If there is anything you can depend upon Harry Potter creator and mega-bestselling author J.K. Rowling for, it’s a Twitter clapback. Over the years, fans have seen her take down everyone from Brexiteers and Donald Trump to critical readers and everyday internet trolls with a measly 280 characters. This week, Rowling was at it again when she interrupted a thread of writing advice for fans to clapback at one particular hater.
It all began on Tuesday, when Rowling took to Twitter to share a link to some writing advice on her website. "I’m often asked questions about writing," the author wrote, "so here are some answers too long for Twitter!"
The thoughtful post covered everything from discipline ("Moments of pure inspiration are glorious, but most of a writer’s life is, to adapt the old cliché, about perspiration rather than inspiration.") to resilience ("Being able to pick yourself up and keep going is invaluable if you’re to survive your work being publicly assessed.") to courage ("Fear of failure is the saddest reason on earth not to do what you were meant to do.") and independence ("Ultimately, in writing as in life, your job is to do the best you can, improving your own inherent limitations where possible, learning as much as you can and accepting that perfect works of art are only slightly less rare than perfect human beings.")
Rowling also went into detail about what she likes about being an author, what she still finds challenging when it comes to writing, and how she deals with criticism. "I miss the days when readings and events were slightly more low key. I’m not complaining, but when audiences grow big you obviously can’t reach everyone who wants to ask you a question," Rowling wrote. "Being able to engage with people on Twitter goes some way to solving this for me. It’s astounding that people are still so interested in those books, and I doubt I’ll ever stop interacting as long as there are readers who know the world so well."
Interact the author did, and not just by posting a link to her writing advice. Rowling also took time to respond to fans on Twitter and share even more insights about the writing life. When one user praised Rowling for her style of advice, the author thanked them and explained her beliefs. "From talking to other writers I know that we all have very different processes," Rowling tweeted. "The only thing that works is what works for you."
She also shared Steve Martin’s famous quote in response to a fan who asked her about the fear of being forgotten or ignored by audiences, "Be so good they can’t ignore you."
But because this is The Internet in 2019, what started as a heartfelt post from a prolific author to her adoring fans quickly turned into a troll fest. One Twitter user in particular caught Rowling’s attention with some biting, insulting questions. "Here’s two that you didn’t answer," reads a screenshot of the tweet from an unknown user Rowling shared, "why is your writing so shit? How are you so politically delusional?"
An epic clapback by any measure, Rowling’s response actually contains within it some pretty great advice for both writers and human beings in general: Not everything you create, do, or say will be loved by everyone, and that is alright. She also pointed out the very obvious fact that people’s politics differ because their experiences often differ. But perhaps the best part of her comeback were her words of wisdom to the hater who criticized her, words of wisdom we should all take to heart: "Try being less of an asshole." Now that is advice everyone, especially Twitter users, can learn from.
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