Why Writing Fiction Is So Hard

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

Why is writing fiction so hard? The short answer: it just is.

The longer answer: Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.”He probably could have said, “In this world, when you try to write a novel, you will have trouble.”

From my experience, this has proven to be true. I sent in my latest manuscript to my publisher a few days ago and felt like I’d just finished a marathon. Circumstances outside of my control made writing this story a bear.

This wasn’t the first time. I can say the same thing about all of my novels so far. So why I am surprised when it happens again and again? When we write our novels, there will be troubles. I’ve come to accept that this is a fact. We don’t have a choice in the matter. So at this point I can react in one of two ways.

  1. I can moan and complain and ask, “Why do these things always happen to me!”
  2. I can embrace how Jesus finished his thought. “… but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

I can choose whether I let the circumstances dominate my thoughts, or chose to focus on how Jesus overcame the world. He was fully man, remember? We can do what he did.

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He overcame the trouble by focusing on the joy set before him. What is the joy set before you with regard to your stories? One life changed? One hundred? Crossing the line of a finished novel that you didn’t think you could complete?

Choose Now What You Focus On

You probably know by now that multi-tasking is a myth. The way our brains are wired, we can only focus on one thing at a time. And here’s the amazing part. We have free will. We get to choose! What is good and pure and lovely and full of hope, or the dark, fearful, and worrisome.

Yes, in this world, circumstances will buffet your plans, your dreams, your writing schedule, your word count … you will have trouble. But take heart. If you choose to, you can overcome the world.

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
– G.K. Chesterton


The Long Journey to Jake Palmer

What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?

Corporate trainer Jake Palmer coaches people to see deeper into themselves—yet he barely knows himself anymore. Recently divorced and weary of the business life, Jake reluctantly agrees to a lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days.

When he arrives, Jake hears the legend of Willow Lake—about a lost corridor that leads to a place where one’s deepest longings will be fulfilled.

Jake scoffs at the idea, but can’t shake a sliver of hope that the corridor is real. And when he meets a man who mutters cryptic speculations about the corridor, Jake is determined to find the path, find himself, and fix his crumbling life.

But the journey will become more treacherous with each step Jake takes.

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy BOOK of the YEAR, INSPY, CAROL and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker, co-host of the Novel Marketing podcast, and co-founder of the Rubart Writing Academy. During the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com