Writer’s Desk Issue No: 10: James L. Rubart
We’re so excited to have James L. Rubart featured on this week’s writer’s desk. 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. He’s the best-selling, Christy Hall of Fame, CAROL, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award-winning author of ten novels and loves to send readers on mind-bending journeys they’ll remember months after they finish his stories. He’s also a branding expert, audiobook narrator, and co-founder with his son, Taylor, of the Rubart Writing Academy. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. Be sure to stick around until the end of the post for more about his two novels we’re featuring today plus a chance to win a copy of each!
Do you have a writing routine? When/Where do you write?
I’m a pantser as I craft my stories and a pantser when it comes to my writing routine. Some days it’s 20 minutes. Other days it’s five hours. I write in what my wife calls my Shed Quarters. We bought a storage shed from the local hardware store and I took our old deck and refinished all the boards and turned it into the walls of my shed. I sit there in my comfy dark brown leather chair, shut out the word, and write.
When are you most productive?
Usually the heart of the day, so 10 am – 3 pm.
What do you snack on or drink while writing?
For some reason, I have to be eating David’s Jumbo Sunflower Seeds when I write. I buy the bulk package from Amazon and off I go.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I’ve never had it. A long time ago a writing mentor of mine said writer’s block is simply an unwillingness to go to the deep places, face the pain of those places and process it on paper. Although it’s never easy, I feel I’ve always been willing to go to those broken parts of myself, and maybe that’s why I’ve always had words come bubbling up from the basement.
What is your outlining process? Are you a pantser/plotter or something in between?
As I mentioned, I’m a pantser. I’ll write down whatever movie is playing in my mind no matter where it’s happening in the novel. But at a certain point, I have to organize my story. The way I’ve done it for years is to take a huge whiteboard and write all my scenes on sticky notes. (One or two lines to recall the scene.) Then I put them all up on the board and start shifting the scenes around till the order is right, then I fill in the missing pieces.
Best advice for someone who is just starting out.
Invest in a good pair of athletic shoes. Put them on. The turn and run in the opposite direction as fast as you can. I’m kidding. Sort of. Some of the greatest highs and greatest lows of my life have come from the writing world. Wouldn’t trade it for anything, truly. But it is a hard path. If you can’t not write, then you’re good. The glories far outweigh the agony. And here’s the secret: most people give up. They believe the lies that whisper, “You don’t have anything to say, you’ll never make it, stop wasting your days and years …” So don’t believe the lies. Take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Transform your mind. Rewire it. I believe, Lord, help my unbelief. Talent is highly overrated. I’m not kidding. It’s the persistent who rise. In the words of Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.”
One of your mission statements, per se, is for your reader to have more life when they finish reading one of your novels. What would be your top three tips for writers to bring their readers’ life through the novels they write?
First, get really, really, really real. I read a quote the other day by a famous singer who said writing songs is like heart surgery. It’s invasive and painful and often fraught with emotional agony. And most writers aren’t willing to do this. But that’s where the healing is. That’s where the freedom comes from. A willingness to tell the true stories, the ones you hope never see the light of day because when they do see the light of day, you invite others to share in your hope and laughter and fears and dreams. And that gives them hope for their own lives.
Second, find your voice. We all grow up learning how to write the same way. That’s economical for the school system, but it doesn’t work in the real world. All write the same way? That’s like saying we should all learn to have the same personality. No. We have to learn to express ourselves in our own unique, quirky, strange, beautiful way. Because if we do, we’ll show people the world in a way they’ve never seen it before. I think voice is simply personality on the page. So let it out. Shut down the voices that say you have to be a certain way. Be you. Until we start cloning people you have all the power inside to be an original.
Third, offer hope and truth. Offer hope that the truth is really true. That we are sons and daughters of the King of Kings. That we have his Spirit inside us. That we can and will overcome and enter into glory beyond glory. That the momentary light affliction we’re going through is nothing compared to what is coming.
Favorite thing to binge-watch: America’s Got Talent. I feel like my dream came true, so I love seeing other people’s dreams come true.
Book(s) currently reading: Redeeming Love, The Drawing of the Three, Marketing Made Simple, The Editor, Till We Have Faces, and Man’s Search for Meaning. Someone told me the other day more people only have one book going at a time, but I’m sure they were kidding.
Favorite song right now: Shadow by Charis
Favorite thing to order at Starbucks (or wherever you get your coffee/tea fix!) Is there anything worth ordering other than a White Chocolate Mocha?
Enter to win a copy of Rooms and The Pages of Her Life from James*
More about Rooms:
On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.
When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.
More about The Pages of Her Life:
Allison Moore is faced with a daunting question: How do you stand up for yourself when it means losing everything?
Allison Moore is making it. Barely. The Seattle area architecture firm she started with her best friend is struggling, but at least they’re free from the games played by the corporate world. She’s gotten over her divorce. And while her dad’s recent passing is tough, their relationship had never been easy.
Then the bomb drops. Her dad had a secret life and left her mom in massive debt.
As Allison scrambles to help her mom find a way out, she’s given a journal, anonymously, during a visit to her favorite coffee shop. As the pressure to rescue her mom mounts, Allison pours her fears and heartache into the journal.
But then the unexplainable happens. The words in the journal, her words, begin to disappear. And new ones fill the empty spaces—words that force her to look at everything she knows about herself in a new light.
Ignoring those words could cost her everything . . . but so could embracing them.