Being a successful writer is tied to being an efficient one. We need to put out work in a manner that meets our deadlines and budget lines. Unfortunately, there are a variety of things that keep us from writing as well, as often or as efficiently as we need to – including faux phobias.
I say faux phobias because most of us really just hate doing a particular thing, but don’t necessarily have a debilitating fear of it. The next couple of posts will take a look at some common faux phobias writers find themselves afflicted with and how to overcome them. Today’s biggie – Phone Phobia!
I used to really hate the phone. I worked in customer service for years and this started my hate-loath relationship with the phone and it got in the way of my writing. I’d still make the call to conduct interviews, but it would take me so long to work up the nerve to pick up the phone, I was pretty unproductive. I know I’m not alone.
Let’s clear up a misconception before we go too far – you don’t fear the phone. You fear the possibility of being judged or rejected. You also hate memories associated with the phone or the level of interpersonal communication you are exposed to because of the phone.
Let’s tackle rejection and judgment. Most people being interviewed are just as nervous as the interviewer, if not more. They want you to set the pace and the tone of the interview which means you control the ball. There is nothing to fear as long as you’ve prepared for the interview. Find confidence in the knowledge you have and the interviewee will have confidence in you as well.
Get over it. I wish I had something more profound, but I can give you a different memory or more like a psychic look into the future – either use the phone or watch your career stall and bank account go empty. Bad interviews, bad news, collection calls – all of it is in the past. You are choosing to connect with the person on the phone, it is not an unpleasant, unannounced interruption.
Interpersonal communication. Well, there’s no way around it. Getting the best sources means talking to people. Sure you can email and IM and Facebook until your eyes fall out, BUT when you do venture out in the world you have to be able to do that good old-fashioned thing called talking. I love a good writer shell as much as the next person, but when you do meet a source, an editor or run into a fan, you want to be able to do more than grunt and point to Facebook on your smart phone.
It’s not just the day-to-day distractions that keep writers from producing their best work. Sometimes, fear plays a part. Preparation, a realistic perspective and a healthy dose of grab ’em mentality will help you sell the query, land the interview, and write a great piece.
What faux phobias drive you batty? Let me know and I’ll tackle ’em. Literally, I’ll make a dummy, put the phobia’s name on it and tackle it. Ok just kidding, but I promise to try and help!