Friday, October 15, 2010

Conquering Writer's Block with Author K.M. Weiland


Today, I am pleased to welcome guest blogger, author K.M. Weiland. She is here to talk about her newly released CD Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration. Welcome, K.M.

Tell us about your new CD.
Click here to order!
Over the last several years, I've been sharing writing tips and essays about the writing life on my blog Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors  Posts on inspiration and fighting writer's bock have always been some of my most popular posts. It's ironic, really: Here we are, a bunch of people who discovered this whole writing business because one day we woke up inspired with an idea for a storyand yet consistent inspiration is something most of us struggle with on almost a daily basis. I wanted to put together a presentation that shared some of my won tricks for encouraging inspiration. Thanks to the Wordplay podcast, I've already had some experience with audio production and thought it would be an interesting adventure to create a CD that would be accessible and helpful to others. 

Besides tips and tricks, what is the best advice you would offer a new writer? 
Approach writing as a labor of love. There are hundreds of easier ways to make money, gain prestige, and become successful. It's possible writing may lead a few of us to that end, but it's never a sure bet (it's not even a good bet). If we're not writing because we love it—because we have an inner itch we can't scratch any other way—the difficulties of the writing life just won't be worth the benefits. But it you're writing from a place of abundance, rather than lack, it's one of the most marvelous ways to live that I can imagine.

You started writing when you were twelve. Describe your writing journey.
Storytelling has always been the language of my soul. I told myself stories throughout my childhood, so progressing to writing them down was a natural step. For five years, from the time I was twelve years old through high school, I produced a small newsletter called Horse Tails, then moved on to writing books. My first novel, the historical western A Man Called Outlaw, was published in 2006.

You have two books in print and two more you are working on. Would you like to talk about them?
Of course! Other than A Man Called Outlaw, I've also written the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, about a condemned knight who journeys to the Third Crusade to escape his past. Dreamers, my first foray into fantasy, tells the story of a man who discovers his dreams are really memories of a world he lives in while he sleeps and which he will, reluctantly, have to fight to save from destruction. Lord willing, it will come out in 2012. I'm also currently writing another historical, set in Kenya after World War I. 

Have you ever felt like giving up, just chucking it all and trying for a less stressful career such as ... a bomb squad technician? 
I did... once. During my early days of writing Behold the Dawn, I wondered for awhile if writing was really something the Lord wanted me to pursue. I prayed about it long and hard, and I actually did stop writing for a bit, before the Lord shoved me back to my desk. I've never looked back since. 

If writing had never grabbed your heart, what would you want to do instead?
When I was young, I wanted to be a horse trainer. Nowadays... well, being a firefighter pilot sounds like fun!

Who/what inspires you?
As discussed in the CD, inspiration is everywhere. All we have to do is learn how to channel it. In my opinion, one of the biggest factors in overcoming writer's block is learning how to be continually open to inspiration. So, I'm inspired by many things: books, movies, music, paintings, nature, my cats... you name it!

Who/what challenges you?
You mean other than life? I'm constantly challenged and inspired by the writing community, particularly my circle of critique partners and the slightly larger circle of folks over at the ChristianWriters forum. It was a very good day when my search engine lead me to that corner of the Web. 

Who are your cheerleaders? 
I'm blessed that my family and friends are extraordinarily supportive of my work—even when they don't completely understand all my writerly craziness!

What discouraging times have you gone through, and what pushed you to continue?
Discouragement ebbs and flows in the creative life. Usually my low point seems to coincide with the difficult parts of the manuscript. (which, for me, inevitably means the first fifty pages). I definitely go through days when I feel like an utter phony. But the fact that I've written seven novels and published two gives me a foundation of confidence that I've done this before and I can do it again. That's why I keep telling new writers it's important they finish stories. Get into the habit of sticking it out, and sticking it out will become easier with every story you write. 

From the time you get out of bed until you fall into it again that night, describe your daily routine. 
Read Bible, exercise, eat breakfast, shower, check email, go to work at my part-time job for a local ministry, eat lunch, check email again, work on odds and ends (usually marketing or editing), write for two hours, eat supper, lollygag through the evening, read for a couple hours, hit the sack. I'm a very boring person, really—but someone once told me I was the most interesting boring person they knew! 

Now, for a few personal questions, because your fans want to know: 
What are your hobbies? 
Does eating and sleeping count? Seriously, I'm a pretty one-track minded person, even if I had time for hobbies.

What are your likes?
Chocolate, cuddly critters, summer, symphonic metal, justice, and war movies. 

What are your dislikes? 
Peaches, miller moths, cold weather, sappy love songs, naiveté, and whodunits.

Who is your favorite author?
Probably Patrick O'Brian. I'm in awe of his historical Aubrey/Maturin series. His voice is incredible. I've given up trying to figure out just how he manages to be so brilliant. 

What is the title of your favorite novel?
The Long Roll by Mary Johnson, a novel of the American Civil War. 

What is your favorite meal? 
Macaroni and cheese. My comfort foods are always warm and squishy.

You have members of your family that are furry and walk on four legs. Tell us about them.
Right now, I have a black Lab named Happy Crazy Bob and four lovely domestic cats: Magnum, Sissy, Yoda, Toothless and George (who's a girl—don't ask!).

Thank you, K.M. for submitting to this interrogation ... um, interview! I really meant interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?
My pleasure. Thanks for hosting me today, Lorna! I would add that along with the CD (which is available, this month only, in a great special offer), I'm excited to announce the launch of my newly designed website this month. Other than the spiffy new look, it also features lots of goodies for helping writers along the road to publication and fulfillment in their writing. Probably the most exciting additions are the Helping Writers Become Authors Network, which offers an excellent package deal on some of my best writing programs and products, and the First Chapter Story Consultation service. You can also find links to my blogs, podcast, monthly e-letter, and my free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters.

K.M Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in the western sandhills of western Nebraska. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her writing tips, editing services, workshops, and her recently released instructional CD, Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration.


  1. Great interview! Good job, Lorna. :)

    And, K.M., you have a cat named Yoda? Sounds like something I'd do... except my hubby won't let me name animals after Star Wars characters. I tried with my dog (wanted to name him Chewbacca, Chewy for short) and he refused. Something about giving the dog the idea it was okay to chew things...

    Will be picking up your MP3 sometime soon. :)

  2. I want to know more about Toothless.

    And I'm finding it hard to believe that you lollygag. ;)

    Great interview! And now I've added The Long Roll to my to-read list.

  3. @Katie: thanks for coming today. It's been a pleasure. :)

    @Liberty: thanks for reading and commenting. Your purchase will become an important part of your writing library.

    @Sandra: thanks for reading and commenting. :)

  4. Thanks so much for having me today, Lorna!

    @Liberty: When he was a kitten, he had these big, droopy, pointed ears. Looked just like Yoda. Except he was black and hairy. ;)

    @Sandra: Toothless was named after the dragon in How to Train Your Dragon. There was a distinct resemblance there too.

  5. Terrific interview, you two! I love this: "Approach writing like a labor of love." That's great as long as an author approaches publishing as a business venture!

    BTW: Your daily routine sounds remarkably like mine, except for the part-time job part.

  6. On the similar routines: great minds work alike, or something like that!

  7. I wanted to comment on your article on writer's block, but I couldn't think of anything to say! :D

    Seriously, great post. ;)

    ~ VT

  8. LOL Thanks, Victor! I appreciate your taking the time to read - and comment! ;)

  9. I think this is the best interview! I love it from the beginning to the end!
    Thank you, Lorna and K.M.!

  10. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

  11. Thanks everyone for stopping by. The interview was tons of fun. :)