You Might Need to Wake Up

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

After I won the Christy Award Book of the Year, a Carol Award for speculative fiction, and the ACFW Mentor of the Year last year, my son Taylor came to me and said, “Uh, Dad, do you think maybe it’s time you do more than teach workshops at conferences?”

“What do you mean?”

“You got published, hit the bestseller list, and started winning awards in four years. It takes most novelists ten on average, right?”

“Yeah.”

“So do you think anyone might want to know exactly how you did that? Show them how they can do it too?”

“Um, yeah, maybe.”

“No. Not maybe. Definitely.”

So Taylor and I created the RubartWriting Academy.

I was so close to it, I didn’t see the opportunity. Let this be a challenge to you, to look at where you might need to wake up in your life.

After I told Taylor he was right, I should start something to help frustrated writers, I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it, and did nothing. It wasn’t till Taylor said, “Let’s do it together. I’ll help you,” that it happened.

Now that it’s launched, I realize without Taylor, the Rubart Writing Academy would still be sitting in the “Someday” file in my brain. He has taken care of so many things I never would have gotten around to doing. He’s more organized than I am, more tech savvy, more than me in so many areas.

What I am giving up to have Taylor involved? Money. Fifty percent. Full control, because he gets a 50% vote. What am I gaining? A dream turning into reality that I couldn’t have done without him.

Your Turn

What are the things you’ve been meaning to do? Where do you need to wake up and say, “Yeah, I’m just not good at that, I need someone else to do it or it will never get done?”

It might cost you, yes. But what is the cost if you keep putting it off? I’m a firm believer that 50% of a $100 is worth way more than 100% of nothing.

Find your partner. Go after the dream. Make it happen.

TWEETABLES

You Might Need to Wake Up by James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)

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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

A Bit of Advice On Taking Advice

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

In ninth grade, I wanted to be a rock star. (Yeah, me and every other kid who had a modicum of talent on the guitar, bass or drums.)

That meant buying an electric guitar. I’d played an acoustic for a few years, but I needed something I could plug into an amp that would go to eleven. More than that, I needed a guitar that I could play lead guitar on. I wanted to play those screaming solos that would make girls like me and guys want to be me.

I searched my school for someone experienced. Someone who could tell me the secret of getting the right guitar. Finally, I found him. He explained there were two types of electric guitars. Rythm and lead. And if I wanted to make like Jimmi Hendrix, I needed to buy a lead electric.

Yes! I was stoked. I’d found a guru to help me find the path.

Because I knew nothing about electric guitars I asked, “What’s the difference between a rhythm electric guitar and a lead electric guitar?”

My acquaintance leaned back, assumed an impressive air guitar stance and said, “With a lead electric you can wind it out!”

Being a typical ninth grader I pretended for a few minutes to understand what he meant. But my desire to know was greater than my insecurity at being looked the fool. So I said, “What do you mean ‘wind it out’?”

“You know! You can wind it out!” He nodded at me with wide eyes. “You know? Wind it out, man!” Another impressive air guitar solo ensued.

No. I still didn’t know. But I was determined to find out. So I went to a music store in downtown Kirkland and asked one of the staff to show me his LEAD electric guitars. His response: “Uh, I’m not sure what you mean.”

Those of you who play guitar are ahead of me. (For the rest of you, there’s no such thing as a lead electric or a rhythm electric. An electric is an electric is an electric.) But I didn’t know that. I was looking for advice and went to my fellow ninth grader who was more experienced than me. He spoke with confidence and knew lingo I didn’t, so I believed him.

Now the rest of you are ahead of me as well, in regards to how this applies to writing, but I’ll say it anyway.

Before you take writing advice from anyone ask yourself:

  1. Does this person have the credentials to be offering me their advice? What is their experience level? 
  2. Have I asked three or more different people the same question? (There is wisdom in many counselors. Often you’ll get different answers even from multi-published authors and teachers that will give you a better-rounded picture than if you’d only asked one person.)
  3. Have I looked in books from respected writing instructors to get their perspective on the question?

What About You?

Have you ever taken writing advice which you later found out was wrong?

How do you make sure you’re getting the right counsel when trying to an answer to one of your writing questions?

Must go. I just came up with a great ending for a chapter I’m working on. I think I’ll be able to wind it out.

TWEETABLE

A Bit of Advice On Taking Advice by James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)

Before you take writing advice from anyone ask yourself three things.~ James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)

Have you ever taken writing advice which you later found out was wrong?~ James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)

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 the best-selling and Christy award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, SOUL’S GATE, and MEMORY’S DOOR. 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 www.jameslrubart.com

I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Story Anymore

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

When God spoke to me about being a novelist, it was a supernatural, lightning bolt type experience. I was pretty pumped when it happened, so I of course told my great friend Jim Rubstello about it, and described the story I would attempt writing.

He celebrated with me, told me he had no doubt I could do it, and encouraged me to dive in.
Three weeks later I talked to him again about how I felt my destiny was to be a novelist and once again he smiled and inspired me with words of support.

A month after that we sat together at the Texas Barbecue having lunch. The day was fun of sun and as we sat outside at one of the deep red picnic tables, I brought up my story.

“I’m so pumped about this story, can’t wait to get started. I really think God is in this writing thing.”

“I don’t want to hear about it,” Jim said, then focused on his sandwich.

I frowned and looked up from my pulled pork sandwich. “What?”

Jim put his sandwich down and lasered me with his gaze. “I’m done hearing about your story.”

I studied his face, waiting for his laughter, assuming he was kidding. He wasn’t.

“Did I miss something?”

When Jim speaks, he never raises his voice. He doesn’t need to. His words and wisdom slice to the core of a man without any need for assistance.

“You’ve been talking about your story for almost two months now. How much have you written?”

I started to give him an excuse—I had at least 1,500 for why I hadn’t started—but caught myself and simply said, “Nothing.”

He nodded. “That’s what I thought. Until you do write something, I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to hear what you’re going to do, I want to hear what you’ve done.”

That conversation, from a friend who had the strength to speak the truth, was a pivotal moment for me. It kick-started the journey of writing my first novel, Rooms.

I don’t know where you’re at in your writing career. Maybe you’re just starting. You might be 40 novels in, but wherever you are the message is still true. Write. It’s what you’ve been called to. It’s your passion, your desire, your destiny. So write.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about writing, talking about writing, reading about writing. But in the end, the real question we must ask ourselves is did we sweep the excuses-be it time, or fear, or pressure, or a thousand other things—and just write.


TWEETABLES


James L. Rubart
 is the best-selling and Christy award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, SOUL’S GATE, and MEMORY’S DOOR. 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 www.jameslrubart.com

Six of the Worst Things About Being a Writer

by James L. Rubart

This is far from a comprehensive list, but don’t you think six is enough for one serving?

1. Comparing Yourself to Others/Doubt/Insecurity– I combined these three into one since they’re brothers, or at least close cousins. We compare because we doubt which comes out of our insecurity.

“Why did I think I should do this?”

“I’ll never make it.”

“How can I call myself a writer when everyone else is so much better?”
This tri-fecta (Comparison, Doubt, Insecurity) is one of the worst of the worst things, but it’s also one you can do something about.

Change your script:

“I can do this.”

“I have the desire and my desire reveals the way I’m designed, and my design reveals my destiny.”

“This is my journey, no one else’s, so I’m not going to compare my path to anybody else.”

2. Lots of Sacrifices- no painter, poet, musician, chef, athlete, etc., etc., ever achieved anything of note without making sacrifices.

Yeah, that means forgoing overpriced coffee for a year so you can go to that writing conference, it means cutting our TV time back, it means getting up an hour early or going to bed an hour later, it means getting together with friends less often.

When people tell me they don’t have time to work on their craft, I say there is always time, what they really mean is too many other things are a higher priority.

That’s okay, but it’s not that the time isn’t there, it’s that they’re not willing to make the sacrifices to excel at the craft.

3. Rejection- This has been written about often on Novel Rocket so I won’t comment except to remind you that EVERYONE faces rejection—including bestselling, award winning novelists. You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone.

4. Expectations/reactions from family, friends, and acquaintances- When I first dove into novel writing, I was excited to tell people about how I felt God had invited me into the journey.

They’d smile and say, “That’s so cool! When is your novel coming out?”

“Uh, well … I just started writing it, that takes a while and it’s not that easy to get a contract and …”

“So will that take about a year then?”

“Hmmm, probably bit longer …”

Our friends and family mean well, but as with any industry, if you don’t know how it works it’s easy to make assumptions. Be patient with them, they are on your side.

5. The Pay- Overheard at a recent writing conference:

“Let’s see, it took 10 years before I got my first contract, and I spent $5,500 on conferences and books and retreats and travel and got a $6,500 advance and if you factor in all the hours I’ve spent learning the craft and writing my book, I guess I’m making about .03 cents an hour.”

But we’re not doing this for money, right? We’re doing it because we can’t NOT do it.

6. The self-appointed critic-
At a book signing a few years ago, I had a gentleman announce that he’d bought my novel and was going to, “Take it home and go through it page by page and write in the margins all the things you did wrong, then send it back to you.”

No, he wasn’t kidding.

No matter where we’re at on our writing journey, there are people ready to pull us back down to earth. Ignore them. Cut the rope they’re hanging onto and launch yourself into the sky.

Those on the ground struggle when they see those of us who want to fly because they’ve often never found the fortitude to take the risk. You did. We did. Let’s continue to fly together.


TWEETABLES

Some never found the fortitude to take the risk. You did. We did.~ James L. Rubart (Click to Tweet)



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, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker and the co-host of the Novel Marketing podcast. 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