Lindsey has written for The Atlantic, The Hairpin, and Splitsider, among others. We talked to her about MPDGs and her career as a freelancer. Some good advice right here for those of us trying to make writing on the internet a thing that can actually pay the bills. You can check out her work here and follow her on twitter @ldbahr.
inconnu: You were an extra on Dawson’s Creek once and you write a lot about film and tv— did you always expect to end up as a writer?
Lindsey: I’ve always wanted to be a non fiction writer. I even went to journalism school! The television angle only came somewhat recently. I’d been working on the business side of The Atlantic and I knew they were launching an Entertainment Channel, so I just asked if I could contribute. They were looking for television recappers and I jumped at the chance. It was a great entry into the world of higher profile pop culture writing (as opposed to just, like, my blog). I wrote about How I Met Your Mother for two seasons, and the quick turnaround and word restrictions helped me grow into a much more confident writer.
inconnu: Where do you find to be the most productive place to write? (Office, home, coffee shop etc.)
Lindsey: I absolutely have to write at my apartment with big noise cancelling headphones. I would love to be the type of person who could hole up and be incredibly productive at a coffee shop, but I just get too distracted with people watching.
inconnu: If you could have five people over for dinner, dead or alive, who would they be and what would you eat?
Lindsey: Oh boy. Could I have Scott Aukerman or Stephen Metcalf moderate the conversation?
We’d have loads of champagne and nice California Zinfandels, ragu bolognese with a side of kale, and petit fours for dessert.
inconnu: Ideally, what would you like to be doing in five years?
Lindsey: I’d love to be an editor on staff somewhere. Freelancing is fun, and I really have only written articles that I want to write, but I’d like it to be how I make my living too.
inconnu: You’ve written about (500) Days of Summer and MPDGs are one of our favorite subjects. Any thoughts on the upcoming Ruby Sparks movie? The progression of MPDGs? (See: this video).
Lindsey: I can’t wait to see it! I love Zoe Kazan.
As far as MPDGs go…they’re my favorite. I like laughing about Natalie Portman’s character in Garden State as much as the next pop culture fanatic, but I don’t think MPDG’s are as thinly drawn as everyone likes to say they are. Just because many of these stories are told from the man’s point of view, doesn’t mean that the woman doesn’t have inner depth. It’s funny that the stereotype is that MPDG’s aren’t real. I connect with Zooey’s characters in (500) Days and All the Real Girls in very real and very deep ways. Just because it’s not spelled out on the screen doesn’t mean you can’t find any resonance with these girls and their experiences.
inconnu: What advice would you give to people just starting out in the freelance world?
Lindsey: Oh, I have so much advice! I’m still figuring things out for myself, but the most important thing is to make sure you’re pitching to the voice and content of the publication. Don’t be dismayed by rejections, and hang on to your good ideas – just because it doesn’t work for one publication doesn’t mean you can’t find another home for it. Also be open to scary assignments. They’ll challenge you as a writer. I wasn’t a South Park expert by any means, but I love weekly recaps and took on the assignment. It’s one of my favorite shows now.
inconnu: Anything you’d like to add?
Lindsey: Have someone else read your stuff before you turn it in! Some editors will work with you and some editors will just post what you’ve turned in, so you want to make sure your copy is clean.