JK Rowling’s writing advice won’t just show you how to write and publish a book, they’ll also keep you motivated when you don’t wanna write – or think you can’t write! These writing tips will keep you motivated for the long haul.
To learn more about Rowling’s life and times, read J. K. Rowling: A Biography (Unauthorized Edition).
“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends,” says J.K. Rowling.
This isn’t a profound writing quip from Rowling…or is it? I’ve had to stand up to friends in defense of my writing time and habits (some even call my writing an “obsession”). Not feeling supported by your friends and family is harder to deal with than flack from an enemy.
Advice From JK Rowling on Writing and Publishing a Book
Important things to remember from this wizard of words…
Writing books can be more difficult for successful writers. Writing doesn’t always get easier. In fact, it can be more difficult for successful writers. “I wrote what I thought was half the book and suddenly realized that there was this huge, gaping hole in the middle of the plot,” writes Rowling in J. K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter. “The whole profile of the books got so much higher since the third one and there was an edge of external pressure.” Rowling delivered the manuscript of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire two months late. The pressure of writing books can be worse for published authors, because there are expectations to live up to.
Even writers who have agents don’t get published easily. Even after you find an agent, it can take years to get published. “It took a year for my agent, Christopher, to find a publisher. Lots of them turned it down. Then, finally, in August 1996, Christopher telephoned me and told me that Bloomsbury had ‘made an offer.’ I could not quite believe my ears. ‘You mean it’s going to be published?’ I asked, rather stupidly. ‘It’s definitely going to be published?'”
What you write becomes who you are. What you write becomes who you are…so make sure you love what you write! “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.” If you tackle a novel or nonfiction book, you’ll be living and breathing it for years. If you’re haven’t started writing your book with love and passion, you may be struggling to write for years.
Successful writers write in little pockets of time. “Whenever Jessica fell asleep in her pushchair I would dash to the nearest cafe and write like mad. I wrote nearly every evening. Then I had to type the whole thing out myself. Sometimes I actually hated the book, even while I loved it.” Writers take every chance they can get to write — even just 10 minutes or an hour a day. Writing and publishing a book is about successful writing habits more than talent or education.
Not everything successful writers produce is publishable. When asked if she’s written anything other than Harry Potter, Rowling said, “Yes, quite a lot, though none of it is published (which is no loss, I assure you). The first things I wrote were the Rabbit stories, which were about a rabbit called Rabbit. I wrote them between the ages of six and eight. Then when I was eleven I wrote a novel about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them. Since then I’ve written loads: short stories, bits of novels for adults, all kinds of things.”
If you’re struggling to write your book, read How to Write a Chapter of a Book – What Authors Need to Know.
J.K. Rowling’s Tips For Getting Published
First, you need to write something that a publisher would want to publish. All you need is one publisher, but it might take a while to find them. If you are turned down by every single publisher in existence, you will have to consider the possibility that what you have written is not publishable.
Next, you need to approach the publisher, either directly or by securing a literary agent who will act on your behalf (Rowling encourages writers to get agents). The best way to find agents’ and publishers’ addresses is to consult the Guide To Literary Agents, which is updated every year. Double-check that you are writing to the right person/people; don’t, for example, send science fiction to a publisher of medical textbooks.
There you go, fellow scribes. This is the way Harry Potter got published.
For more writing advice, read 10 Book Writing Tips From Published Book Authors and Freelancers.
Do you have any questions or thoughts on J.K. Rowling’s writing tips? Comments welcome below!
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Unless otherwise indicated, these writing quips and tips are from J.K. Rowling’s official website.