J.K. Rowling's long road to success from a little girl with a passion for writing fairy tales to a successful professional author was littered with rejections and detours. But she endured and ultimately succeeded by always returning to what she loved most - writing.
Passion at an Early Age
Born Joanne Rowling in Gloucestire, England in 1965, J.K. Rowling was introduced to reading and writing by her mother Anne, who read many, many books to Joanne and her younger sister Dianne. By the time she was five, Joanne could retell every single book almost by heart. She wrote her first story, a fairy tale, when she was just six years old, and narrated it to her younger sister.
Joanne was a shy child. At school, she realized that her favorite subject was the English language and reading. Her classmates remember her as an unsociable and secretive girl, who lived in a world of fantasy and was always writing something in her notebook. But she had several teachers who encouraged her to write and who read her stories out loud to her classmates. Joanne recalls:
The pride I felt at my work read out to other students was a very big deal to me. You never forget the teachers who said to you,
Female Professions WERE Limited, but Times are Changing
Upon entering college, Rowling's parents wanted her to focus her studies on French and then build a career as a bilingual secretary. But according to Rowling's memories, she was doing little school work, preferring instead to read Dickens and Tolkien. Eventually, she did what was necessary to graduate with a diploma of Bachelor of Arts in French and Classics, moved to London, and changed several jobs.
Soon she worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International, but she knew that it did not fit her. Writing remained her true passion. In the years that followed university graduation, Rowling taught English in Portugal, got married, divorced, and became a single parent.
Since the enormous success of the Women's March on January 21, 2017, global awareness of the heartbreaking plight of capable women to attain their goals has increased exponentially. It's finally our turn!
Perseverance and Success!
The idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry "came fully formed" into Rowling's mind while on a four-hour delayed train trip. She immediately wrote down her ideas in the form of an outline. It wasn't until years after she wrote her outline that she was able to finish writing the book.
The next hurdle was getting her book published. At the time (early 1990s), success for women professionals was possible, but definitely not probable. She sent her manuscript to one potential publisher after another, told repeatedly that it wouldn't sell. Finally, the 8-year-old daughter of a potential publisher read the first few chapters and begged to read more. The rest is history.
J.K. Rowling paved the way for a new generation of girls to achieve success!