I Want to Be a Failure-Expert… Like JK Rowling

We all know the story: Welfare, wizards, billionaire.

I just wanna take a minute and give a shout out to one of the best selling authors of all time. First off, as any writer will tell you, it takes grit to write any sort of novel, day in and day out with no extrinsic reward until when it’s finished and (if) it gets picked up. But it also takes determination and some darn thick skin to persevere through twelve different publisher’s rejection letters.

Props to you Joanne.

She has said:

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure that often leads us to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”

Spotlight: Me….

Why is it, I ask, that whenever we (or maybe just I) want to do something, or try something, or post something, or be something that we think we need to be awesome at it before we even start it?? Take this blog for example. I was afraid to “launch” it (if you can call my humble announcement that) because I don’t have a logo, or a premium theme, or custom photography, etc.

But then I remembered Rowling, and a quote given to me on a little piece of paper from celebrated author and story doctor David Farland at a recent workshop I attended:

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood

What if Rowling had never started Harry Potter? What if Harry still sat in his cupboard in Rowling’s mind and never made it on to paper?

I’m sure she had the same fears that we all do when setting out to do something new or something great. The difference is that she pushed past those fears. And I am sure she failed several times behind-the-scenes that none of us know about before she got to where she is now. Not to mention that, even after the success of HP, she was STILL rejected by publishers under her psydonymn, Robert Galbraith. Crazy.

John Keats said that:

“Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success.”

And if he’s right, as I believe he is, then Rowling must be a seasoned traveller on failure’s journey.

HP isn’t perfect (although it darn well might be), but if she needed it to be she never would have published it, and she probably never would’ve started it.

So with that, here is my commitment to becoming a failure-expert! And with it a determination to stop thinking about it, mulling it over, or fretting about perfection and to just get out there and make things happen. Who cares if you fail, because if you want to succeed you’re gonna have to.

Any other “failure-experts” that inspire you?

PS Speaking of near perfection, if you haven’t listened to the HP audiobooks yet you are most definitely missing out. Jim Dale (the narrator) is insanely, amazingly, and downright astoundingly good. Check out this review from the LA Times: “To call Dale a ‘reader’ of books is like saying Monet was a Sunday painter.” . . . ‘Nuff said. Get Sorcerer’s Stone free here when you try out Audible. 

4 thoughts on “I Want to Be a Failure-Expert… Like JK Rowling

  1. Love your idea that you are going to become an failure-expert. if it wasn’t for people like you then we wouldn’t have things like the light bulbs, radio, and Harry Potter!! Go for it and make the world a better place 🙂


  2. Michael Scott is possibly the best failure expert “sometimes I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going, I just hope I find it along the way.”

    Pearls of wisdom in the most unlikely cases, he’s got a point though, you’ll never write a thing if you don’t start it…… also, The Office is life 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s