J.K. Rowling Writing Quotes

JK Rowling’s rise from a struggling single mom to a billionaire author is an inspiring example of what can happen with determination, perseverance and hard work. In this article, we will explore JK Rowling’s advice and ideas on writing including:

  • Her thoughts about success in writing
  • How she remained productive even while caring for her daughter as a single mother
  • How failure can make you successful

If you want to learn more about JK Rowling, check out her quick biography.

Quotes on Poverty and Making a Living through Writing

1. I had been very realistic about the likelihood of making a living out of writing children’s books -I knew it was exceptionally rare for anybody to do it -and that didn’t worry me. I prayed that I would make just enough money to justify continuing to write. – Salon Interview

2. I wasn’t a struggling single mother all the time that I was writing the first “Harry” book. It was only during the final year of writing that I found myself poorer than I’d ever been before. – Salon Interview

3. I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. – Harvard Commencement Speech

4. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. – Harvard Commencement Speech

5. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools. – Harvard Commencement Speech

6. What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure. – Harvard Commencement Speech

Quotes on Motivation for Writing

7. Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don’t think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it. – Scholastic Interview

8. I’ll be writing, and that’s about all I know. I’ve been doing it all my life and it is necessary to me…I don’t feel quite normal if I haven’t written for a while. – Salon Interview

Quotes on Success

10. I doubt I will ever again write anything as popular as the “Harry” books, but I can live with that thought quite easily. – Salon Interview

11. I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life– Harvard Commencement Speech

12. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. – Harvard Commencement Speech

13. One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. – Harvard Commencement Speech

14. Nobody knows better than I do that I was very lucky…I didn’t need money to exercise the talent I had… all I needed was a Biro and some paper. – Salon Interview

Quotes on getting ideas

15. I have no idea where the idea came from, it just fell into my head! – Scholastic Interview

16. For the first time ever in my life, I got writer’s block. The stakes seemed to have gone up a lot, and I attracted a lot of publicity in Britain for which I was utterly unprepared. Never in my wildest imaginings had I pictured my face in the papers. – Salon Interview

17. We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better – Harvard Commencement Speech

Quotes on Writing Well

18. Start by writing about things you know – your own experiences, your own feelings. That’s what I do. – Scholastic Interview

19. I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write. It’s more fun. – Scholastic Interview

20. I always advise children who ask me for tips on being a writer to read as much as they possibly can. – Salon Interview

21. The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary. And it’s a lot of fun! – Scholastic Interview

22. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared. – Harvard Commencement Speech

Quotes on Productivity

23. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you know you have very limited time. – Salon Interview

24. I write nearly every day. Some days I write for ten or eleven hours. Other days I might only write for three hours. It really depends on how fast the ideas are coming. – Scholastic Interview

25. Continuing to write was a bit of a logistical problem: I had to make full use of all the time that my then-baby daughter slept. This meant writing in the evenings and during nap times. – Salon Interview

26. I still write in cafes, but I go to different ones now. – Scholastic Interview

27. I’ve never managed to keep a journal longer than two weeks. I get bored with my life. I prefer inventing things. – Scholastic Interview

Quotes on Failure

28. I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. – Harvard Commencement Speech

29. Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. – Harvard Commencement Speech

30. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. – Harvard Commencement Speech

31. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. – Harvard Commencement Speech

32. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. – Harvard Commencement Speech

33. Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies. – Harvard Commencement Speech

Quotes on Growth Through Hardship

34. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes. – Harvard Commencement Speech

35. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. – Harvard Commencement Speech

36. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned. – Harvard Commencement Speech

Further Reading

If you loved the quotes by JK Rowling, check out the huge collection of writing quotes below. The collection features the best quotes by some of the most famous writers such as James Patterson, Stephen King, Louis L’Amour, and Dan Brown among many more.

The quotes are full of valuable advice for any aspiring writer.

If you are struggling to create a business around your writing and need some encouragement, read the quotes below.

  • Sources Cited for JK Rowling’s Quotes

ET (2015) J.K. Rowling Sends Beautiful Message to Fan Who Wants to ‘Finally Give Up’

Harvard Commencement Speech (2008) Text of J.K. Rowling’s speech

Salon (1999) Of magic and single motherhood

Scholastic(2000) J.K. Rowling Interview