Katie Manion - Interview
How does it feel to join the Sophie Kerr Club?
The whole experience has been a bit surreal, in the best possible way. Reality is starting to sink in though and I am absolutely delighted and honored to be part of the “club.”
First what is your favorite memory from your time at Washington College? What was your favorite memory of the Lit House?
I participated in the Kiplin Hall program in 2009 and it was one of my favorite experiences during my time at WC. I also have some fond memories of sledding and snowball fights that occurred a few years ago, when it still snowed in Chestertown.
Some of the best memories I have of the House were from hanging out and studying there late at night with my friends. During my freshman year, I met some of my closest friends at the House just by spending time there. It was an invaluable resource for drawing together students of all areas of interest and I got to know students of all majors, not just English. I also enjoyed the Writers’ Union Halloween Party at the Lit House each year, as it was a chance to dress up and spend time with friends and club members in a familiar, friendly environment. It always delighted me up to see everyone in crazy costumes in the same venue that some of us have classes, readings, and quiet reading time– it just shows the wide range of uses the House offers, I think!
Which author(s) taught you the most about writing?
Well, the first name that comes to mind is Bob Mooney, my professor and mentor. I’ve spent so much time with him in writing workshops the past few years, I can’t help but feel I’ve learned the most from him. I think he’s taught me the most because he is a writer, he lives the writing lifestyle, and he is also in the position to impart his experiences to his students in a way we can and do understand through a classroom setting. Prof. Mooney’s most valuable advice to me has been helping me to realize a universal truth of writing: perfection doesn’t just happen; in order to get to the “good stuff,” you have to and are going to produce a lot of crap. However, the more and more you write, the better you’ll become at finding what works and what doesn’t and eventually (or at least hopefully) you’ll reach a breakthrough.
I also “learned” a lot simply by reading widely at a young age. My favorite authors as a child inspired me to begin mimicking their styles in my very early stories, so I suppose in a way they helped teach me about writing just by inspiring me to write in the first place.
Some other general advice that I’ve found very helpful, and that can be attributed to numerous writers, is to simply keep on reading as much as possible. I’ve found that the more I read, the more influence my own writing can potentially have.
What was the most important writing lesson you learned during your time at the college?
The most important lesson in writing I’ve learned in college is that revising is a necessary step to writing that is often overlooked. Whether it is academic or creative writing, a piece can always benefit from a close second reading. It is easy to write something and think it is done without re-reading it, but I have found that more often than not, a piece is not done until I have taken the time to revise.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to pursue a career related to writing in some way, whether through working in the publishing industry, teaching, or writing full time. Whatever I end up doing however, I definitely plan to continue writing.