Following Your Calling, Even When It Comes at a Cost, featuring Jessica Valenti

Dec 17, 2018

Jessica Valenti

Many writers write because they have to. Today’s guest, Jessica Valenti, is one of them. Brooke and Grant talk about pursuing passions, your calling, your purpose—even if and when that might come at a cost. While most writers won’t face the kinds of threats Jessica has faced for her outspokenness, most writers are vulnerable to criticism. This episode encourages writers to persevere, and offers inspiration and tips for staying connected to purpose.


Jessica Valenti has been called “one of the most successful and visible feminists of her generation” by The Washington Post. She is the author of five books, most recently the memoir, Sex Object, which is a New York Times bestseller. Jessica’s articles have topped the most-read lists at The Atlantic, The Guardian US, The Washington Post, and The Nation. She has also written for The New York Times, Salon, Bitch, Ms. Magazine, and The Toast. She’s one of the original founders of Feministing, an and been interviewed on the Colbert Report and profiled in The New York Times Magazine. Find her on Twitter @jessicavalenti.

Writing Action: Write Yourself a Letter

Brooke teaches a memoir class every six months, and at the outset of class she asks every student to write themselves a letter. They write this at the very beginning of class, and then six months later, when the class is over, the writers read it back to themselves—to tap into where they were at the outset of class six months earlier. Try this exercise. Start the letter, Dear YOUR NAME, and focus in on what moves you, what drives you, what inspires you about your writing. What do you want to share with the world and why? Later, when you hit a low moment in your writing process, you’ll be able to pull out the letter to reground yourself in purpose.

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