Maggie Kast is the author of The Crack Between the Worlds: A Dancer’s Memoir of Loss, Faith and Family. Her first novel, A Free, Unsullied Land, is forthcoming from Fomite Press in November 2015. She will be leading our small session on “Publishing Memoir and Fiction” and speaking on our panel “Late Bloomers: Publishing Later in Life” at CWC 2015.
What’s a day of work look like for you? What’s your process?
I like to write before I talk, so I go from the images of dreams to words on paper. I get up at 5:30 most days and write until the process runs out, which might be an hour or five but usually in between.
What has been the biggest help (piece of advice, mentor, or particular opportunity) for your career?
The biggest help in my whole writing time was he low-residency MFA program at Vermont College and the wonderful mentors and fellow students I found there. The biggest help recently was Kevin McIlvoy’s novel workout, a weekend program in which he reads the entire manuscript and gives you individual feedback, as well as lecturing each day to the small group.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in writing?
I didn’t choose. It just happened. My body aged, and I couldn’t “think movement” any more. I started freewriting along the lines suggested by Julia Cameron’s morning pages, and somewhere amongst the drivel units of meaning began to grow.
Why attend the Chicago Writers Conference?
Networking, networking, networking. Contact with other writers gives me ideas about paths to follow especially in getting the work out to the world. Writing is so solitary that bouncing off others is essential.