Gaby Dunn tells writers: ‘It’s important not to undervalue yourself’

From freelancer Gaby Dunn‘s Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything):

Q. How many writing jobs have you had, and which was your favorite?

A: “A zillion. In college, for two years, I was a nighttime crime reporter at the Boston Globe. I went to school during the day and worked at the newsdesk from 6 pm to 2 am.

Gaby Dunn (via

Gaby Dunn (via

“They gave me a car and a police radio and I went out every night and covered fires, shootings, other various crime. It was an invaluable experience, even as it probably messed me up in the head for a while. I mean, I was 19 and looking at brains on the sidewalk and banging on the doors of family members to get comment. I basically never slept, but I learned so much about daily journalism. While it was going on, I felt crazy but now, looking back, it’s my favorite. I’ll never have that again, I don’t think.”

Dunn’s advice to writers:

– “Do not undervalue yourself. Do not write for free for too long without demanding pay. Even $20 a post.”

– “Write about what you want to be writing about. .. If you want to be writing for Scientific American, write science pieces on your blog or for other smaller science-based publications. You only need to catch the eye of the places that write about what you’re already into writing about.”

– “Do not get discouraged by rejection. Every single writer, even the best ones, get rejected. It does not mean you are not cut out for this.”

* I am Gaby Dunn, writer for New York Times Magazine (