So you may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much as I normally do. While The Opinioness has oodles of ideas for posts and has still been typing away, I just haven’t been able to muster up the emotional fortitude to finish a piece. I’m sure I can attribute it to the malaise that’s clouded my life lately. Facing a crossroads, it can be difficult to know which way to turn. But I know I need to keep focused on my goal of making a living as a writer…and that’s never going to happen if I don’t write.
Whenever I need a morale boost, I watch J.K. Rowling‘s inspirational speech she delivered to Harvard’s Commencement in June 2008. Entitled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” Rowling shared her own personal failures (divorce, jobless, impoverished), how she overcame them and how failing taught her to value what’s important in her life:
“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because 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. 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. 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…
“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. 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.”
Rowling also discussed her work at Amnesty International, the capacity for empathy and the power of imagination:
“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…
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
Ahhh…that’s a little bit better. Whenever I hear her rousing words, I’m inspired to create change in my own life. Life is merely too short to spend it feeling miserable. We are all far more powerful than we realize. If Rowling can write her way into a better life, so can I.