Here's one to start the New Year. I watched a TV documentary over the holidays about JK Rowling, looking at a year in her life up to the publication of the latest Harry Potter book. There are Youtube links to various docos here.
I've never read any of the Harry Potter books and probably never will. I think I'm one of the only people I know who hasn't read one. However, I was quite gripped by the documentary. JK Rowling was just like the rest of us... a struggling writer. She had the archetypical writer's poverty-stricken lifestyle, but never gave up hope. It took her back to the flat where she struggled as a writer. She was asked how many millions she now has in the bank; she said ‘loads’. We found out how many millions of books she’s sold and we gasped.
A few things struck me about the doco. As writers, we all know what it’s like to sit there day in, day out, looking for that big break that rarely happens... and here is living proof that it can happen. It’s so easy to criticise and hate people who become successful at something, but JKR didn’t rub my face in it as a viewer. She wasn’t the devil, she’s not someone we should hate. She was normal, humble and admitted that a lot of her big break was down to luck. Its people like her who have made writing more accessible and dispelled the myths that us writers are all mad eccentrics (well, some of us are).
I thought it was great to see someone making a good living as a writer and I actually thought that one day I might just make the effort to read a Harry Potter book. Might.
So – my New Year Revolution is to go back to writing in my spare time. Importantly, I want to enjoy writing. I’ve got a deadline for a non-fiction book approaching and I intend to get something to the New Writing North Writers’ Award this year. Don’t forget to keep checking our friend’s blog out – she gives a good insight into the world of a working writer.
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