Monday, May 16, 2016

Why JK Rowling's letters are important.

Ahoy lovely readers!

Kicking up my writing blog posts again. I actually started this post a month ago, but y'all know how I am with procrastinating.

Anyway, this topic was fairly popular a while back, but I'd still like to express my gratitude for J.K. Rowling posting some of her rejection letters on social media.

If you're not familiar with Rowling releasing some of her rejection letters, you can Google the story. I'll give you the low-down though.

This woman's the reason my generation's literate. 

The tl;dr: is that someone asked Rowling to release some of her rejection letters on Twitter. The Queen of the Pen said her Harry Potter ones were in an attic, but she was happy to release some of the rejections Robert Galbraith (her alias for her adult mystery series) received.

Rowling's never been shy to admit she's received her fair share of rejection letters, but seeing some of them in the flesh (...paper? Ah, you know what I mean) made her a much more tangible comrade to her fellow writers.

Especially those of us who aren't the authors of New York Times Bestsellers (...yet.)

So, here are some of my points about Rowling's letters, and how a struggling author viewed them. 

It was brave as fuck: 

It's not easy for anyone to admit failure, and I'm sure it's even harder for someone as successful as Rowling to show her failures to her 7.3 million followers on Twitter. 

What has she got to lose, you ask? Absolutely nothing. 

We all know Rowling's no stranger to charity and helping those who need a boost, but this was something personal. You can sit atop your mountain of success, but your failures will still haunt you just as much as they haunt someone not as successful. 

This was something completely unnecessary. Aside from the pride of struggling authors, no one was hurt. This wasn't a charity that desperately needed funds to do good in the world. It was a virtual hug that someone as successful as Rowling didn't need to give. 

And the fact she kind of got to give the middle finger to those idiots who rejected her is cool, too. 

Saving mine just in case I get the pleasure of doing the same >D 

It connected writers-- no matter the fame: 

J. K. Rowling is famous y'all. Like, in ways most of us could only ever imagine. You can't go anywhere on this earth, save a very remote island and not hear about Harry Potter or his amazing creator. Hell, most of the people my age didn't even like reading before picking up a good ol' copy of the Sorcerer's Stone ('Murica). 

And she's even more than a famous person to writers. I, and I'm sure many, started writing after reading about the world of wizards and Muggles. She's the equivalent of the hashtag #goalsaf for authors, especially those of us who write YA. 

We all know she exists, but she's in the circle of super-famous authors, the ultimate cool kids table. As a struggling writer, the geeky kid who smells fully, there's no way I'd ever approach that table. How could I possibly have anything in common with them? 

Yeah, I know I can't sit with you! Enjoy your lunch, Rowling, Riordan, and Riggs

But we do have something in common. Something powerful. We love creating stories and sharing them with the world. We take a bit of our soul and craft it into many stories that reflect our hopes, dreams, and personal experiences. That takes a lot more guts than people give writers credit for. 

And Rowling releasing her rejection letters was a little fist bump to us lowly writers still waiting to hit major book store shelves or, hell, to get to 500 followers on Twitter. We're all in this together, and even the popular kids had to start off somewhere. 

Which brings me to my final point of gratitude.

It's humbling: 

This is the most glaringly obvious one, and it was the point that Rowling was trying to make. Even the big leagues started off as struggling actors. We all know Rowling's story of literally going from rags to riches, but there are some less spectacular stories of other famous authors.

Take ol' Uncle Rick for example. He was a middle school teacher who had a few unknown books on the shelf before hitting it big with his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Now, despite those horrid films, you can't go into a school without seeing his books on the AR list or in the hands of excited kids. 

And most of these authors didn't hit it big until they were much older than myself and many other writers. I can't speak for them, but I know I'm just beginning this scary career as an author. It's one of those where you hone your craft while jumping out there. That's beautiful, and it takes a lot of courage to keep it up after being rejected by numerous publishers, agents, that one asshole English professor, what have you. 

Just like any creative field, you gotta start from the bottom, and it's gonna be rough. Seeing things like very famous authors' rejection letters is a reminder of the struggles that even they faced. 

Our time is yet to come, new authors. You keep that chin up and keep writing. The world needs your story! 

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