Gillian Flynn is a name we all know thanks to the astounding success of Gone Girl. If you haven’t seen it go and watch it right now, and grab the book while you’re there, too. But Gillian’s amazing literary success didn’t happen overnight, she’s been working hard for years! Here are some amazing career lessons from Gillian Flynn that don’t just apply to writers.
#1 You don’t know what you want until you try
Gillian initially wanted to be a police reporter, but decided to focus on her own writing after she decided it wasn’t for her. She knew she had an interest in true crime but instead went on to journalism and worked at Entertainment Weekly. After 15 years in journalism she said “I could not have written a novel if I hadn’t been a journalist first, because it taught me that there’s no muse that’s going to come down and bestow upon you the mood to write. You just have to do it. I’m definitely not precious.”
Sometimes you have to try different things and put your efforts into something else in order to realise your dreams.
#2 Embrace your weirdness
Gillian often admits that she was different from other kids, “As a kid I liked being scared, probably because I came from a very safe, middle-class Midwestern happy home that I could venture into those places as I knew I could come back to a different spot.” (Source) Her natural curiosity led her to be more interested in things other children weren’t, which gave her the ideas for her books.
She drew on the things she was interested in, even if they weren’t necessarily what others liked, and she used those things to create books worthy of movie adaptation! Amazing!
#3 Be persistent
Gone girl was a success, but it took Gillian almost 3 years to write. If she had given up it would never be the astounding success we see today, and with Sharp Objects being brought to the TV screen soon too, it just goes to show that success doesn’t happen overnight.
#4 Every end leads to a new beginning
When Gillian was laid off as a TV critic for Entertainment Weekly she was obviously upset, especially as she’d been there for 1o years, but new things come along if you keep busy. “I’ve handled self-doubt in different ways while working on new projects. Sometimes it’s a matter of stepping away for a few days. Sometimes it’s a glass of bourbon!” (Source)