At the end of this month, J. K. Rowling turns 50.
To celebrate, we’re planning a series of posts leading up to the internationally renowned author’s birthday.
Today we share her advice for writers.
Read a lot
“I always advise children who ask me for tips on being a writer to read as much as they possibly can. Jane Austen gave a young friend the same advice, so I’m in good company there.”
Planning is important
“During the first five years that I was writing the series, I made plans and wrote small pieces of all the books. I concentrate on one book at a time, though occasionally I will get an idea for a future book and scribble it down for future reference.”
Make the most of every spare minute
“Whenever Jessica fell asleep in her pushchair I would dash to the nearest cafe and write like mad. I wrote nearly every evening.”
“I can write anywhere. I made up the names of the characters on a sick bag while I was on an airplane. I told this to a group of kids and a boy said, “Ah, no, that’s disgusting.” And I said, “Well, I hadn’t used the sick bag.”
Protect your writing time
“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days… Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”
Believe in yourself
“My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence, because a lot of publishers turned it down!”
Writing is who you are
“Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don’t think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it.”
Write for yourself, not others
“I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself. I never in my wildest dreams expected this popularity.”
Practise a lot
“You have to resign yourself to the fact that you waste a lot of trees before you write anything you really like, and that’s just the way it is. It’s like learning an instrument, you’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot, cause I wrote an awful lot before I wrote anything I was really happy with.”
Writing can take over your life
“The writing of Harry Potter has been inextricably linked with my life for seventeen years, and saying goodbye has been just as tough as I always knew it would be.”