Question of the Week: What Motivates You?


September 20, 2007 by A.C. Rhodes

You’ve just finished a good interview, or perhaps one where despite all open-ended questions, turned out a bit dry. You’re going to start transcribing/writing your story, but the momentum wanes. How do you get it back? What do you find works?

3 thoughts on “Question of the Week: What Motivates You?

  1. Dave says:

    Don’t do many interviews, but just finished one with Brie Larson, former teenpopper now (presumably) going in an indie-ish direction — I knew she’d have some smart stuff to say, and she turned out to be more of a laser-beam conversationalist than I was expected. But to cover my bases I sent long email questions that could be cut down to size, and I did a bit of back and forth and stitched together results. I think there was only one edit, actually (and I ended up toning down my own stuff so I didn’t look dumb!), but it was a pretty good way to cover bases.

    Problem is this was a pretty mutually interested sort of deal conducted through a format you could leave and come back to; I can imagine with less leeway (a bored subject or a bad phone convo) it might be impossible to have a more open interview format…but it would probably make for a more interesting interview. (But then I don’t think you should even try to interview someone unless you really WANT to; I’m probably not typical of other writers.)

  2. I wish I knew. I usually put the transcribing off till the next day; it’s the part that actually feels like work.

  3. Harold says:

    I don’t transcribe from tape. I type the interview in real time — pausing, when necessary to catch up — and then clean up typing, spelling, etc. later.

    Saves me from having to listen to my idiot questions all over, and of course saves a lot of time.

    I have a digital recorded for use when necessary, but so far it hasn’t been.

    As for writer’s block generally, I’ll start with something — maybe the middle of what will be the finished story: the bio part, an anecdote, whatever. That’ll usually get me going. Not infrequently, the lede is the last part of the story I’ll write, after I’ve discovered what the story has turned out to be about.

    I’m working on a lengthy piece at the moment, and will probably start with one of what may be a few sidebars.

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