Adventures In Freelancing: I Had It Good

Any of you who read my photo diary entries–which have been moved over to their own site The Monkee Diaries–will remember that I did a pretty long phone interview with a pair of creators during my vacation last week. This might seem like a crazy thing to do to some, but it wound up being not only the perfect opportunity to do a lengthy phone interview without our darling daughter screaming partway through, but also served as a reminder of just how good I used to have it.

I don’t mean this in a negative way. I’m not saying I prefer the time I had before Lucy came along. What I mean is that I used to think this whole freelance writer/interviewer gig was tough before a baby came into our world, when in reality it’s a lot more stressful now.

For the most part, the creators I deal with prefer to do email interviews. It gives them an opportunity to go over what they say and refine their answers. I’ve talked to plenty of folks who prefer this so they don’t come off as rambling in interviews. I know in my pop culture journalist’s heart that live interviews (either in person or on the phone) are the best, but you just can’t beat the ease of an email interview. You send out the questions, they send back the answers, then all you have to do is read through for any errors or differences in style (let’s say they capitalize their titles when the place you’re writing for prefers them in quotes, for instance) and write a headline, subhed and intro. These are still pretty easy to handle with Lucy, but they take way, way longer for me to put together. For example, I just whipped one up in about 20 minutes. I’m going to read it over tomorrow and it should be ready to turn in.

On the other hand, phone interviews are a lot more involved. You schedule a time with your subject, come up with a list of questions, talk to them and then transcribe which can take a long time. Every time I have a long interview, I wind up spending a bunch of time looking online for any programs or hardware I can get to help convert voices to text. If you know of one, let me know. I’ve always been intimidated by phoners. It doesn’t matter who the subject is, it can be someone I’ve talked to several times, but I still get butterflies. So, you’ve got all that on a good day. Then add in the eternal wild card known as baby.

Luckily, I’ve been able to schedule my phoners (that’s what I call them, I have no idea if it’s a widely used writers term) for times when Em gets home from work which either means in the evening or during one of her flex days (when she gets home by 1PM). It works out okay, but I still get stressed about the whole thing. I like to think I’m dealing pretty well, but I get these nagging thoughts that won’t leave my head when I’m figuring out my schedule, who to contact and trying to remember who prefers email interviews. For what it’s worth, I was only slightly nervous when I did my interview last week. I think watching a baby every day puts things in a whole different perspective. I know I’ll get to a place where Lucy will be able to entertain herself and I’ll be able to talk to someone on the phone again, but in the meantime, I’ll just have to control my nervousness and keep up my scheduling kung-fu.

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