An inside view of writing for New York Times’ Magazine

On the blog The OPEN Notebook, New York Times Magazine contributor Robin Marantz Henig spoke frankly with Jeanne Erdmann about everything that went into her piece, “Understanding the Anxious Mind.” A few years have passed since the piece’s publication, which might help explain why the reporter was willing to give such a thorough postmortem.

Highlights include:

  • The difference between a magazine article and a master’s thesis.
  • How to trick your agent into letting you write a book about Valium.
  • Dealing with a jumpy editor spooked by your previous false starts.
  • This sentence: “It was difficult to get the right kind of anxious people to interview.”
  • The difficulties that even a veteran writer has in pitching New York Times Magazine and the letters to prove it.
  • 15-20 drafts, and that’s before the NYT demanded another three or four rewrites.

(Hat tip to Paul Raeburn)

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