• big ideas

    It’s January, an introspective and forward-thinking month to begin with, and today Timehop reminded me that it’s been 6.5 years to the day since I moved to this city, and 1.5 years to the day since I accepted my current gig at Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health. It’s lovely to feel settled but still challenged, and to shake things up this fall, I filled in for the editor-in-chief during her three-month maternity leave, which wrapped just before the holidays. It was fun to fill a role but know it was temporary, the same sensation as dipping in and out of an internship or contract position. I loved working with the ad team and steering the ship on big projects, but the sojourn made me appreciate my own job more—the bits about hammering out the nitty-gritty with editors and really wordsmithing every last line.

    I also participated in National Novel Writing Month in November, egged on by my friend Leah Konen and my sister Julia. I just pulled it off, hitting 51,000 (of the 50,000-word goal) before the month’s end, on a new fiction project, a deep-recession mystery with lies and betrayals and autopsy reports and all sorts of things to keep me up, spooked and writing, late into the night. I’m at 70,000 words now with a ways to go before I have a completed first draft, but it feels good to be writing, stringing scenes together into a whole. Eventually I hope to rewrite revise the whole thing, find an agent and turn the mess into a book, but what I keep begging myself to do is just to keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. On the eve of my opening a Googledoc entitled “New Project,” I whined to my friend Leah about a fear of starting, and total bewilderment about how anything would fit together, how the plot would unroll. The reply that got me started:

    Go all in for the shitty first draft. Take off your editor hat. Take off your people-will-mock-me-for-writing-about-X hat. Also take off your what-if-I-go-the-wrong-direction hat. Just write! 


    I briefly considered backdating this because I’ve been so dilatory in making an update. But here we are, deep into a crisp, sunny fall, and I’ve been too busy enjoying my new role to post an update no one’ll read. The story is this: A half-year into my tenure at Glamour, I was happily editing hilarious sex features and overseeing ambitious health reports that really, really mattered, when my former coworker, one I sat next to for two years at SELF at the start of my career, reached out to say that, as the new editor-in-chief of Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health, she needed a deputy, and wouldn’t I like to be top-editing stories and looking at the big picture and getting back to those integrative medicine roots? The answer, of course, was yes, and I’m now almost two months into the role down at American Media Inc.

    It was so, so tough to say goodbye to my Glam coworkers so soon, but I’m loving the new role and team. In August, my sister Julia held up the Glamour she was reading as I stressed aloud about leaving a job I loved so soon. She pointed to an item in the Glamour List entitled, “10 Ways You Too Can Be Kick-Ass.” “Take the job that scares you,” it instructed, “and slay it.”

    up(date) & out(dated cultural references)

    How great was the inauguration? Obama gave a stirring speech that mentioned women’s rights, gay rights, and climate change, Sasha looked bored out of her mind, Kelly Clarkson reminded us why she won the first American Idol, and Beyonce did a slow, deliberate arm-raise on the last note of the national anthem like a boss.

    AND SO. In what might be the most brazen examples of deluded self-importance of all time (all time!), imma use Inauguration Day to tell you about my own new appointment. I’ve accepted an offer from Glamour and will start as their new senior editor in February. I’ll be handling all their health pages as well as editing some lifestyle stories. And oh. my. god.  I. am. so. excited. Like, unable to fall asleep at night because I think about it and feel the happy lurch in my ribcage and just lie there smiling. I’ve been subscribing to Glamour since I was in high school, and if someone had told 16-year-old me that I’d someday call the title my employer, my head would’ve exploded.

    Two new concerns have emerged. One, that I’ll be hit by a truck, because where do I get off being this flipping fortunate? And two, a much more pressing concern: What on earth am I gonna wear for my first day?

    To Have Loved and Lost

    It’s been six months since I’ve updated; my last post was effusive and gushing, a perfect counterpoint to this one. Whole Living folded yesterday, a sad and surprising end to a job I truly loved. We’d known for a while that change was afoot, but we’d received official word that the magazine would be bought, so we were caught off-guard by the whump of the coffin lid.

    I’m so grateful for the 11 months I had on staff, working on stories I cared about alongside colleagues I adored. We already have get-togethers planned (drinks with Martha Stewart herself next week, a karaoke send-off the week after), so I have no doubt we’ll all stay friends, but the day-to-day, the good vibes in our aisle as I giggled with my cubemates or shared a weekly potluck lunch with the crew, have come to an end.

    The game plan? To take a few weeks over the holidays to unwind and travel—conveniently, I’ve got the Coachella Cruise, a Wisconsin Christmas, and a ski trip to Utah all on the docket in the next few weeks—and then to freelance while looking for a new staff position. I really enjoy freelancing, with its loose hours and eclectic stories and midday yoga classes, but I’m happiest on staff, playing Editor full-time. My hope is that I’ll land in a health, fitness, or lifestyle gig at a magazine, though I’m open to all sorts of opportunities.

    The Unknown is kind of exciting. It sparks with possibility, like new projects, singledom, and graduation. The thing about falling off the end of a conveyor belt is that I’ve done it before, and I know I’ll land on my feet.

    Moving Pictures

    Happy July! Time for a mid-year progress report.

    The first half of 2012 was pretty fantastic. I’m going to go ahead and be annoying and gushy because I mean it: Whole Living is the best place to work in the entire world. For real. The staff is incredible. I get to edit fascinating health reports one day and wrangle Olympians the next. My editors sent me to Wanderlust Festival in Vermont to do yoga in the mountains. Seriously good stuff. My only complaint these days is the daily schlep from the subway to 12th Ave.—I didn’t mind it in winter, but boy, do I hate it when it’s 94 degrees out.

    My other Life Update: J&R Creative Media, the brilliant production company behind The Gaggle, has optioned my screenplay! It’s called Classic Love Story, and it’s sort of a hipster Before Sunset, with some elements of magical realism. My agent once called it Eternal Sunshine of the Garden State, which made me laugh. I have yet to nail the elevator pitch, obviously, but I’m very excited to be working toward seeing my words become frames.

    that ring-a-ding time

    Happy March! Spring has always been my favorite season, all dandelion shoots and tree buds and soft lime-green puffs on the end of fir boughs. It was a mild winter, but I’m still not sad to see February go (after lingering around for an extra 24 hours — rude.)

    If you care about tracking down and reading print articles I’ve written (in which case I probably call you Mom or Aunt Ruth), this is a great month to support your local newsstand: I have good-sized articles in the March issues of Shape (a feature! Also available here but go support your local newsstand!), Health (also here) and SELF (three distinct one-pagers, PDFs TK).

    On a related note, I’m loving being back on the other side of a story, editing full-time at Whole Living. I totally lucked out: The staff is amazing and I’m genuinely fascinated by every article we run. Even my silly concern that going back into an office would give me SAD was quelled by the sunny Martha Stewart offices. (Yes, that actually crossed my mind when I was still freelancing. Related: Freelancing makes you kind of weird.)

    outs & ins

    I’m on the early side of a plane ride back from Los Angeles, and I’m sad the jaunt is over. I loved everything about it: the knuckly gray trees shooting up from the sandy soil; the massive ultimate frisbee tournament on Santa Monica beach, all tie-dye and cheering and stereotypes; zipping along the Pacific Coastal Highway on the back of a vintage motorcycle, grinning against the foam of my pink and black helmet; bringing a book to the water but leaving it folded in my bag as I watched the rhythmic water. I love Brooklyn, and I couldn’t imagine settling down on the west coast, but every time I visit I leave carrying three new things I want to do in California, my to-dos sprouting like dandelions. As I promised my wonderful hosts Sarah and Erin, I’ll be back, and soon.

    The trip wasn’t just a vacation, but rather a last hurrah before I rejoin the ranks of nine-to-fivers. On Thursday, I’ll take my post as Whole Living‘s new senior editor, health and nutrition. (That’s right, my title includes a comma.) I’m as surprised as, well, many of my friends (“…but you love freelancing!”) to find myself leaving the writing life behind — for now — but I’m also so, so very excited to dive into this new position. I love the magazine, love its focus on holistic health and mind-body medicine, love its beautiful layouts and emphasis on green living and every single editor I’ve met there. If I weren’t dog-tired and strapped into an airplane seat, I’d be bouncing around in excitement right now.

    That means the next, oh, two days will be spent tying up freelance projects. I’ll update my CV section as more magazine clips roll in in February, March and April; I’ve worked with some incredible editors and am psyched to see these stories in print. On that note, time to turn this tray into a desk and complete some articles.

    present tense

    Attention, attention! Stuff Hipsters Hate is doing fun things! After months of relative dormancy, my blog/alter ego (coauthored with my buddy Brenna) is cohosting a band showcase on Friday, and we’re featuring a big handful of guest bloggers throughout December. We’re thinking of it as little stocking stuffers for our loyal readers. I’m jazzed (in the most unhipster way) about all of the great bloggers we roped into writing for us. Delegation rules.

    Also: My big sis, Julia, whom you may know from her blog Book Stalker, is up for a Pushcart Prize! The literary magazine InDigest nominated her for her short story, Disease. Read it through and feel disturbed for days. That’s the Bartz promise.

    an update from the front line

    …the front line being, of course, my couch.

    Happy belated Thanksgiving! The first thing my dad asked me after picking my sister and me up from the airport was a jovial, “So no one’s hired you yet?” My (admittedly acerbic) answer: “Lots of editors have. For stories I’m writing for them. It’s going really well, thanks.”

    And it’s true, freelance writing has been a blast; I love working on a range of stories for an array of editors, and I’m having fun flexing my pitching and reporting chops for topics other than psychology (although my Rolodex of psychologist sources is as well-thumbed as ever).

    I’ve written about such diverse topics as bohemian Wall Streeters, “Perry-phasia,” seasonal dating habits and grooming your way to a promotion; in print, expect to see my byline in Women’s Health, SELF, Health, Martha Stewart Living, American Baby and more in 2012.

    One drawback: It’s 11:42 and I’m up and tapping away at a complex health story with a Tuesday deadline. Now, back to that.

    Big News.

    It isn’t often that I have a damn good answer to “What’s new?” Right now, I do: As of, well, this weekend, I am self-employed. After gaining a ton of great writing and editing experience at Psychology Today (and perfecting the art of tapping out polished copy on almost the first try), I decided to leave my job to go full-time freelance. (I’m not a squee girl, but if I were, I’d be squeeing.) I’m very excited to focus on my reporting and writing, diversify my portfolio, serve as my own boss and spend too much time in yoga pants.

    I think I’m well-positioned to work on science writing (thanks to Psych Today), women’s service (thanks to SELF) and humor/pop culture (thanks to Stuff Hipsters Hate), plus whatever other fun assignments stretch my limits (I’m current working on an article for The Fiscal Times, for example). ‘Twill be an adventure!

    One other spot of fun news: Stuff Hipsters Hate is cohosting a CMJ showcase on Friday, featuring some rad musical acts including Max Burgundy, Not Blood Paint and Golden Pony. This will be the first SHH event in Manhattan but we promise it’ll be worth crossing the bridge for.

    And with that gaping preposition, I’m out.

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