esme-benjamin

Esme Benjamin – Culture Trip

Wellness Editor at Culture Trip. Find me at happy hour or hand-standing (with more vigor than skill) at the yoga studio.

WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?

When I graduated from University in 2007 everybody was predicting the end of print. Bloggers were democratizing publishing and the industry was in this phase of major change. As much as my peers and I all romanticized the idea of print (I still love seeing my words on the page instead of the screen), there were far more opportunities in the world of digital media, so that’s the path I naturally ended up following.

 

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Most days I’m in the Culture Trip office, in Soho, Manhattan. I’m an early riser, which means I’m one of the first to arrive. I settle down with a coffee and go through my inbox—London is five hours ahead so there are normally emails from our head office that need my attention.

I try to divide my day between prepping for features—conducting interviews over the phone or in person and transcribing—and getting an article written. After all, I have monthly page view and output goals to fulfill.

Sometimes I’ll be out and about reviewing the latest fitness studio or meeting an interesting character from the wellness scene in the city (think shamen, modern medicine women, and new age practitioners of all ilks).

I’m lucky that I have a lot of creative leeway at my job. Previously I presented and co-produced a video series called Adventures In Wellness, and right now I’m trying to launch a podcast with some of my fellow editors, so finalizing the segments and figuring out logistics is on my to-do list.

Health is, of course, important to me, so at lunchtime, I take a walk to get some fresh air. After work, if I’m not out socializing I’ll be doing some form of workout (yoga and dance are my favorites) before heading home for dinner with my husband. I’m big on work/life balance.

 

WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?

Does Slack count? Honestly, I don’t need the schmancy apps to be on top of things, I’m pretty good and managing my time and effort. I did recently attend Cave Day—like a mini productivity retreat which divides your time into “sprints” of intense focus and break periods—and swore I’d start doing my own mini caves, but that never happened. Maybe next year.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?

I read I watch films, I go to exhibitions. Every creative person goes through stuck periods where their juju is off, and the best way to move forward is to let the mind go completely off task. Some of my most beautifully composed sentences come to me in the night when I can’t sleep, or on the subway when my brain is on its own wander-and-explore mission.

 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing” — Audre Lorde’s brave closing lines from the poem New Year’s Day.

They often pop up in my head, because one should always be living fearlessly and deliberately.

 

WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?

It’s more of a challenge than a problem, but I would say the podcast. It’s one of those projects where you have absolutely zero qualifications but are determined to pursue it anyway. If we get the go-ahead from management my colleagues and I will be figuring things out as we go along—teaching ourselves how to edit audio etc. Leap and the net will appear, as they say.

 

Is there a Product, Solution, or Tool that you think is a Good Match For Your Digital Publishing Efforts?

It’s not techy (perhaps that’s good when you spend all day in the digital world) but the Bullet Journal is a lovely solution to juggling multiple projects in a mindful and productive way. I got chatting to the founder, a digital product designer, at a party and he had a lot of interesting things to say about living with intention (AKA living deliberately!).

 

ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?

Never underestimate the value of making connections (it’s a cliche, but I wish I had been braver about this when I was younger). Reach out to people whose work you admire and invite them to coffee. Befriend people with skills you want to learn. Do it with sincerity, though, and make sure you return the favor whenever possible.

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Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and the latest trends for all to benefit.


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