Jennifer Senior is a contributing editor at New York and the author of All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.

"I've had moments in motherhood that have been close to something like religious. But I don't think social scientists say things like, "How many numinous moments have you had?" They don't do that, so you have to figure out what to do. I was suddenly turning to other texts to try and explain all of this."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

Kevin Roose, a writer at New York, has contributed to The New York Times, GQ and Esquire. His latest book is Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits.

"Google will give you away. I feel like one undercover book is all you get these days before the jig is up. ... Unless, like Barbara Ehrenreich, you legally change your name. I was not quite prepared to go that far."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

Wil S. Hylton, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, is the author of Vanished.

"I despise the fucking nut graf. I think it's a joke, a cop out. The story probably should be about something larger than itself but if you have to tell people what that is, you've failed from the beginning. If they can't find it, you didn't put it there and you shouldn't be beating them over the head with it."

Thanks to TinyLetter and The Fog Horn for sponsoring this week's episode, and to the Writing Department at the University of Pittsburgh for hosting.

David Kushner, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired and The Atavist.

"The minute you see an incredible character, you know. The only thing I can compare it to is bowling, not that I'm much of a bowler. On the few times I've thrown a strike, you know it before it hits the pins."

Thanks to TinyLetter and ProFlowers for sponsoring this week's episode.

Ariel Levy is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

"I like an older awesome lady, I don't think enough is written about older awesome ladies and I don't think there are enough role models for younger awesome ladies. It’s great fun hanging out with an older awesome lady. It’s inspiring. And it makes you think 'Jesus, I might be rocking it when I’m 80!'"

Thanks to TinyLetter and ProFlowers for sponsoring this week's episode.

Dan P. Lee is a contributing writer at New York.

"I don't believe in answers. That's what compels me to write all of these stories. None of them ends nicely, none of them ends neatly."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

Roger D. Hodge is the editor of Oxford American.

"My career isn't all that interesting insofar as I've been an editor. I'm much more interested in talking about writers and stories. That's the main thing: telling these stories, creating this platform, this context for the best possible storytelling."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Random House for sponsoring this week's episode.

George Saunders has written for The New Yorker and GQ. His latest collection of short stories is Tenth of December.

“Maybe you would understand your artistry to be: put me anywhere. I'll find human beings, I'll find human interest, I'll find literature. And I guess you could argue the weirder, or maybe the less explored the place, the better.”

Thanks to TinyLetter and Audible for sponsoring this week's episode. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to audiblepodcast.com/longform.

Jon Mooallem, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, is the author of Wild Ones and American Hippopotamus, the latest story from The Atavist.

"I'm terrible at writing nut graphs. I never know why people should keep reading. That's the menace of my professional existence, trying to figure that out. Because often you have to explain that to an editor before you even start, and I may not even know while I'm writing what the bigger point is."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

Joe Sexton is a senior editor at ProPublica and a former reporter and editor at the New York Times, where he led the team that produced "Snow Fall."</p>

"My experience in a newspaper newsroom over the years has been: The word you hear least often, the word that's hardest for people to say in that environment, is the word yes. It's safer to say no. You get second-guessed less often if you say no. Your job's not on the line if you say no. But if you're willing to say yes and you're willing to face the consequences of having said yes, then quite amazing things can happen."

Thanks to Random House and TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

Andrew Leland is an editor at The Believer and hosts The Organist

"I think a good editor has a strong stomach for crazy assholes. Because often crazy assholes are really brilliant great writers."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.

Jason Fagone, a contributing editor at Wired and a writer-at-large for Philadelphia, is the author of Ingenious.

"It seemed like all the big guys in American society had let us down, all the elites. And here was a contest that was explicitly looking to the little guy and saying, 'We don't care what you've done before or how much money you have in your pocket. If you solve this problem, you win the money.' There was something so optimistic and hopeful and cool about that to me."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.

Amy Wallace is an editor-at-large for Los Angeles and a correspondent for GQ .

"I've written about the anti-vaccine movement. I love true crime. I've written a lot of murder stories. The thing that unites all of them—whether it's a celebrity profile or a biologist who murdered a bunch of people or Justin Timberlake—it's almost trite to say, but there's a humanity to each of these people. And figuring out what's making them tick in the moment, or in general, is interesting to me. In a way, that's my sweet spot."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Warby Parker for sponsoring this week's episode.

Rachel Aviv is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

"If I'm writing about the criminal justice system, I wish I were a lawyer. If I'm writing about psychiatry, I wish I were a psychiatrist. I have often filled out half my application to get a Ph.D in clinical psychology. That is one area where I am constantly on the verge of jumping the fence. But even when I wrote about religion, I thought I wanted to be a priest."

Thanks to TinyLetter and HostGator for sponsoring this week's episode.

Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery are the co-editors of Mother Jones.

"We probably pay more attention to our fact-checking and our research than almost everybody in our industry. By the time we publish stuff, we make sure it's unimpeachable because people would like to impeach it."

Thanks to TinyLetter and HostGator for sponsoring this week's episode.

Evan Wright, a two-time National Magazine Award winner, is the author of Generation Kill.

"When people were killed, civilians especially, I realized I was the only person there who would write it down. I was frantic about getting names, and in the book there are a few Arabic names, some of the victims. Not that anyone cares. But I thought, 'At least somewhere there's a record of this.'"

Thanks to this week’s sponsors: TinyLetter and HostGator.

Andy Ward, a former editor at Esquire and GQ, is the editorial director of nonfiction at Random House.

"How you gain that trust is a hard thing to quantify. The way I try do it is by caring. If you don't care about every word and every sentence in the piece, writers pick up on that. ... Ultimately, it's their book or their magazine article. Their name is on it, not mine. I always try to keep that in mind."

Thanks to this week's sponsors: TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA 14.

Elizabeth Wurtzel is the author of four books, including Prozac Nation.

"It's not that hard to be a lawyer. Any fool can be a lawyer. It's really hard to be a writer. You have to be born with incredible amounts of talent. Then you have to work hard. Then you have to be able to handle tons of rejection and not mind it and just keep pushing away at it. You have to show up at people's doors. You can't just e-mail and text message people. You have to bang their doors down. You have to be interesting. You have to be fucking phenomenal to get a book published and then sell the book. When people think their writing career is not working out, it's not working out because it's so damn hard. It's not harder now than it was 20 years ago. It's just as hard. It was always hard."

Thanks to TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA 14 for sponsoring this week's episode.

Gay Talese, who wrote for Esquire in the 1960s and currently contributes to The New Yorker, is the author of several books. His latest is A Writer's Life.

"I want to know how people did what they did. And I want to know how that compares with how I did what I did. That's my whole life. It's not really a life. It's a life of inquiry. It's a life of getting off your ass, knocking on a door, walking a few steps or a great distance to pursue a story. That's all it is: a life of boundless curiosity in which you indulge yourself and never miss an opportunity to talk to someone at length."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Warby Parker for sponsoring this week's episode.

Jon Ronson, a contributor to This American Life, The Guardian and GQ, is the author of six books, including The Men Who Stare at Goats. His latest is Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries.

"The older you get, you realize that no uncomfortable fact makes your story worse. Contradictions are great. What's bad, what to me is the worst journalistic sin, is ridiculous polemicism. ... To me, the contradictions, the story not turning out the way you want—you have to be a twig in the tidal wave of the story."

Thanks to TinyLetter, EA SPORTS FIFA 14 and Learnvest for sponsoring this week's episode.

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His latest book is David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

"The categories are in motion. You turn into a Goliath, then you topple because of your bigness. You fall to the bottom again. And Davids, after a while, are no longer Davids. Facebook is no longer an underdog—it's now everything it once despised. I am everything I once despised. When I was 25, I used to write these incredibly snotty, hostile articles attacking big-name, nonfiction journalists. Now I read them and I'm like, 'Oh my God, they're doing a me on me!'"

Thanks to TinyLetter and EA SPORTS FIFA 14 for sponsoring this week's episode.

Cord Jefferson is the West Coast editor at Gawker.

"I consider myself to be a sincere human being. And I think that the way the internet carries itself, the way the internet has dialogues, is often insincere. That concerns me. I don't ever want to lose my sincerity. I don't ever want to lose my ability to feel emotional about things that I write about. I don't ever want to have a distance from everything that I write. I think that can be a danger of writing too much for the internet, that you develop this elitist distance from everything. That nothing really matters, you know?"

Thanks to TinyLetter and Hulu Plus for sponsoring this week's episode.

Hamilton Morris is the science editor for Vice and a contributor to Harper's.

"It's a shame that there isn't more of an interdisciplinary approach to a lot of scientific investigations, because often the result is that misinformation is produced. Again, there's misinformation in journalism and there's misinformation in science. And if you combine the best elements of both of those disciplines you can come a little bit closer to the truth. If you want to understand a drug phenomenon, you're going to need to look at it medically, chemically, anthropologically, you need to talk to people, you need to interview people, you need to look at the drug policy, the chemistry, the history—there's a lot of different factors that need to be examined in order to understand even the most simple, minute drug phenomenon. And if you're approaching something purely as a scientist, as an academic, there are huge limitations as to what you can do."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Hulu Plus for sponsoring this week's episode.

Nancy Jo Sales writes for Vanity Fair and is the author of The Bling Ring.

"I'm a mom now, so my life's a little different. I can't do certain things that I used to do, and I won't, because they're dangerous or ridiculous or keep me out till five in the morning or whatever. But back in those days, I didn't even have a pet. This was everything I did. This was my whole life, this passion to find out these things, and do these things, and see these things, and have these adventures and be able to report about this street life that rarely gets talked about. I just didn't really have a lot of boundaries in those days. I don't think I had any, really. And if you really throw yourself into something, you can get a great story. You can also not have a life of your own."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.

Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

"People don't really care about issues so much as they care about the stories and the characters that bring those issues to life. ... A story needs an engine or something to propel you forward and it can't just be a collection of like, 'Oh hmm, this was interesting over here and this was interesting over there.' Realizing that helped me sit down with all my stuff on trafficking and labor abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan and say 'What are the five craziest things that I found here and how could I weave them together in a way that would actually have some forward motion?'"

Thanks to TinyLetter and Hulu Plus for sponsoring this week's episode.