[Podcast] Memoir Writer Christina Quist on Baboons, Storytelling, and Morning Pages

3 honing the writing craft podcast post Mar 08, 2021

by Melissa Parks and Dave Goetz

"Will you read this for me?"

It is one of the scariest questions to ask when you are a first-time author seeking feedback. Christina Quist, author of “ Kaleidoscope: absurdly short stories of traveling and unraveling,” can attest to that.

But the feedback Christina received was elemental in shaping her ideas for a book. Christina’s book started out like many books do, as journal entries and blog posts. She knew people liked her writing, but she wasn’t sure if there was a enough for a book.

Enter the reader with feedback: “These stories are great, but they’re not enough. You need to put some meat on these.”

Putting “meat on the bones” is different for every author.

Sometimes it means adding more details to help the reader live what you’re describing. Sometimes it means adding more research. Sometimes it means adding more of your thought process.

For Christina, she had to first recognize that her thinking wasn’t completely clear for the reader.

“I assumed people knew what I was thinking,” says Christina “and were following my thought pattern. But I needed to make a trail of my thoughts, and lead people to how I got there.”

With that initial feedback, Christina embarked on a seven-year journey to turn her skeletal ramblings into a memoir, which she self-published. In this episode, Dave and Melissa talk with Christina about seeking feedback, self-publishing, and tips for writing. One provocative writing tip is develop a habit of “morning pages.”