Update: Gaining Confidence

September 15, 2010 in Blogging, On Writing, Study by pacejmiller

Just a quick one because lately I’ve been flat out with assignments, articles, reviews, interviews and so forth, most of which are unrelated to this blog.  I still have a bunch of drafts of posts waiting for me to attend to them, including Joss Whedon’s talk at the Sydney Opera House, my visit to the Moscow Circus, a new trip in November, a website where I am buying loads of books from, and a final post on my Hunter Valley trip.  I am hopeful that after today, I’ll have some time to pump them out, even though the pace does not look like it’s slowing down (no pun intended).

In related news, I am seriously contemplating extending my writing course for another 6 months, which would give me a Masters degree as opposed to a diploma.  Most people I have spoken to are in favour of the idea, though there have been a couple that suggested experience as being much more important than a piece of paper in this industry.

I dunno, but I need to make up my mind soon.  Another 6 months of this would be terrific, especially as I am finally starting to figure out what the heck I am doing.  I’ve been reading like a madman, writing articles and reviews (some of which are finally appearing or will be appearing in various publications), and conducting interviews.  I’m also in negotiations to write for a couple of other things.  It’s insanely busy and at times insomnia-inducing (too much on my mind) but I’m enjoying the ride at the moment and trying to learn as much as I can.  It would be good if I had a bit more time to work on my stagnant novel (untouched for months) and get started on the non-fiction collaboration I had been planning with a friend, but right now, I’m not complaining.

I’m still scared most of the time, but even I can tell I’m beginning to gain a bit more confidence in what I am doing.  I did a post a couple of weeks ago about my first face-to-face interview, which I declared an absolute disaster (and make no mistake, it was).  I stuttered and muttered the whole way through and it was a miracle that the guy even understood what I was attempting to say.  Since then, I’ve done 3 more (2 in the last couple of days), and I’ve noticed a significant improvement in each one.

People say it’s the most obvious thing, but the most important thing you can do in an interview is LISTEN.  I was too nervous to do that at the beginning, constantly trying to think of what to ask next, and it stuffed me up.  Being genuinely interested in what the person has to say (which, I must admit, I was not in my first interview) also helps a great deal.

Now, instead of writing down a mechanical list of questions, I just jot down a few general ‘areas of discussion’ I want to go into, and let the conversation take us wherever it decides to.  The responses usually end up being a lot more candid and natural that way.  Rather than an ‘interview’ per se, I try and treat it like a ‘guided conversation’.  It’s worked so well that yesterday I didn’t even need to use pre-prepared notes at all.

Anyway, I hope this confidence thing continues to grow because I’m going to need it.  As one of my subjects (a top Australian journalist) told me, it’s good to be nervous because it keeps you on your toes and reminds you that you’re alive.

Stay tuned.  More posts are coming.  Maybe…

PS: not sure if any bloggers have experienced the same thing — but after a few weeks where my blog hits have almost halved, they appear to be back on the rise again.