3 Famous Authors Who Turned Adversity Into Triumph

    famous authors

    Editor’s note: Looking at famous authors when you are a struggling writer can sometimes decrease, not increase, motivation. Today’s powerful post shows how to draw inspiration to keep writing from 3 of the most famous writers of recent times…

    Being a writer isn’t easy.

    After all, art isn’t science. It’s not like we can follow a consistent formula to get a predictable result, each and every time.

    Our creativity ebbs and flows, as does our motivation.

    Sometimes, it can feel as if no-one else understands what we’re going through. This is especially true if our offline interactions are devoid of fellow writers.

    Thankfully, there is nothing new under the sun. Almost any struggle you’re experiencing as a writer has been experienced before.

    We can look to those who have walked the difficult path ahead of us for inspiration of how to proceed.

    Today, I’d like to share the inspirational stories of three writers who experienced serious success in spite of their struggled.

    Four beacons of inspirational light to illuminate any darkness you are going through.

    Let’s get to it.

    JK Rowling

    In the modern context, it’s hard to think of a better rags to riches story within the world of writing than that of JK Rowling.

    JK Rowling was a foreign language teacher before she experienced success as an author.

    She went through real poverty as well as struggling to make ends meet as a single mother.

    In fact, much of the earliest work she did on the Harry Potter series was carried out in a cafe she wrote in to stay warm, making a cup of tea last as long as possible. She scribbled out her ideas on cafe napkins. These days she’s very open about her struggles on her author social media, and even supports fans going through similar woes.

    Perhaps you or someone you know is experiencing financial troubles as a parent, just like JK Rowling did.

    If so, consider the following ideas to get through your struggle:

    • Draw inspiration from your situation. This may sound like an idealized or romanticized notion. However, the difficulties we go through can often provide the richest sources of inspiration. This works for both the emotional truth of your situation as well as the practical realities of it.
    • Frame the reality of your finances in an inspirational light. When we are comfortable, it’s very easy to get complacent. When you realize that you have nothing to lose, and that you can improve your situation, you can use this as motivational fuel. You will also be tougher than those who have never had to struggle.
    • Being a single parent can seem like a burden without positives. However, having someone else to care for can be a real motivator. At our lowest points as humans, we can struggle to care about ourselves, but it is a lot harder to stop caring about an innocent life we are responsible for.

    JK Rowling is proof that success can come from the toughest of situations. No matter how hard things may seem, do not give up hope. Do not put a limit on the level of success you dream of achieving.

    Stephen King

    There is so much mythology surrounding writing and substance abuse.

    From the infamous advice of Hemingway to “write drunk, edit sober” to the frankly incredulous debauchery of Hunter S Thompson, famous authors are often linked to indulgence in various intoxicants.

    Stephen King certainly was.

    If you’ve ever read his fantastic guide to the craft, ‘On Writing’, you will know that Steve was an alcoholic and cocaine abuser for the earliest part of his career.

    He admits that while using those substances may have fuelled some of his ideas, they weren’t all good. He freely admits some of his best and worst concepts came out of substance abuse. So it wasn’t even helpful overall to his work.

    However, it took a devastating toll on his health, his marriage, and his life in general. He eventually stopped drinking and using and has still remained one of the best and most prolific storytellers of our time.

    If you’re experiencing struggles with drinking and substance abuse, what can you do to find some inspiration?

    • First, realize that you are not a bad person. The shame of substance abuse often overrides the desire to seek help. Realize you are someone who is coping with pain and trauma in the most effective way you know. As long as you are seeking to change, there is no need to feel shame.
    • Second, decouple your substance abuse from your creative work. Just because you have produced work intoxicated, it doesn’t mean you will be unable to when sober. Stephen King is absolute proof of this concept.
    • Finally, seek outside help. There are tons of great resources out there, such as 12 step groups, or groups which do not rely on the concept of a higher power if that is more to your preference. Try different options until you find a good fit. There is no need to go through this alone.

    Your work as a writer shouldn’t be the primary motivator for stopping substance abuse. However, realize that you won’t be a worse writer as a result of getting sober. The adjustment may be difficult but you’ll get there.

    Orwell (war and extra jobs)

    Few writers have had more of an impact on the world at large than George Orwell.

    The phrase Big Brother derives directly from his novel, 1984, and has permeated every aspect of society as well as casual conversation.

    When people picture the legendary, classic writers such as George Orwell, they may imagine they’ve had a charmed, easy existence. Perhaps some fancy British upbringing followed by an easy life of writing and classy English tea parties with other intellectuals.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    George Orwell experienced the horrors of war and poverty.

    If you’re having to work extra jobs to support your writing career, almost a given in the self-publishing era for most, draw comfort from the fact you are in excellent company.

    So what are some of the ideas we can draw from the struggles of George Orwell?

    • Understand that the struggles you are going through will make your characters relatable. Chances are, the majority of your readers are regular folk going about their lives. If you write about a character working a regular job, but in a way which shows you have no idea whatsoever what that job entails, you instantly lose all credibility. Both the practical and emotional details of any extra job you are working will lend credence to your future work.
    • There is something to be said for not relying upon your writing to make a living. On the one hand, having to work other jobs will reduce the time you have to write. On the other, the pressure of needing to write for a living can stifle your work and make it impossible to write with any feeling of freedom whatsoever.
    • Even war is no excuse to hold you back from your dream of succeeding as an author. If George Orwell was able to produce the work he did living under the shadow of warfare and poverty, you can overcome your own situation. This isn’t to belittle anything you’re going through. Only to show it is possible to succeed.

    Having to take on additional work outside of writing can seem like a burden with no upsides. However, the example of George Orwell shows it can be a blessing as well as a curse.

    Triumphing Over Adversity As An Author – Final Thoughts

    No matter what struggles you are experiencing as an author, please draw comfort from the fact you are not alone.

    If others are capable of turning their adversity into success, you most certainly are too.

    You’ve got this!

    Please feel free to share other famous authors who inspire you in the comments. I’m sure there are countless examples out there that our fellow authors could draw comfort and inspiration from.

    About the author

      Dave Chesson

      Dave Chesson teaches authors advanced book marketing tactics at Kindlepreneur.com. He likes sharing in-depth, actionable guides, such as his recent comparison of the best book writing software. His free time is spent in Tennessee with his wife and children.

    • jonh says:

      Very impressive article.

    • Lancy Bragg says:

      Hey Dave, It really inspired me for Writing though Writing is my hobby I couldn’t make it because of life issues. So big thanks to you for inspiring me to focus on writing in thought situation of life by this article.

    • Suzanne says:

      Very nice article dear..it amazing for me as a future writer.all information are to be important for me …Thank you so much for your post.


    • Very impressive article. I know about all these three writers. JK Rowling is my favorite author. Thanks for sharing such amazing information about her.

      • Dave Chesson says:

        Thanks and glad you liked it.

    • Hello! Nice blog, it will be really helpful for me and some points are beyond everyone’s Knowledge and should be consider. I liked very much I will surely implement them in daily life scenario.

    • Alex says:

      Love George Orwell. Down and Out in Paris and London is my absolute favorite and it relates parts of what he experienced in his early days as a write. A different style than 1984 or Animal Farm, but I love it all the same.

      • Dave Chesson says:

        That’s awesome – yeah, 1984 is pretty epic.

    • […] post 3 Famous Authors Who Turned Adversity Into Triumph appeared first on […]

    • kate says:

      Good Luck I always check you.

      • Dave Chesson says:

        Thanks Kate – hope I don’t let you down.

    • bookwomb says:

      thanks for sharing such beautiful info with us

      • Dave Chesson says:

        You bet and glad you liked it!

    • I read this article shortly before heading out the door to start my day job (today I’m cleaning junk out of a mice-ridden basement). At 54 with one book written and another book on preorder (deadline May 1st), I’m still holding onto my dream. Thank you for the inspiration Dave.

      • Dave Chesson says:

        Thanks awesome James – there’s an incredible video I’ve seen on Facebook where it shows some famous people who’ve done great things, but it continues to show that they didn’t get started on that thing until later in life. It’s a real eye opener and a motivation builder.

    • Very Inspiring!

      • Dave Chesson says:

        Thanks and glad you liked it.

    • Nia Jax says:

      These 3 are the Legend those are mention in the post.

      • Dave Chesson says:

        That they are.

    • I knew that JK Rowling and Orwell were struggling at times, but had no idea about Stephen King, eg the substance abuse! It is inspiring to read how they overcame such difficulties and got to where they are (were) at the height of their career. Thank you for sharing!

      • Dave Chesson says:

        In truth, when I started doing research for this article, I was surprised at the sheer number of authors who have some struggle they pulled through. I selected the three for various diversity, but in truth, this could have been a 30+ person list. My hope is that it sheds light on the manner and gives hope.

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