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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Enjoy The Magic While You Can

In the early 90s I renewed my interest in a childhood hobby—sleight of hand. I started going to a local magic club, met other magicians, and learned new tricks.

During my first visit to the club they played a video of renowned coin magician David Roth. It blew my mind. I sat mesmerized as coins vanished from under one playing card and instantly appearing under another.

I realized I had discovered a new level of magic I’d never experienced as a kid. A sense of wonder gripped me as I tried to fathom how the tricks were done. From that moment on I devoured books, videos, and watched as other magicians taught how to make the magic happen.

A year and a half later I was performing many of the same tricks that held me spellbound at those first club meetings. I loved seeing the look of astonishment in friend’s eyes as I performed, but I’d lost the wonder. I now stood behind the curtain.

The Writing Magic

When I leapt into the writing world, every conversation about publishing held the same wonder as that first magic club meeting. Every book on craft, every interview with a published author, every article in Writer’s Digest mesmerized me as the coins did. And going to my first conference in ’06? Disneyland!

A year later I became a category coordinator for the ACFW Genesis contest and secretly dreamed of a day when I would be asked to judge an entry. I dreamed of a day when I would enter my own manuscript in the Genesis contest.

I dreamed of the time I would get an agent, then a contract. I fantasized about the day I would hold my own novel, and about the day I’d get an e-mail from a reader saying my book had impacted them. I got a bit giddy when pretending another author would ask me to endorse their book.

Now those days of wonder are gone. I got the agent and the contract. I sat on my front porch and held my first novel in my hands, and my eyes grew moist. Holding my second novel was different. It was nice, but it didn’t get suddenly dusty like it did before. I’d stepped behind the curtain.

Don’t misunderstand. I love being where I’m at on the publishing journey. And I know there is more wonder coming. But it’s different now.

I suppose this entire post is a way to say to those of you who are pre-published, trust me, while it’s hard waiting, there is magic in those moments. Savor them. They won’t come again.

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


  1. So true, but it's always so hard to live in the moment, especially after the sting of writing rejections! Kind of like when people tell you to "enjoy your kids while they're young" and you're in the midst of changing diapers/sleepless nights. It's true, that time does seem to have gone by quickly, in retrospect.

  2. We writers can be in such a hurry we rush right past doors we should enter. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. That's why it's important to hope in the right things.

  3. Amen, Jim. If I could go back, I would have taken all kinds of goofy pictures and videos, signing my first contract, cashing my first writing check, opening the box to see my debut for the first time... There are other magical moments but like falling in love and getting married, the falling in love part is a great memory that sustains through inevitable tougher times.

  4. It is hard, Heather, and easy for me to say on this side right? But as many (if not all) authors will tell you, getting published isn't the panacea we're tempted to think it is.

    I like that, Janaly: rushing past doors we should enter.

    So true, Gina! I would have taken more shots too. :)


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