I haven’t read a single volume from the Harry Potter series and I probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take a keen interest in what JK Rowling has to say. If anyone knows about struggling as a writer – as a human being for that matter – it’s Rowling. I recently watched her Harvard Commencement Address titled “The fringe benefits of failure and the importance of Imagination” and urge anyone interested in a career in writing to listen to it. I am an advocate for paying attention to other writer’s counsel, no matter what their accomplishments, but it is especially reassuring to hear a successful writer speak so candidly of her own experiences with failure and the misery it fostered. I say this, not out of resentment for her success, but out of a sense of hopefulness and perhaps even pride that a fellow scribbler has made it so good despite the adversity.
A transcript of the speech is also available, but it is worth watching the speech. Rowling’s initial nervousness adds to her charm, which deepens the importance of her words.