None of Them Had it Easy. None.

Are you a fan of Biography? Here are a few of the profiles I’ve taken a gander at in the past two months:

• John Travolta
• The Rolling Stones
• Jamie Lee Curtis
• Eminem
• Jodie Foster
• Chelsea Handler
• Anthony Hopkins
• Jennifer Lopez
• Kelly Clarkson
And wait! Yes, I watched more!

It’s fascinating to see where these celebs came from, what got them there and what they had to go through to get there. If I may be frank, even though I’m really Jim, I was surprised.

I had this idea that most stars walked into their gifting/destiny with a few minor pebbles in the road, not a street where bombs had gone off and were still exploding.

ALL of the stories revealed serious setbacks before these stars achieved fame and fortune. All. (And they continued to have challenges.)

A repeating mantra when outsiders describe these people are statements like:

“They were so incredibly determined.”

“They worked harder than anyone else.”

“They knew what they wanted, fixed their eyes on it and refused to give up.”

“No one came to see them at first, but they didn’t care. They just kept at it.”

I suppose I could have made this post much shorter and simply said, “Hey, it’s tough on everyone who wants to reach a dream, you’re not alone.” But I think knowing others have been on and are on this path helps.

It comes down to this: You have to believe in yourself. When no one else does. There is no other choice.

There is no other road.

James L. Rubart is the best-selling author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at

You Don’t Have The Money? Sorry, I Don’t Believe You

For years I told myself I was willing to do whatever it took to be an author.

Like go to a conference.

Not a half day workshop or a gathering of writers at the local library. A full-out writer’s conference with editors and agents. Where I’d have to pitch. Show my work. Risk rejection. Try to make the dream become more than a dream.

I had a specific conference in mind, but every spring when the time to register smacked into my calendar I started dancing the rumba.

You know, the conference fence dance where I wasn’t sure if I was going or not.

And every spring I landed on the wrong side and promised I’d go next year. (For seven years.)

Deep down I didn’t think I was ready to go, wasn’t good enough to go, and I was scared. But I didn’t admit it to myself then. The excuse I used was money; that I didn’t have enough.

You’re not using that one are you? Because that’s all it is. An excuse. Before you lambast me, listen to my logic. By the time the final cha ching fades on the cost of a major writing conference you could shell out anywhere from $500 – $1,200. (Conference cost, hotel, airfare, CDs, etc.)

Yes, that’s some serious coin of the realm, but you have the money. Really.

• Three lattes per week: $5 each x 4 = $60 x 12 = $600

• Monthly cable bill: $50+ x 12 = $600

• Monthly dinners out: $50 x 2 = $100 x 12 = $1,000

“But I gotta have my lattes, Jim!” Uh huh. “I gotta have my cable!” Really? Okay, then have it. But don’t say you don’t have the money to go to a conference.

Say, “Cable TV and lattes and dinners out and new clothes (and whatever else you spend non-essential money on) are more important to me than going to a conference and taking this writing thing seriously.”

My friend Roy Williams says, “The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” I realize I’ve risked insulting some people with the above. That’s not my intent and I am fully cognizant of writers who want desperately to go to a writing conference and have already cut their budgets deep into the bone.

My intent is to reach the people who are like I was. Scared. Feeling unworthy to come. Allowing the dream to stay only a dream. Using the excuse of money to hold them back.

I want to tell them all published authors were once where they are. I want to tell them if they’re serious about writing they’ll make sacrifices to be able to take action. And without question, if you’re intent on being a writer, going to a major writing conference will take your aspirations beyond the next level.

Yes, it costs a lot to go to the Super Bowl, but there’s a vast difference between watching the game on TV and being in the stands.

Yes, it costs a lot to go to a conference, but there’s a vast difference between reading about the publishing industry in a book or magazine and being there live.

So if you can skip a latte or two, laser in on a conference you’ve wanted to go to and commit. If we wind up at the same one, the first Starbucks run is on me.

James L. Rubart is the bestselling and award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. He’s the owner of Barefoot Marketing and lives in the Pacific Northwest with his amazing wife and two outstanding teenage sons. More at: FB- James L. Rubart Twitter @jimrubart