Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wanted: Interview Skills for Cave Dwellers

     Lately I've been doing interviews for an article I'm working on. I love doing research. The story is already there; the facts only need to be arranged in a logical order. For once it's nice to take a break from making things up. But I do need to talk to experts to lend legitimacy to my story. And therein lies the problem.
    When I worked in newspapers years ago and interviewed people more often, it was easier. You know, the talking to strangers thing. I'd do preliminary research to gather info about the subject and come up with some (hopefully) intelligent questions. Then I'd organize my questions into a logical sequence so the interview could flow like a conversation instead of a scattershot of random questions. And hopefully, my interviewees' answers would lead to secondary questions from me. Interviewing was challenging and fun! I looked forward to them (except for the drag queen interviews, but I'll save that story for another day).
      Throughout these recent interviews, I've realized one thing: I spend entirely too much time alone! Why do my nerves feel so edgy when I have to talk to someone I don't know? My procrastination skills kicked into high gear each time I went for the phone. I'll call after I put the laundry in the wait, after I clean the bird cage... and maybe the flower bed should be weeded first...and I should put dinner in the crock pot...and...
     After the last interview yesterday, I sat down at the computer. I poured over my notes and began to transcribe the fragments, words and abbreviations into full sentences. My heartbeat slowed. My breathing returned to normal. I was back in my writing cave, sitting in the familiar chair, sharing the moment with my laptop, listening to the finches scritch scritch the gravel on the bottom of their clean cage.
     It was quiet.
     I was alone.



  1. I completely understand this. I also used to be a journalist and had no problem interviewing people, but it's been a few years, and I'm willing to bet that if I had to interview someone now, I'd feel much the way you do. :)

    I love my writing cave!

  2. This probably applies to 90% of us who spend time in our writing caves...

  3. I agree with Michael. This would be a problem for me too. :(

  4. Not much interviewing goes on in my cave, that's for sure!

  5. Oh, my. This sounds just like me.


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