So I’ve gotten some tweets about it and I thought I’d do a little catch up here since I can write more on Tumblr than on Twitter.
As some of y’all have noticed, I’m no longer working for Thought Catalog in an official capacity. I love them. They’re amazing and wonderful and the split is totally amicable — beyond amicable. They’ve been my home for more than a year and they’ve skyrocketed my writing and kept me fresh and my writing muscle in great shape. But! Some other stuff is going on and I can’t work there full-time anymore. It’s bittersweet!
So! Where will I be writing? Well, there’s stuff in the works for me to keep writing for the Internet, so no worries there. I have more articles coming for Cosmopolitan and other magazines. I am working on a book of essays and will be releasing some more longer-form writing online for you guys to read very soon! I also want to write on this Tumblr every morning but I want to know if you guys would be into that. When I worked for TC, I would wake up and write first thing and I think that’s been very good for me so I’d love to continue to do that on this blog — just get my morning thoughts out in 300-800 word snippets. Would you guys be into that?
So peeps who were concerned: Everything is so, so good with me career-wise. I’ve been SUPER busy. I went to LA and met with a slew of awesome people about writing and working in TV. It was unbelievable and humbling and wonderful to hear such positive stuff about my work and to learn how other people make it in this business. I wish I could disclose specifics but I don’t think I can. Let’s just Jewishly say I was plotzing the whole time. On Thursday, I’m headed to Florida to hang with my family for a few days, write, go on some doctor’s appointments. You know, real cool stuff.
I’m basically at a place right now where I want to own my writing in every way possible and I am fortunate enough to just barely be able to do that. I want to produce stuff for you all that I am proud of and that comes directly from me, if that makes sense. I’ll keep you updated on future gigs and you can always come here and read my writing — I really will do that morning essay thing if enough people say they’d be about it.
Okay, now I have to go to therapy aka buy comic books from Forbidden Planet aka no but for real, my therapist is right next to a comic book store so I should probably just do one of those and it’d take care of what both are supposed to do, right? Okay, bye.
LOVE LOVE LOVE
I will be answering questions about how to get started freelance writing @reddit AMA tomorrow at 1:30pm ET! http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/ Check it. If you want to talk writing as a career and freelancing or other Qs about me, I guess, come! Hopefully this will be helpful to people!
I started writing journalism and journaling when I was a child. I’d watch my neighbors in their backyards and write down “reports” in my notebook, I had short fiction published in a children’s literary magazine, I became an obsessive Livejournaler as a teen. I landed my first professional journalism job when I was 15 years old as an intern at the local newspaper. I was a crime reporter for the Boston Globe by 19. Writing articles and essays is never easy, but it’s certainly familiar.
So now I’m 24. And for the first time, I’ve started writing in a new format. It is very exciting and refreshing. I’ve been writing scripts. I wrote a spec script and I wrote an original pilot.
Yesterday, in the car, I told this to my very practical comedian friend Myq Kaplan.
“That’s great!” he said. “Now what are you going to do with them?”
I…had not considered that.
And honestly, I don’t know. I know that I’m known primarily for one form of writing — reporting and personal essay. I’ve had some lovely success there. I know that when people reach out to me to do freelance writing jobs for them it is mostly for that kind of writing. So, I thought, if I want to start working on another aspect of writing (more closely related to the comedy which I’ve been doing for the past five years as well), I have to have the examples to back it up.
So now I have them.
I feel a bit strange putting that out there because there’s this pressure to always seem in control or knowledgeable lest you, I don’t know, get taken advantage of like some kind of showbiz Little Red Riding Hood.
This is all new to me. I bought some books called “How To Write For TV” and plowed through them. Then, I wrote a pilot. I think the next step is letting people know I am doing this, right? Letting them know I am interested and what I am up to. So that I can keep getting more opportunities to write the way I do now with journalism and essays.
So hey guys. Maybe this is weird and forward, but let’s get reacquainted.
My name is Gaby Dunn. This is my Tumblr.
I am a writer and comedian. I live in New York City, but I don’t have to. I choose to because I love it here. I have written for many publications including the New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, Salon, Jezebel, etc. I have upcoming articles for New York Magazine and for Slate so that’s pretty exciting. I am an editor at Thought Catalog. I do not have a day job. Those are the ways I make money. I live in a very cheap apartment. I eat mostly granola bars.
I also write and perform comedy! I am a stand up comedian who has been at it for three years, but right now I am focusing more on improv because I was cast on a People’s Improv Theater house team six months ago. We perform every week so I am getting a lot of experience there. I also write and perform in sketches, which I’ve done since my freshman year of college.
I have just finished a spec script, which I think is okay! and an original pilot, which I think is pretty freakin’ good.
I am always looking to write for more publications. I am also always looking for advice from agents or managers of any kind! I am not offended by advice. I also love answering questions about comedy if you have them. Feel free to send those my way.
That is me!
Who are you? Do you know some things I should know to move my career forward? Would you like to know more? Do you enjoy reading pilots and telling people if they are good or not? Are you an agent or manager? Are you a cool person who wants to be in touch?
Let’s chat! email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you think I should do now?
I am the most jealous person in the world. It’s never over something as frivolous as boyfriends or love though.
More than anything, I’m supremely jealous of my friends’ professional accomplishments. It’s a huge problem in my life and something I realized I really needed to work on. It’s not fun being so petty all the time.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy for my friends who are successful. But every article published, every movie role landed, every show booked, every book deal acquired makes my hands wring together. I’m smiling, but I’m also murderous. Like the Joker fused with Lady MacBeth, except more crazy.
The big thing is that I’m wrong. I don’t have to be jealous of my friends because all their success means is that I have the best, most talented friends in the world. I’ve started making a conscious effort to change the way I see other people’s accomplishments. Whatever good things happen to other people don’t belittle or change what I’m up to. It’s not a scale; it doesn’t take away from me, if someone I know succeeds.
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s generally a group of really talented people who all find each other in some way — the British invasion, the Beat poets, 90s comedians, 1920’s expatriate writers in Paris, the artists of the Renaissance, East Coast/West Coast rappers.
Instead of going with my instinct to tear people down, I’m pushing myself to lift them up, to make an effort to work together, to support other successful people in my life.
This is something I have to constantly remind myself to do, but it’s really been worth it for my psyche and self-esteem.
Game recognize game, guys. All it means when the people I know succeed is that I know some pretty awesome people.
A week ago, I went out for coffee with a new friend I’d met through a part-time freelance job. She was interested in getting her writing out there more, and wanted to know how I got published so often. It’s a question I get a lot and I got it a lot today because of this article about me. Because of that, I feel like I’m misleading people.
Here’s the ugly truth (TM Katherine Heigl) that no one likes to talk about: You’re only seeing the successes.
All you see are the pieces I’ve pitched that were accepted. You’re seeing the 3-5 stories a week that I do get published. What you don’t see is that I pitch probably 10-15 pieces that get rejected.
I spend entire days putting together and researching pages and pages of pitches. In the end, I’ll probably write one of them, if I’m lucky. I pitched to two different editors of an inflight magazine for weeks, only for them to reject everything I sent. I pitch to the New York Times Magazine constantly. You see the two stories I did get published. I see the twenty-five rejections that came with it.
I did one interview with Business Insider and got coverage in the New Yorker, but I also got strung along for months by a producer at NPR who eventually decided they don’t want me on air or spent time putting together a segment for MTV News that ended up on the cutting room floor.
You see me in The Good Men Project or on Thought Catalog, but I’ve also pitched to and been rejected multiple times (so many times) by The Rumpus, HelloGiggles and The Hairpin. I’ve been told by professional editors that my writing is “dull” or “doesn’t sparkle” and by Internet commenters that I should “eat a mosquito with AIDS” or that I’m “not as clever as [I] think [I am]” or that my self-promotion is “annoying.”
If I could stress anything to young, freelance writers, it’s what I just wrote above. All you see are the successes. They are not the whole truth. They are just what I, as an egotistical writer, want you to see. Behind them, for me, there is so, so, so much rejection.
Do not let getting rejected stop you or scare you off writing. You need to throw a million things at the wall; it increases your chances that even one will stick. One is all you need.
Writing is probably 80 percent rejection, 20 percent success. Don’t let it discourage you, don’t believe for a second that other writers don’t go through this too, and don’t convince yourself that hard work, humiliation and throwing things against the wall to see what sticks aren’t the reality of this line of work.
I am rejected, embarrassed and insulted all the time.
And then you guys see one awesome published story. That’s the truth.
HERE ARE SOME NOTES ON THAT:
The focus of the new 100 Interviews is people. Your submission should be a piece about people. What that means is broad, open-ended and mainly up to you.
What I want: Interviews, articles, personal essays, poems, photos, short stories, Q&As, funny pieces, creative lists, drawings, ideas for columns, etc.
I’m looking for anything that showcases an undiscovered or under-appreciated aspect of humanity. By the time I’m done reading your piece, I want to have learned something about people.
[Audio doesn’t match my mouth. C’est la vie.]
When I finished interviewing 100 people in a year, I wanted to write some kind of glorious wrap-up.
I thought maybe it could rival the Gettysburg Address in brevity and poignancy, or prove once and for all that journalism isn’t dead. It…
100 Interviews 1-Year Project: Completed. It’s the farewell address!