13 / The Next Step

Vanessa Hua has done something most of us never will: She's traveled to faraway places including China, Burma, Panama, South Korea, and Ecuador to report. Here she shares what steps she took to transform a career working in business and tech journalism (at the L.A. Times, Hartford Courant, and San Francisco Examiner and later Chronicle) into her dream job of reporting abroad. How do you even conceive of an overseas reporting project? Vanessa shares smart tips for getting started and applying for fellowships.

In addition to being an accomplished journalist—read her column in the San Francisco Chronicle—Vanessa is also a fiction writer (seek out her book of short stories, Deceit and Other Possibilities, and watch for her novel, A River of Stars, coming this year). Listen to her tell me how to get started on your book, and let's make #buttinthechair happen this year. Plus: thoughts on getting the most out of a mentoring relationship and finding your writing tribe. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin.

12 / Let the Others Be Average

Life TK is breaking the rules this week, because Caitlin Kelly's career didn't begin in her 20s—she started in high school. The award-winning journalist and author of two books recounts how she got her first assignment and a fellowship that changed the trajectory of her career, and tells us how to write a good profile when your subject won't even talk to you. Plus, thoughts on micro-mentoring, the detriments of cheerleading culture, and a dose of tough love. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called Colrain and The Zeppelin.

11 / Ask and Give in the Same Sentence

Freelance entertainment, culture, and travel writer Valentina Valentini (Vanity Fair, the BBC, Departures, The L.A. Times, VICE, Refinery29, the list goes on!) was 19 when she abandoned the political science degree she was pursuing at a school in Boston and moved to San Diego without a plan. Valentina and I connect on a spiritual level about our love of organization, and we discuss how scary it was for her to find a job in the middle of the L.A. writers' strike, how she made her first story happen, her best pitching advice, and much more. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin.

10 / Don't Get in the Elevator with Anna

Deenie Hartzog-Mislock, formerly the copy director of Vogue, now a full-time freelance copywriter, essayist, and blogger, has one of the most unique "how did I get to be a writer" stories—it involves auditions and fishnets as much as it does F. Scott Fitzgerald. Here's Deenie on how "I don't have time" really means "I don't want it enough," the fine art of politely needling your way into getting an assignment, and, of course, what it's like to work at the one-and-only Vogue with the equally one-and-only Anna Wintour. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin.

9 / Work Harder! Lean In!

Vanessa Grigoriadis, contributing editor at the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, and author of the new book Blurred Lines, on reporting about sexual consent on college campuses, the glory days of magazine journalism, influencers, why working in your twenties is so important, meeting Harvey Weinstein, and chillaxing with Mariah Carey. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

8 / Badass, Renaissance, Whatever-You-Need Editor!

Happy Friday from Life TK—here's a jazzy little bonus episode, an interview with my dear friend Ettie Berneking! Ettie, a food and drinks writer and social media consultant, had the poor luck of visiting me in Brooklyn the week she turned 30. So I stopped her from enjoying an egg sandwich and made her talk to me about this EXCITING life transformation. Plus: the weird way we met, finding the courage to go full-time freelance, and the importance of selling yourself. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

6 / Fear and Doubt at Every Stage!

Poet Arisa White goes deep in this episode of Life TK, discussing her early days as an arts coordinator—wrangling dancers and writing poems on command—the magic of collaboration (and the one that didn’t quite work at first), what it’s like to be an opera librettist, projects that are daunting throughout the entire process, and finding inspiration in the childlike question of “Why?” Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

5 / Go to the Damn Job!

This is a very special episode—it's my call with Linda Ellerbee, award-winning journalist (seriously, pick an honor...she's won it) and my introduction to current events (Nick News, anyone?). I talked to Linda about the jobs she's never told anyone about—these are not on the résumé—getting fired from the AP, plus sexism, feminism...all the hard-hitting -isms. Please read Linda's And So It Goes and Move On. They. Are. So. Good. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

4 / Things Are Going to Start Happening to Me Now!

It's a reference from The Jerk, everyone. Channel your inner Steve Martin with the Emily Gould episode of Life TK. Emily, co-founder of feminist press Emily Books (emilybooks.com) and author of And the Heart Says Whatever and Friendship, talks to me about what it's like to work in book publishing, when it's time to give up and when it's time to lean in, finding your writing people, and astrology. Spoiler alert: Saturn returned in her twenties, and, according to Emily, the worst years were between 20 and...31. Yikes. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

 

3 / Tenacity...Some People Call It Stalking!

Life TK hero and author of more than a dozen books, Laurie Notaro (humor essay collection The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, more recently historical novel Crossing the Horizon) cracks me up over trifocals, mullets, unattended babies, the accident that got her back to college, and being tenacious AF (aka Never. Giving. Up). Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

2 / If It's Not a Hell Yes, It's a No!

Writer Leigh Stein (The Fallback Plan, Dispatch from the Future, Land of Enchantment) talks about a stint at the New Yorker, starting a nonprofit, the burden of being the hardest worker in the room, feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable, and “Just Ask!®” culture. Listen below or subscribe in iTunes.