By Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She had to stop ballet lessons before she went en pointe, but she has been in A Midsummer Night's Dream twice. Her work has been featured in The Billfold, Yearbook Office, Unbest, and Who Are We Now, and she posts weekly Tumblr essays about earning money as a writer.

  1. They asked me what it was like to be a freelance writer, and I asked them what it was like to start a college. Not everyone at the table was involved with Outer Coast, but a few of them were part of the planning team. They were all planning other things, too; that night the room was full of plans, with me as a reminder that plans can take you somewhere unexpected.

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  2. The Toast's previous literary pilgrimages can be found here. As soon as I say the word “Concord” to the woman selling rail tickets, I’m terrified that she knows everything about me. After all, if you don’t have a car of your own, you have to actually tell someone you want to go to Concord before you can get there. With a population of only 17,000, it’s not a destination for anyone to visit casually.

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  3. In the video, I'm seated behind an electronic keyboard with a few pairs of shoes balancing out the shot. I've brushed my hair until it shines even in the lack of light; I know enough to aim a lamp at my face, but I haven't yet invested in a professional setup or, in fact, in a camera better than my little Flip, which is balanced on a stack of books to get it to

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  4. Previously in this series: How To Tell If You Are In A Haruki Murakami Novel.

    1. You are young, though you find yourself growing up very quickly.

    2. You are ridiculously talented at one very specific thing.

    3. So are your siblings. Each of you has a separate, distinct talent, which is fortunate because it means you never have to compete with each other.

    4. You’ve never taken a

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