J.K. Rowling rewrote the first chapter of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone fifteen times!
Stephen King submitted his work over and over again to publishing companies and was rejected repeatedly.
He reworked nearly every aspect of Carrie after throwing it in the wastebasket because it just wasn’t working in his mind’s eye.
Taylor Swift was bullied in middle school: People said she couldn’t sing.
She practiced relentlessly, honing her craft for years behind closed doors.
She played the guitar until her fingers bled and wrote songs from her bedroom.
Years later, she’s a megastar with a massive following and a net worth of $400 million.
A significant chunk of that money comes from her albums and live shows.
Lenny Kravitz refused record deals for years because he hadn’t found his voice as a musician yet, and he only wanted to share his artistry when he knew it was something he could be proud of.
He practiced for hours on end and found a way to survive when he had nearly $0 to his name.
Sometimes, he slept in his car.
He was bound and determined to make his dream become a reality.
Now he’s a star: He’s known and loved worldwide, and he has multiple lavish properties to his name.
GETTING CAUGHT UP
It’s so easy to get caught up in the results without delving into the process: The massive house, the enormous bank account, and even all the lovers you might have if you were rich.
It’s easy to look at people like Taylor Swift or Lenny Kravitz and harbor jealousy, forgetting that it took them both five years of working at breakneck speed, dedicating a massive amount of hours to honing their craft to get to where they are today.
They still take a few years to release every album, more often than not, and for good reason.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
We don’t see Taylor Swift rewriting her song repeatedly because the chorus isn’t quite right and rehearsing it over one hundred times to make sure every element of her performance is as close to perfect as it can be.
We don’t see Stephen King editing one of his novels eight to ten times before he shares it with the world, even though we know he does.
We don’t see J.K. Rowling writing that first chapter fifteen times because she gave too much away, scribbling on her lined notebooks in her small apartment as she was living off of benefits.
Sometimes, when I see J.K. Rowling in her enormous house or Lenny Kravitz in his Parisian Mansion, I wish I had access to the same privileges they do.
I start thinking that life would be perfect if I didn’t have to worry about my bills and that nothing would ever go wrong.
On my worst days, the thought they don’t deserve all they have might cross my mind.
Of course, that’s simply not the case: They have earned everything they have.
DETACHMENT FROM RESULTS: FAME, FORTUNE, ACCESS
Lately, I’ve been desiring success: I’ve been pondering how it must feel to earn upwards of $100,000 per year, travel whenever I want, go to my dream college, live wherever I want to, earn as much as I could ever dream of, and even invest some of it for a rainy day.
Right now, this seems so unattainable to me, yet I know that everything is possible if you know what you want, improve your skills, and manage your money wisely in this life, but there I go thinking about all of the results again instead of focusing on the process.
Successful people fail behind closed doors — over and over again — and then, finally, they present you with their masterpieces.
They’ve usually worked on them for at least three years: Their novels and CDs are excellent because they never share something with the world if they aren’t immensely proud of it.
PATIENCE AND FAME
It’s so easy for me to get caught up with the idea of being famous.
I’ve always wanted to be, although I’m not sure why: Maybe I just want to feel loved by the masses (although hate comes with fame too, and a lot of those people wouldn’t actually know me). Perhaps it’s just that I want to earn a living from my art and garnering a large audience is how one does that.
I’ve sent out multiple projects before they were ready because I simply had no patience to perfect them, and I wanted people to see them right away!
Unfortunately, this backfired massively, and I ended up having to delete every last one.
True fame requires a great deal of patience: Your reputation is at stake.
Danielle Steele usually takes at least two years to pen her novels, even though many of them have reached enormous success.
Beyoncé often takes even longer to work on her albums before sharing them with the world.
These people want to present the best versions of themselves through their work, and they’re not solely concerned with the money they might receive as a result of their creative endeavors, because they have already acquired a great deal of wealth.
FAILURE TRULY IS THE STEPPING STONE TO SUCCESS
“You fail your way to success.”
— Joyce Meyer
Joyce Meyer is an incredible Preacher, author, and bible teacher. Her net worth is a staggering $8 million.
She’s been in the industry for over thirty years at this point, and confesses that she failed her way to success: It wasn’t always easy.
She once tried to be on television before she was really supposed to be, and she didn’t really understand how to motivate people back then, even though she was working extremely hard to get there.
She didn’t have enough money on her person at the time for an elaborate set, but she learned one thing: If you can motivate a large crowd, it doesn’t matter what the backdrop is.
Her first success was the result of her speech in front of what appeared to be a shower curtain: She received so many calls and emails about the content she delivered and the inspiration she invoked that she was then able to continue perfecting her delivery and attracting larger audiences.
The woman learned how to captivate and inspire through her words. That’s all that mattered.
If you know what doesn’t work, you naturally learn effective ways to produce stellar content as a result: This is merely through the process of elimination.
THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR SUCCESS
You have to dedicate 10,000 hours to whatever it is you’d like to earn a living doing to truly achieve the success you are likely yearning for.
That is 5 years of very hard work.
5 years of having to do jobs that aren’t your dream.
5 years of barely being able to make ends meet in some cases.
5 years of dedicating every ounce of your mind, body, and soul to your art, until you finally make it.
Sometimes, it happens earlier, sometimes later. It may never happen at all.
Art isn’t about making it big: It’s not about the money, otherwise, Stephen King would have stopped writing his novels a long time ago — It’s about the passion, the thrill, and the creativity that allows you to pound the keys on your laptop with glee as you’re creating, wondering what might happen to the graveyard digger named Timothy whom you’ve conjured in your own mind.
It’s about learning what you love to do in this world and fighting for it viscerally, until everything finally falls into place, or doesn’t.
It doesn’t really matter whether I’m the next Stephen King — or whether you are: What’s most important is our passion for writing, the thrill we get as our fingers dance across our keyboards, and the fulfillment we experience from pouring our hearts out onto the page.
ART IS MEANT TO BE ENJOYED
I’ve been ghostwriting for the past two years, and its had its pros and cons.
The worst part of the gig has been that, at times, I’ve felt like a cog in a machine, trying to mass-produce content to the point of no return, and I’ve forgotten how much I love telling stories sometimes as a result.
That’s part of writing when you’re trying to earn a living from your work, and burnout is inevitable at times.
At the end of the day, art is meant to be enjoyed. That’s why you and I willingly chose to traverse this difficult path in the first place.
Successful people fail, over and over again, behind closed doors.
They curse to themselves that the chorus in their song is misplaced or they walk away from their laptop, downtrodden because one of their characters is far too likable and there are too many plot points covered in the first chapter of their novel.
They hone their craft for years until their art is so extraordinary that it is irresistible.