Kate Erickson ’05, Writer

Kate Erickson

Based out of New York City and Los Angeles, I have been working in TV since 2010, as a writer since 2013. Those credits include AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, BBC America's Copper, and USA Network's Mr. Robot, for which I received a 2016 Writers Guild Award (New Series). Through membership with the Writers Guild of America, East, I volunteer with several programs organized by the Writers Guild Initiative, including the Nora Ephron Book Club and writing workshops for wounded veterans and their caretakers. Prior to working in TV, I produced live storytelling for The Moth, served coffee in a filthy cafe, cared for diabetic cats, crewed a Beneteau sloop, served coffee in a clean cafe, applied to grad school, nannied, drove a produce delivery truck, was rejected from grad school, ran a community center's after school program, and interned for Penguin's Viking division. Throughout this chapter, I wrote personal essays, which appeared in various publications including Wellesley Magazine and the New York Press. At Wellesley, I was an English Major. After graduation, I knew only that I wanted to write and that if I eliminated overhead expenses, I did not have to earn much money. I began housesitting, which put me into insular communities all over the world and provided endless empty hours. If you want to be a writer, I highly recommend creating a time and space to generate finished stories. Also staying in one location for a length of time, so that you know your place and people. I still draw from the experiences I had and the pages I wrote in those years after graduation. Several experiences at Wellesley trained me for my career — though, at the time, I hardly trusted that I was moving down a professional path. Lisa Rodensky encouraged me to speak up in her Victorian Novels class, which nudged me out of self-doubt and prepared me to pitch ideas in a writers room. My advisor, Marilyn Sides, connected me to my first housesitting job. Newhouse Humanities professor Alicia Erian taught me how to submit short stories to literary magazines — how to write the cover letter and when to follow up. Working too many jobs while taking too many classes taught me the limits of my energy and focus. Visiting writing professor Pankaj Mishra put me in the Penguin internship — and then, when I was dissatisfied with publishing, pushed me to step away from a linear career path. Classmate Kellie Abbot advised me to walk the Camino de Santiago, which led to friendships that landed me in New York, which led to my writing for television. I'm relieved now that I blithely followed my gut, chasing skills that seemed fun and useful, even when there seemed to be no responsible endpoint. There's usually a job out there, somewhere, that combines the skills you've chosen to develop, and usually, over coffee with an old Wellesley friend, you'll figure out what that job is.