BIW Member Interview
Connie Weber has lived in Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Connecticut, Scotland, and Hawaii. She now lives in the Seattle area with her husband, son and dog. She’s a former special education teacher, now looking for a new direction. When not writing and job searching, she enjoys snowboarding, gardening, traveling and is learning to rock climb. This past winter, she published her first children’s book and received her MFA in creative writing.
Moe: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Connie Weber: I think I’ve always been a writer. Language, reading and writing came early for me. It was probably in junior high, when I discovered I had filled dozens of spiral notebooks with my stories, that I realized I was a writer. It took me a long time to find a mentor and the kind of support I needed to really develop my writing.
Moe: Describe three lessons you’ve learned about writing.
Connie Weber: 1) I think one of the most important things for me to have learned is that I need to write for myself. I spent a lot of time in my MFA program revising stories and trying to make them what I thought my advisor wanted. In the end, I found out that ultimately, the stories have to please me. Otherwise, they end up going nowhere, or sound so contrived that it’s pitiful. I want others to read my writing, but if the story doesn’t first appeal to me, I don’t see how it can possibly appeal to someone else.
2) A second thing I’ve learned is how intricate the relationship is between being a good reader and being a good writer. I’ve always been a reader, but until I started studying the craft of writing, I read for different purposes. It’s not that I pull apart and annotate every piece I read, but I do look for the way the author has used his or her skills to craft the piece. I underline passages that take my breath away and new words–to look up later.
3) Most important for me, I have found is, I need some structure to keep me focused. I finished my MFA program about six months ago. Since then, my production has gone down significantly. Without the regular deadlines of graduate school, I became lazy and lax; that’s why I’m setting a goal for myself to get at least one submission out per week, and why I joined BIW.
Moe: What are you working on now?
Connie Weber: Right now, I’m working on a couple of children’s picture books, as well as some personal essays. I’ve focused on fiction so much in the past few years, and I’m finding that real life is absolutely fascinating.
Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?
Connie Weber: The book that has helped me the most with actual writing is Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin. The book is very practical, and is filled with exercises that are inspirational. One of the best stories for my master’s thesis was born while I was reading that book. I used a number of Le Guin’s exercises to get me going.
Moe: What is your favorite writing related website?
Connie Weber: Right now, I’m working on marketing some of my work, so I need websites that help me get there. The Write Market has some useful links, and Write4Kids has links to markets, along with a great deal of information for children’s writers. I’m also on some local (Seattle area) writers’ association newsletter lists that provide market information.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Connie Weber: Important BIW tip? Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are plenty of other people out there who are willing to rip your work apart. Do your best, learn all you can, and when someone shoots holes in your manuscript, remember, “It’s about the work, it’s not about me.”