This viral news editor quit her job to become a freelance illustrator

“I started to think about what it would be like to not live in survival mode and what it meant like to really live...I’m gonna take this huge risk and see what happens.”

Throughout her career, Hannah Bae built her own safety nets to take risks throughout her career: first by moving to Seoul straight from college, to navigating press relations in Korean government, and most recently, by quitting a cushy job at CNN Money to pursue freelance writing and illustration. Poynter spoke to Bae about the decision to write a new chapter of her professional and personal life.

Time and energy are as precious resources as money.

“There were a lot of things I wanted to be doing that I didn’t have time for,” Bae said. With CNN Money ramping up last year, Hannah got to a burnout point. She wasn’t able to work on things she wanted to at work or outside of it. She started thinking about what she really wanted to do in life and what she would choose to work on if she had her time back.

From her experiences as a young adult in Korea and being around creative people most of her life, she landed on writing, illustrating and talking about Korean food in her project Eat Drink Draw.

Working with your life partner involves learning new things together all the time.

“It’s fun and challenging. He brings this other perspective that I wouldn’t normally have,” Bae says of her Eat Drink Draw co-founder and husband, Adam Oelsner, who comes from a filmmaking background.

While creating stories and choosing things to write about, they work collaboratively on research and illustration, with Bae specializing in writing and sharing stories with their audience. It ended up being a good challenge for both of them. She was motivated to stay away from formulaic newsroom writing and he learned how to engage with eager fans on Twitter and Facebook.

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