Most of us have a dream. And when we first find it, it seems so easy. Our confidence is high. This dream is achievable. And then after time the vision grows dimmer. The possibilities of actually manifesting our dreams seems less and less likely. And it’s at this point that we need inspiration and fortunately there are many in the world that have had the same experience and still manifested their dreams. So when the chips are down and the goal seems impossible it’s to these real life stories we can turn to, to re inspire us .
As most of you know I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I love the universe, the characters and the magic. However the story behind the book is just as amazing as the books themselves.
J.K Rowling had a vision and a dream which took her through the hardest parts of her life. Over a period of five years the first of the Harry Potter books became her comfort and escape. She didn’t give up on the dream of having the book published and in the end her hard work paid off. A true rags to riches story.
Rowling had a relatively uneventful childhood, she was known as a child that lived in a fantasy world and was always writing in a notebook. She finished her education by graduating Exeter University with a diploma of Bachelor of Arts in French and Classics. She moved to London and worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International, but she knew that it was not for her.
Whilst returning from Manchester on the train, Rowling was inspired by the idea of Harry Potter, the whole story of the first book and the wizarding world. She had no idea where the idea came from. She began writing the book at once.
It was also at this point Rowling’s life began a downward spiral. It started on 30th December 1990 with the death of her mother at the age of 45. The shock of her mother’s death sent Rowling into a depression. 9 months later to escape she moved to Portugal where she met her first husband. Unfortunately after a period in the training assembly Rowlings husband was unable to find work and she supported the family until the birth of her daughter in 1993. However a few months later her husband beat her and drove her and her daughter out of their home.
Rowling retuned to the UK and moved in with her sister in Edinburgh. By the end of 1993, Rowling hit rock bottom and saw herself as a failure. Her short-lived marriage had collapsed, she was unemployed and she was a lone parent and as poor as it was possible to be in Britain. However Rowling can recall these years as both troubled and valuable.
During this period, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. Her illness helped her to invent the characters known as Dementors, dark creatures, introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Even in this troubled period Rowling kept her dream alive.
Rowling decided to rent a small apartment in Edinburgh. As an unemplyed person she had to live off state benefits, 70 pounds per week. Rowling was ashamed of her distressful situation. Every day she went out for a walk with her daughter and wandered through the streets to make her fall asleep. Then, sitting with a cup of coffee at Nicolson’s Cafe, or at the Elephant House, Joanne, continued to work on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In writing she could forget about everything, all those failures and hardships helped her to become stronger, teaching her how to succeed, even when life seemed hopeless.
In 1995, after five years of writing, and the rewriting chapter 1 fifteen times Rowling finally finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Rowling had such faith in her book that she made drawings for the future illustrators. Rowling printed several chapters on an old typewriter, put them in a folder and sent them to some literary agents. After she was looking forward to their responses.
But she received such replies as “It is too difficult for children,” “It is too long”, “Children would not be interested in it.” At this stage, she thought that life was meaningless. Her sister came to help and said “Rowlings never give up!” So they sent some chapters to Christopher Little, the famous literary agent. Who at first rejected the book. But after reconsideration book was sent to 12 publishing companies all of whom rejected the book.
Just as Rowling was beginning to despair in 1996 there was the first light of success. In August the book finally got a green light (and a £1,500 ($2,300) of advance) by Barry Cunningham, an editor from Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London. However although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Rowling was advised by them to find a job since she had a little chance of making money in children’s books. Soon, Rowling got a job as a teacher of French.
However slowly success came in dribs and drabs. In 1997, Rowling received a £8,000 ($12,500) grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing. In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print-run of 1,000 copies. 500 copies of the book were distributed to libraries. When the book was presented Rowling read out the passages from her book only a few people came to listen to the unknown writer. Nevertheless, she felt herself triumphal. At this point there was no indication of the success that was to come.
The readers took to the book and the boom began. Five months later, the book won its first award, a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. In February, the novel, beyond comparison, won the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. Soon, the novel took the Children’s Book Award. In early 1998, Scholastic Inc. during the auction that was held in the United States won the rights to publish the novel won for $105,000.
In October 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two novels for $1.5 million. And JK. Rowling’s success has grown and grown since that day.
J.K Rowling’s story shows dedication to a dream in spite of all the hardships and barriers.She worked hard all the way and kept the vision in mind no matter what. In her own words “I believe you’re working and learning until the day you die”. These three things, holding the vision, learning all the way and working hard will take your dreams to a reality. If JK Rowling could do it, so can you.
So no matter how hard things are allow your dreams to be your guiding light and keep working on them. And remember as Rowling says that ” Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
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