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Author J.K. Rowling invented magical worlds in her Harry Potter series, but her life story is also a fantastic tale of a writer who nearly hit bottom before she could change, grow, and achieve billionaire status and stardom. Many of Rowling's fans have heard her accounts of life before the fame and glory, back when J.K. Rowling was Joanne "Jo" Rowling, a divorced single mother who wrote excerpts for her books on napkins while riding public transit. Rowling's phenomenonal rise is a writer's dream, so she often takes questions about how she did it. Recently, a freelance journalist asked what Rowling would say to the 1997 version of herself, meaning that napkin-writing, notoriously broke version of Jo Rowling before the release of the first print of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. Rowling shared some candid insight, writing.
Stop worrying about the rent. Concentrate on your public speaking phobia.
It is always a delight to see how J.K. Rowling engages with her followers on social media. This particular interaction came from Rowling's Twitter where she sometimes fields questions about her career. Rowling may have felt a connection to this question because 1997 is when the Harry Potter series first took off on its journey to worldwide domination. When Rowling first found a publisher, she received a measly advance of £1,500. But not long after, the sales of the books were off to a running start, and by 1998, Warner Brothers had bought the rights to the first two Harry Potter books.
Since then, Rowling has sold more than 400 million copies of the novels, which have been translated into 70 languages, and the Harry Potter movie series is a success that even spawned the _Fantastic Beasts _franchise spinoff. Today, Rowling is the first billionaire author of all time, so it is great to look at her humble roots for inspiration ideas. Plus, it seems like she has implemented strategies to work through her public speaking phobia; after all, she has delivered a TED talk, done talk shows, and over the years she's met for conversations with interviewers like Matt Lauer, Rosie O'Donnell, and Oprah Winfrey.
So, those simple words from J.K. Rowling are concise but full of answers. A struggle for many writers (present company included) is being able to look beyond the daily minutiae to take in the big picture of life. Surely, Rowling was not suggesting that anyone give up on making ends meet; on the contrary, what I took is that she seems to be saying the joys we want can and will appear if we remember to focus on personal growth over acquisitions.
We cannot control everything, but we can control some things. It is important to do a great job when we receive a task, but the greater goal is not the task itself; the goal is self-improvement. We're feeling inspired and hope you are, too!