals can do if (in the words of Marty McFly) they put their mind to it.

In 1997 J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published and received immediate attention. Centred on the adventures of a young wizard named Harry Potter, the story went on to capture millions of imaginations across the world. The seven books, which eventually made it into film, are now worth an estimated £7billion.

But becoming a best-selling author doesn’t happen overnight. In her own words, during a TED speech at Harvard University, J.K. Rowling mentioned her own struggles with work. With no career advice, Rowling spent time writing the Harry Potter books when she was an unemployed single mum. She had lost her job and went through a divorce and admits she was the ‘biggest failure’.

But now, with a multi-million pound empire behind her, Rowling sees her failing as liberating and, in some cases, essential. During her speech at Harvard University she said:

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else I might never have found the determination to succeed in the arena where I felt I really belonged. I was set free.”

Although failure is never pretty, Rowling’s story shows that time and dedication spent on pursuing your dream job can really pay off.

Persistence, dedication and daring to dream enabled Rowling to become one of the world’s most well-known authors. So if you’ve ever failed at a job interview or been fired from a job you weren’t that happy in, perhaps this ‘failure’ isn’t so bad after all.