Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer at the New York Times and the author of Fleishman Is in Trouble: A Novel.

“As a profile writer, the skill I have is getting in the room and staying in the room until someone is like, ‘Why is this bitch still in the room? Get her out of there!’ It’s a journalistic skill that is not a fluffy skill. There are people who are always actively trying to prevent your story, prevent you from seeing it, from seeing the things that would be good to see. There’s a lot of convincing, comforting and listening going on. And there’s a lot of dealing with the fact that somebody in the middle of talking to you can suddenly decide that you are the worst. Those things are very tense and it’s a specific skill that I have that can defray all those things. Or it lets me stay.”

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Renata Adler is a journalist, critic, and novelist. Her nonfiction collection is After the Tall Timber.

“Unless you're going to be fairly definite, what's the point of writing?”

Thanks to MailChimp, and Pitt Writers for sponsoring this week's episode.