Kimberly Benjamin – Book Journeys Author Interview Transcript – Oct. 13, 2016

Book Journeys Author Interview – Oct. 13, 2016

 

Jenn McRobbie with Kimberly Benjamin, author of Attorney by Day, Novelist by Night: Bring Your Book to Light While Still Practicing Law.

 

Just start, just start.” ~Kimberly Benjamin

 

Jenn:

Well, hello, hello, everyone! Welcome to Book Journeys Radio! Every week, on Book Journeys Radio, we speak to accomplished authors who’ve gone from just having an idea for a book to a finished book, and now being ready to make a difference in the world. Our goal for this show is for you to walk away, inspired and motivated, to write your book, whether it’s your first or your third. Now, today is October 13th, 2016, which might not be an exciting day for you, it might just be y – yet another day, but it’s a big day for the Author Incubator, because we just launched seven new books into the world today. And I’m still a little giddy from watching our live red carpet launch on Facebook. So, if you’re interested, after you’re done listening to me and our featured author, Kim Benjamin, speak, hop on over to Facebook, look for the Author Incubator and you can watch a red carpet launch that we did for the first time on Facebook, live, today. So, anyway, I’m carrying over this super fun energy that existed at the launch, and I’m so excited to introduce you to Kim Benjamin, who is the author of Attorney by Day, Novelist by Night. Welcome, Kim!

 

Kim:

Thanks, Jenn, I’m really excited to be here, I love your enthusiasm.

 

Jenn:

Thank you, thank you. I know my enthusiasm isn’t always awesome at five o’clock in the morning, when my husband would rather sleep, but I think it works for our podcast. We’re so glad to have you here!

 

Kim:

…. Thank you, I’m so excited for all the authors that launched today, that’s awesome.

 

Jenn:

Yes, super exciting. And you and I were just speaking, before we got – we went live here, and Kim didn’t know, and maybe our listeners don’t know, but I used to be a practicing attorney also. I called myself a “recovering attorney,” so, I’m so excited to hear more about your book and your writing process.

 

Kim:

….

 

Jenn:

Can you please tell me – can you please tell me, and everyone listening, what Attorney by Day, Novelist by Night is about and who it’s for?

 

Kim:

Yes, I’d love to do that, thank you. First off, I love your title, “recovering attorney,” I think that’s beautiful. ‘Cause that kind of segues into a lot of what encouraged me to write the book, which is that I grew up in a family of attorneys, I’ve worked with attorneys in other businesses, and I – such a huge percentage of them have this … hidden desire to write this book, I mean, almost everyone that I – I – … that I know, it’s either … – some of them write songs, some of them write poems, it’s fascinating to me. And hearing stories … that just never made it to print, it was just – writing a book was always a big dream of mine and it just became so apparent to me that – … attorneys, you guys have to live by reading and writing, that’s your business, so –

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

It was – it was just – it was a super motivating factor for me, because so many that I knew wanted to write a book and just never – just never quite pulled the trigger on that, and I wanted to put something out there that maybe would encourage them to just follow that.

 

Jenn:

I love that. I – I mean, it – it took me not being an attorney to get my book written using Angela’s Difference Process, but I have two or three unfinished novels, just sitting on my computer somewhere, so –

 

Kim:

Oooh, that’s ….

 

Jenn:

– you are definitely speaking my language, Kim!

 

Kim:

That is very intriguing, I’d love to hear about them.

 

Jenn:

Yes, we’ll have to talk more about that at some point, because it definitely is – … it’s hard, when you’re working in a job, I think, where reading and writing is all you do, to enjoy that process for yourself. So, how do you suggest that people who read and write for a living – how do you suggest that they begin to enjoy that process?

 

Kim:

You ask a perfect question, because what you just said was, you don’t enjoy it because you have to do it and it’s become so rote, but the things that you have to write is so regulated –

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Kim:

– … I’m so familiar with all the things you have to … to the court, and how you have to be faced and typeset and – I – I think it takes away that – … – that … desire to write something. I think – …. when you’re writing … very exciting … cases, that you – you … lose that enthusiasm, because you – you go from telling a story to basically just – … sending an outline in. So –

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Kim:

What – … I said my opinion, but – so – I – that I’d like to encourage my clients to do, is to remember that passion that actually … there, because so many people that I’ve talked to were actually English majors, or … history majors, and there was – there was …. that interest from the very beginning, … the writing part was … appealing to most of the people that I’ve talked to. So, I think that getting in touch with that passion again is the key to finding time to really enjoy writing. I think, if you have to come out … what it is about writing that you enjoy. What is it about reading that you enjoy?

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

… bringing that back into the forefront of – of what you do, and putting your … in another corner.

 

Jenn:

I love that idea of turning it into something that – that you – … reminding yourself about what you loved about it.

 

Kim:

….

 

Jenn:

It’s such a powerful thing.

 

Kim:

… exactly, … it just – it – I think it works for all of us, but I think that there’s something very magical about remembering what motivated you to begin.

 

Jenn:

Yes. Yes, I think you’re right. Now, I know people often think writing is easy for attorneys, for the reason – many of the reasons that you just stated, which is that they do it pretty much all day long, so, was it the case for you, that writing this book was easy?

 

Kim:

Gosh, I wouldn’t say that. I – I – I know, I – … I’m like everybody else, I’m like all of us, …. Sounds like a great thing, and you … have a fire and you start and you’re all revved up and everything, and the – and then you … – then, the real world steps in, … –

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

– and – and your spouse, or your – your children, or your job, or everything else, and you come home in the afternoon and you’re depleted, and it’s … “Aw, can’t do that, I’m just too tired to do that.” So, I wouldn’t say it was easy, I don’t think it’s easy for any of us, but I think that … place where understanding what – what motivates you to get up in the morning. And – and I think what you can … happens to that – that part of it, that energy that …  – … what’s on Saturday, we sure … get up on Saturday, ‘cause we’re not going to work.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

So, … there’s something that – “Oh, yeah, that’s what … in the morning.” But there’s something there that we’re looking for, and that I think, when it comes to writing, it was really – it’s about being able to get in touch with that. As for me, with the book, … it was remembering my … for writing the book in the first place, particularly – I have a sister that I’m very, very close to, and she and I were actually collaborating on a novel at one point, and – like you said, it turns – you have to write all the time, so it seems that would be easy, but … it’s tiresome! It’s … anything you … do, eight or ten hours a day, as an attorney. Ten or twelve a day, sometimes. Ye – … and the …. so, it – it really is about finding that – that thing that … gets you excited about doing it again.

 

Jenn:

So, what was that thing for you, then? What got you excited about writing this book?

 

Kim:

That thing was actually remembering my purpose for writing it, which was that I knew there were so many people out there that had so much to say, had so many great things to say, so much that … to come out, for themselves, but also for – for the world, … be able to share that gift with other people.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

So, … Angela’s process is perfect for that, because whenever I got stuck, I would just sit back and remind myself who I was writing it for, … who the ideal reader was. What my motivation for doing it was, to begin with.

 

Jenn:

I love that.

 

Kim:

And … shifted some of that energy. Yeah, she does a great job of that, so – but it … shifts that energy, being about me and having writer’s block to – no, really, that’s not what it’s about at all. So, for me, it’s very – that was very helpful, to go back to.

 

Jenn:

That’s – … that’s good for me to remember, because I had … forgotten that part of the process for me, too, is that, when you focus on your reader, instead of yourself, you have this drive that you don’t necessarily have when you’re stuck in your own head.

 

Kim:

Exactly. … it gets so easy – “Okay, I can’t finish this chapter, I don’t know what I’ll say,” and then, if you can shift that to, “Okay, who am I writing to?”

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

What does that person need to hear? … –

 

Jenn:

But how did you – how did you remind yourself who that person was, then?

 

Kim:

Yeah, actually, which is … part of the process, as you know, is I defined the person that I wanted to write to. And it became a very intimate process, actually, when I … actually wrote out this person’s life and – and how she felt about writing, what was really important to her, how this is a big part of a dream that she had, and … I can refer back to that. I can look at that and say, “You know, there’s somebody out there that really needs that encouragement, that really is looking for some sort of guidance or help or solution to – to – to finishing that novel, or maybe even just starting it.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

And … and handy, … it just really, really – it just really helped the process for me, because I could just look at that and go, “You know, I really – I’ve got to finish this, this is important,” so … it’s not about me, it’s not important just for me, it’s important for those people, so ….

 

Jenn:

I love that. I love the … merger, yeah! I – I love the merger of – of … your goal and your reader’s goal, I think … it’s such a – a good way, or a good thing that you get out of this process for how to … break through some of the scary parts of writing a book.

 

Kim:

Oh, yeah, exactly!

 

Jenn:

Yeah.

 

Kim:

… if you’re sitting there, and you’re … “Oh, this is – this is not working out, this sounds like garbage, this is horrible,” …

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

“This is not gonna help anybody, what am I doing,” … all those stuff, right? … all just sitting there, going, “What was I thinking? What … decided this was a good idea?” Right? … Yeah, you’re just …, “Okay, I don’t know what I was doing that day, but hope that I don’t do it again.:”

 

Jenn:

Yes.

 

Kim:

Anyway, if you can have that – yeah! Yes, if you can have that reason that you can refer to, you can go, “Wait a minute. This is why I’ve done this.” And I just need to get out of my own way … get my head out of the clouds and just really think about that person. … it’s a huge transformation, being able to finish.

 

Jenn:

… that’s amazing. So, what do you think is different about – … because this book is nonfiction, right?

 

Kim:

Right.

 

Jenn:

Do you think that there’s anything different, between writing nonfiction and writing fiction?

 

Kim:

… I really don’t – don’t think so, … I’m talking a lot about my motivation for wanting to help other people, but the way that that drive can still be there, in nonfiction, too – I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but … the reason that we all come up with an idea for a book, or we start a book, is because there’s something inside of us that – that needs to be said.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

… Elizabeth – Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this in her book, Big Magic, about how there’s … there’s something that kind of … write book, gotta write this out. And I think that that drive is just as – just as big and just as important … when you’re writing nonfiction.

 

Jenn:

Yup.

 

Kim:

… look at all the nonfiction stories that they’ve just made such a huge impact on our society and – … I think that’s huge, I think it can be just as – or more, … – evolutionary and changing the way people look at things.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

… anything that’s out there that comes through you that somebody can pick out and it can … give them a … perspective, or maybe brighten their day, or –

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

– … beautiful, so I think that drive is just as big with nonfiction.

 

Jenn:

Yeah, so it doesn’t have to be a dystopian society for us to be able to see ourselves.

 

Kim:

Exactly!

 

Jenn:

It is, we can see ourselves any day.

 

Kim:

Perfect, that’s a great analogy, yeah.

 

Jenn:

… that’s – I read dystopian novels to …, but I found that, when I was writing, … – my book was also nonfiction, and that – it surprised me, that I was actually going to go through with a nonfiction book, but I think you’re right that the process is not really all that different. ….

 

Kim:

No, it’s … not.

 

Jenn:

Yeah, that getting in touch with your reader and purpose –

 

Kim:

Exactly.

 

Jenn:

– not just your desire, … – that those things are all the same, whether we’re writing poetry or fiction or nonfiction or letters to our children’s teachers.

 

Kim:

No, it’s – I tell you again, it’s anything, anything that you have, it’s – because it’s releasing a part of ourselves, and so, there’s something that we – we feel that we need to say, there’s something that needs to be said.

 

Jenn:

Yeah.

 

Kim:

Which means that there’s someone out there that needs to hear it, so the purpose is the same.

 

Jenn:

Yes.

 

Kim:

… when I first started writing and thinking about writing a nonfiction book, I was – this was … so far away … else that I’ve written, that I had to think, “Uh, … what am I doing?” ….

 

Jenn:

I think – no, I think you’re right, when you are – especially when you work in and are focused on such – in such a cerebral field as … law or – … anything like that, that you begin to believe that the only way you can escape that style of writing is by doing the exact opposite style of writing.

 

Kim:

….

 

Jenn:

And I don’t think that that’s really true.

 

Kim:

No, I don’t think that it is, but I do see how that can – … that would be a very prevalent thought, because, yes, … – the confines of the legal profession, okay, are so rigid, ….

 

Jenn:

Right. Yes.

 

Kim:

There’s – they’re so defined, and I – like I said, I grew up with hearing that, … deadlines, and missing this, and … and … it was … “Oh, my gosh,” … it’s so completely rigid, and – and it’s true that … that I know, given a choice, after work … I think, is nonfiction, because it’s escapism –

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

– … or fiction, because, yeah, they wanna get away from all of that. But – … I totally agree, it does not have to be that way. I think that getting in touch with that inner drive, or that inner purpose, or that spark, really, that started it all is – is critical, yes.

 

Jenn:

Yes, that’s just great. What – what’s the difference, about writing or publishing your book, than you expected?

 

Kim:

… I guess – I have to be completely honest, as I said, like you shared with me, that you have … these novels unfinished. My writing … has never been published, ….

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

So, it was kind – I was … “Okay,” it’s okay when I was writing at home and I wasn’t sure that anybody was gonna see it.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

And then, all of a sudden, … you’re putting it out there, and it’s “Uh, oh, yeah, people are gonna read this, yes, got my name on it.” So, there is an element, as – yeah, there’s some anxiety there that I don’t think I was expecting, quite as much.

 

Jenn:

Yeah.

 

Kim:

There was also this – on the …, there was this – there is this enormous feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at having actually done it, …. It’s such an evolutionary process, as you know –

 

Jenn:

Yes.

 

Kim:

– that you’re different, the way you finished the book, than the person that started it.

 

Jenn:

Yes!

 

Kim:

… for me, anyway. I know … for you, but if you – you learned so much about yourself, so there’s so many things that come up, in that you’re not expecting to be part of the writing process, but it’s – it’s there, all the things that come up about what you’re doing.

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

So, … that was different for me, I’m sitting at home in my computer and … writing things, putting it in a file sitting in a drawer than actually … to the editor. ….

 

Jenn:

I don’t know what you’re talking about at all, Kim, I’ve never done that.

 

Kim:

I can imagine, right, of course, really, I did that, that’s what I’m saying. ….

 

Jenn:

Yeah, exactly. None of the people listening, and – and neither of us here have ever –

 

Kim:

Ever, ever did. ….

 

Jenn:

– written things that he had hidden away, hoping they never see the light of day.

 

Kim:

Do you ever sign things, … years later, that, “Oh, my gosh, when did I write that? I don’t even remember writing that, yeah, yeah, ….

 

Jenn:

It actually happened when I wrote this book, when I – when I wrote Why Is She Acting So Weird, is when all of those old novels that I had never finished, when they resurfaced.

 

Kim:

Really?

 

Jenn:

And I thought that was really interesting – yeah, I think, for me, it was, once I was tapping into this idea that I am an author, that – but it’s part of my identity, then this – the Universe and my computer began to conspire to show me that I’d been that all along.

 

Kim:

… which is a beautiful – … it’s a beautiful awareness. That it’s fascinating is … all of these things that you had done before, I do, I agree with you, it’s … to the – slowly … begin to bubble up and –

 

Jenn:

Yes!

 

Kim:

Can make that apparent, which ….

 

Jenn:

Yes! Yes, exactly. … we spent – we’re spending  all this time, though, talking about learning to enjoy writing, and – but did you enjoy writing every part of this book?

 

Kim:

Oh, are you kidding? Absolutely not. No – yeah. No, that would be a pipe dream.

 

Jenn:

Yes.

 

Kim:

No, it’s – yeah. It’s a real process, and … like you said, all these things that you’ve written before start to bubble up and you become aware of the fact that you’ve always been a writer, and that you are an author. And at the same time, … that brings a lot of your … things up, too, and then … it’s like anything else, … you – you – … for me, for example, there’s certain – your schedule changes, somewhat. Okay, … you come home tired, and … you have kids and are married and you have to make dinner and – and you begin to … evaluate life. Okay, do I wanna watch television for an hour or do I wanna write for an hour?

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

And – … it really …scale to that, and … sometimes, you’re not really gonna wanna watch television. ….

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

But – but it’s – it’s clear that, being aware that – is being aware – … kind but firm with yourself about … what – what you’re doing and – and it – it’s really … supported, ask yourself … how vested are you?

 

Jenn:

Yeah.

 

Kim:

How … to you, or just – keep on … questions like that ‘cause everybody thinks that, “Of course, you’ll support me. I wanna do this.” ….

 

Jenn:

Right! Why else would I be doing this?

 

Kim:

Yeah. Why else would I be doing this? Are you crazy? Why are you asking me that question? But … how much do you wanna do it? How important is it to you? …. So, that’s when that’s – … was there any …? Yeah, that’s the …. How –

 

Jenn:

Did you write every day, Kim, when you were writing for this book?

 

Kim:

… actually, I – I did. Just – part of the things – and I see it in my book, where I … did – the first thing I do every morning is get – when I actually don’t write for twenty or thirty minutes just set free for myself, is – what I’ve discovered is that it’s – it’s very helpful for … that’s greasing the wheel, is the best way to say it.

 

Jenn:

Right, definitely.

 

Kim:

So, there was – there’s days that I wrote, … everything I wrote was … – … I’m not saying that it was applicable, but – …

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

– it made it .. stir the garbage into it. But, yeah, it was – it’s … training for a marathon, or anything else that you do that you’re working out towards something, I think that process – and I didn’t want to call it a discipline, because if you do that, it sounds so … and restrictive –

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

– but I just think that process of just allowing yourself, which is how I like to go about it – allowing yourself the time to write … –

 

Jenn:

I love that.

 

Kim

– it’s … magical.

 

Jenn:

Yes.

 

Kim:

… thank you. It’s ….

 

Jenn:

No, I really do. I love that idea of … allowing ourselves to – to do it, because, in some ways, writing can feel like a – a hidden treasure –

 

Kim:

….

 

Jenn:

– and one that we might want – … that we want – might want to deny ourselves because we have … laundry and kids and work and … all the other things that – that distract you from.- I really love that idea of allowance.

 

Kim:

Right! Exactly. Yeah, I think that that’s really … critical, because you’re right, … it’s … this guilty kind of pleasure, ….

 

Jenn:

Right.

 

Kim:

And – and it’s really not that … critical to who we are, it’s just – so, …, that’s how I like to look at it.

 

Jenn:

Yeah. …. So, what is the best thing that’s come out of now, having your own book published?

 

Kim:

Well, I’ve … Paris, which is phenomenal, and that has a lot to do with – it’s just like how you – if you start to walk toward one of your dreams, and you’ve actually … uncovered that, how so many other things … bubble up that you begin to really consider pursuing. It – it’s …, “Okay, I did that. I could – I could do books, and I can do books, and – and it’s … all amazing and … encouraged, because I do! … for me, it’s an amazing process, just to go … “Yeah, okay, this is what …, yeah, this is … – and … it’s just have an awareness that I didn’t have, I think, … finished the book.

 

Jenn:

Right!

 

Kim:

Where the leads, or whatever you wanna call it, but suddenly becomes real, … “No, I did this, I can do this, I can help other people do this.” ….

 

Jenn:

Oh, that’s fascinating, I love that.

 

Kim:

Saying it’s been great. Now, my … classes are a whole different subject, but – but Paris is wonderful!

 

Jenn:

Paris sounds wonderful, I’ve actually never been, but it is a goal of mine, and now that I know you live there, I’m going to come and visit you, so we can talk about these unfinished novels I have. It would be amazing.

 

Kim:

…. I’d love to know about your novels, … fabulous.

 

Jenn:

It is, it – … and as I always say, they’re all a work in progress, I am a work in progress, and so it takes time. But –

 

Kim:

We’re all a work in progress.

 

Jenn:

… – which is not the truth. …we’ve been talking about what it’s like, essentially, to be an attorney and then have this creative side of yourself that isn’t being fed, but is your book really just for attorneys?

 

Kim:

No, actually, it’s not.

 

Jenn:

Yes.

 

Kim:

I wrote it specifically with attorneys in mind, because that’s my – … that family, that’s my history, that’s … – that … started the whole thing, but … the principles in there actually … to anyone who’s interested in writing a book, and – and actually working with someone who’s not an attorney, and – and have another client that’s also – is going to write a book that she’s been sitting on for awhile, and she’s also not an attorney, so the guidelines and the principles in there are pretty universal, so anyone that has that interest or desire.

 

Jenn:

I love that.

 

Kim:

I’m glad you got that, I appreciate that.

 

Jenn:

Yeah, no problem, I just – I started thinking about it, and I realized – to know all these things we’re talking about go so much deeper than just – … just to the legal field. So, we only have a few minutes left, and before we wrap up I would just like everyone to know that if you want to know more about Kim, you can find her on the Web at kimberlybenjamincoaching.com. You ca also find her on Facebook or Twitter, and if you are interested in maybe pursuing the creative writing, this – this breaking through to writing a novel, then I highly recommend you looking her up. And in closing, can you give everyone some advice about … if they want to write a book but they haven’t been able to finish it? What would you say to someone in that position?

 

Kim:

… I would probably say someone should try the Nike thing that says, “Just do it.” I – it sounds awful for me to say that, and very simplistic, but the truth is, if you want to write a book, there’s something that you need to say, and there are people that need to hear it, so sharing your voice is an amazing … for you, and it’s a gift that …. So, … yeah, just – just start, just start.

 

Jenn:

Just start. I don’t think that we can really have any more eloquent words than that, so we will wrap up this episode of Book Journeys Radio. I hope you enjoyed listening to Kim, and I chat as much as I enjoyed chatting with Kim, and join us again, next Thursday, where we talk to another author in transformation. Thanks, Kim!

 

Kim:

Thank you, Jenn, I really appreciated and enjoyed it.

 

Jenn:

So did I. ‘Bye.

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