Tag Archives: interviews

Individual Work Habits

by Catherine L. Tully

Catherine L. TullyEach one of us is different, therefore it would make sense that every one of us has their own unique habits when it comes to writing. Now I’m not talking about how you prefer to construct a sentence or what your favorite catch phrase is–I’m talking about work habits.

Work habits are just as tailored to the individual’s taste as writing habits are. For example, most writers have a beverage of choice that they sip on throughout the day–or turn to for a little extra pep. I’ m a La Croix (sparkling water w/ a little flavor) gal, and sometimes I’ll do a coffee too.

Where you work is also one of those “work habit” things. I spend a lot of time writing on the leather couch with my pup at my side. Occasionally I will sit at my desk, and if it’s really nice out–I’ll go to the park for a while, just to get some fresh air. I admit to a fondness for working at Panera, and a general dislike for working at the library.

But that’s me.

What else? How about how long you like to work? I do best in long clumps of time with big chunks off in-between. For example, I’ll work for 4 hours straight, then do something else for 2 or 3. This continues over the weekend as well.

Interviews will bring other work habits to light. I still use a pen and paper for mine (unless I conduct them via e-mail), and although I’d love to put the person on speakerphone, it seems to slow me down.

Others? When I get blocked, physical exercise seems to push the ideas through, and when I’m tired, I simply have to nap–or I’ll fall asleep at the keys.

My techniques, I guarantee, won’t work for everyone. I’m sure there are writers out there who can slam a Red Bull and wake up–or that take a nap and wake up with all kinds of fresh ideas. We’re all different.

What do your work habits consist of? Anything stand out as quirky or unusual? We’d love to hear from you!

Book Giveaway: Conducting Interviews

Conducting Interviewsby Catherine L. Tully

Told you I was going to do more giveaways! This time it’s a book on conducting interviews–full of good tips and ideas for how to get the most from your time with a subject. This is a resource that really helped me early on in my career, and I’d love to pass it along to one of you.

How do you enter the giveaway contest?

It’s simple. Comment below and tell us what famous person you would love to interview and why. (Make sure you leave your e-mail too so I can contact you.)

I’ll pick one name out of a hat (yes, literally) and they will get this book shipped to them as a prize.

Tell a friend too–let’s make this a fun one!

It Pays to Be A Nerd

Paisley Babylon Blogby Joe Wallace

Doesn’t that t-shirt just scream “music nerd”? The image to the left is probably so small you can’t see the two cassette tapes (remember them?) on the tee, but they’re there. But being a MUSIC nerd isn’t specifically what I’m thinking of…actually any specific area of knowledge you have completely obsessed over can earn you freelance money.

I run a blog about vinyl records, film soundtracks and other vinyl-related topics; because of my obsession with all things related to Italian cinema on vinyl I was approached to do a couple of articles on that very topic. My “hobbies” frequently get me writing opportunities. And yours can too.

But what happens when you get to the end of your tether with your extensive knowledge? Even the most obsessed of us have limits to what we know about that topic we’re working. That’s when I fall back on the interview.

There is no reason at all for you endure the pressure of passing yourself off as the 100% know-it-all expert when you can interview someone who has specific expertise on part of the topic you’re stuck on. When I don’t know if an Italian thriller soundtrack used a mandolin or a bouzouki, I can always play a bit of the track for an expert on one of those instruments and ask which instrument made those sounds.

I know so many writers who pressure themselves needlessly to know all the answers. The truth is, the whole purpose of the interview could be viewed as the way to fill gaps in a writer’s knowledge. Writers and editors don’t have to have a god-like understanding of the topics they work on as long as they can find reliable sources to fill in the blanks. The next time you get stuck, try looking on ProfNet or using the phone book to uncover some subject matter experts to help you get the details you need. Continue reading It Pays to Be A Nerd

Dealing With a Lousy Interview

zoom-h2Adam West, dressed as Batman, is running around a dock on my television screen, with a large cartoon stereotype explosive fizzing away in his hands. He wants to toss it before the inevitable explosion, but everywhere he turns there are ducks, nuns, kids on bikes. He looks at the camera and says, “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

The same logic applies to lousy interviews that you absolutely have to use to finish your writing work for the day. You know the ones I mean–self serving, bland, mono-syllabic. Worse than useless, as some might say.

So what do you do?

Continue reading Dealing With a Lousy Interview

5 Steps to Guide an E-Mail Interview

comp3_keyboardE-mail interviews are, for many, something to be avoided at all costs. The answers frequently return with nothing but self-serving crap that nobody wants to read.

How do you avoid getting such responses? Sometimes it’s inevitable no matter what you do, but an interviewer can at least try to pass on some guidelines to keep them from going totally mad when fielding the answers:

Continue reading 5 Steps to Guide an E-Mail Interview

Writing For New Markets

freelance writing

By Joe Wallace

If you feel daunted by the prospect of writing an article in an area you know little about, don’t let that lack of knowledge keep you from sending out query letters. Try doing a few interview pieces with some subject matter experts and let them do all the talking about the facts and figures of your new subject matter area.

This is one of the easiest ways to get up to speed on a new topic. Once you’ve done a couple of interviews you’ll have a much better feel for the subject and can talk with more authority on your own–especially if you ask the right questions in your interview. Here are a few of my own personal secrets Continue reading Writing For New Markets