Interview Anxiety

Today I’ve got my good friend Sinead MacDoughlas and she’ll be talking about one of not only her fears but one that effects many of us, one way or the other, in the writing world. It’s called the dreaded but necessary INTERVIEW.

You’d think, being someone who loves words so much, I’d be fairly comfortable in an interview situation. After all, putting words together is what writers do. Our job is to express feelings, describe circumstances, and clarify details in elegant prose and witty dialogue.

Yeee-ah… interviews scare the hell out of me.

Seriously, every time I’m asked, (or volunteer), to do an interview, I lose my tenuous grip on mental stability for a while. Panic sets in before I’ve even finished agreeing to answer a few questions. It continues until I see, or hear, said questions, and I’m usually shaking hours after the interview is over.

Why? (Oh, crud, another question!)

Well, let’s see. First, I never speak remotely as well as I write. I’m a babbler. I will hem and haw and “uuuuum” so many times in a conversation, even I would want to shake me and yell, “Just spit it out dammit!” So live, spoken interviews Freak-Me-Out.

Even the “I’ll email you the questions and you email me back the answers” type interviews frighten me, though. I couldn’t even write the third sentence of this post without consulting a thesaurus three times! Granted, I ended up using the original word twice, but you get my point.

Anticipating the questions is hell. What if they ask me something I don’t know how to answer? What if they ask me a question I don’t understand? What if they ask me a question about something I have no clue about?

I’m no writing genius. Honestly, I write the way I do just about everything in my life; I just do it and hope I don’t make an ass of myself. The technical aspects of authorship are mostly lost on me.  For example, if someone were to ask me about my “voice”. Do I have a “voice”?  Uuuum, I hope so. Where did it come from?  Uuuuuh, my head? How is it unique? Uuuuum, because I’m unique? Okay, so what about my genre?  I haven’t really pinned that down just yet. See what I mean?

Every time I agree to an interview, I realize it’s a prime opportunity to prove to the world that I’m really clueless. I keep waiting for someone to call me out. “How the hell do you get off calling yourself an author, when you can’t define what you do?”  Uuuuh… nope, can’t answer that one, either.

The one thing I do know, without the slightest hesitation, is that I love writing, and I want to share what I write with the world. Even in the world hates it, I want to share it.

I know why I write. I write because I need, in an all-encompassing way, to express myself in words. I write because I hope someone out there is going to read something I’ve written one day and think, “Oh my God, someone understands! I’m not the only one who feels this way, or thinks these things.” I write because I have stories to share.  I write because I can’t not write.

Finally, there’s that horrible condition I call “reflective rehash “. The interview is over, the questions answered, and the entire thing has been shared with the public, and then I think of the perfect answer for one, or two… or all of the questions. It never fails. Maybe it’s a writer thing. We certainly do spend as much time editing as we do composing, if not more.

I’ll continue to do interviews. It’s not that I don’t like sharing my thoughts with others. I certainly wouldn’t be much of a writer if I didn’t like it. However, I will continue to panic before, during, and after every interview I do.  That’s just part of the author experience for me, and it’s worth every terrifying second.

This entry was posted in Astraea Press, Dakota, Emily Dahill Story, Guest Blogger, Interview, Military, Murder, Mystery, Self Publishing, Sinead MacDoughlas. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Interview Anxiety

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    Nice to meet you, Sinead. I did my first radio interview recently and I realized I say ummm way too much. Geez, that is something I need to work on. I also need to be more assertive and help the interviewer, especially when they haven’t read the book and they’re interviewing me. 🙂

    • Lovely to meet you, Ciara. 🙂 You’re a very brave woman. I haven’t been convinced to do a live interview yet. The thought makes me want to hyperventilate. lol. I’ve found the key, in many cases, is research. Many interviewers ask the same, or similar questions of each interviewee. If I’m unfamiliar with their method, a little back-reading can make a big difference. 🙂

  2. brha99 says:

    Great interview Sinead. You obviously have nothing to fear! Well done.

  3. I find this completely hilarious because I also have epic nerves and guess who is the only person to have, so far, asked me questions that were used in an online article? *nod* Sinead. 🙂 So, now I’m just going to laugh. 😉

  4. Ressa Empbra says:

    I feel ya, Sinead! Every time I get those questionaries, I freeze! Always, I wonder if I’ve given the ‘right’ answer, lol, before realizing it’s about ‘me’ and only ‘I’ can answer, therefore, they must be right. You’re fabulous, and as a fellow rambler, I happen to enjoy when you do so. 😀

    Great interview, Lindsay and Sinead (you did it)! 😀


  5. I love interviews! Well, the written out in an email and you send back kind – I have never done an in person one, that would probably freak me out. However, reviews or having someone I know read my book scares the crap out of me. I always “know” they will HATE it and think terrible thoughts about me, etc etc. It’s so silly, but as you say it’s a part of the package!

    • It’s odd, Joleene, that the reviews don’t frighten me nearly so much. Not yet, at least. In my mind, I’ve done everything I can to make my work its best. Now it’s up to the reader to decide whether they like it or not. I know, not everyone who reads my writing is going to like it, so I’m prepared for negative reviews. I share your nervousness about people who know me reading my work, though. I worry they won’t be able to seperate the character narrator, from the author. 😉

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