Shelley Widhalm

Getting interviewed as a writer (instead of doing the interviewing)

In Getting Interviewed, Interviewing, Writing on July 19, 2015 at 11:00 am

As a working journalist, I rarely get the opportunity to be interviewed, so when Carrie Coyne of Remain Teachable asked to interview me for a profile, I eagerly accepted.

The results of that interview are on her website for Remain Teachable, which encourages people to remain teachable, pursue new knowledge and live out their passions. She is profiling people who are pursuing passions and a love of learning at remainteachable.com.

During our interview in mid-June, Carrie and I met at a local coffee shop, and I wondered what kind of questions she would ask. We met in conference room with a large table in the middle and lots of art on the wall.

Carrie told me about her goals for the project and that I was her first interviewee. We knew each other from my work as a reporter, and met up again at the same coffee shop where she saw me working on my novel. She started asking questions about my writing and then invited me to do the interview, so she could ask more in-depth questions.

Most of Carrie’s questions focused on my love of writing, how I got started in writing, my current writing projects and my writing goals and what I do to reach those goals. I compared how we both ask questions, and our note taking, and how it was to be interviewed instead of doing the interviewing. I felt more relaxed, liking that I didn’t have to take notes, writing down every word in my own shorthand of the important ideas and the quotes I wanted to capture.

The interview went quick, and I realized how fun it was talking about myself and my passion for writing.

Carrie said she wanted to get photos of me, and we discussed some ideas, realizing the most representative photo would be of me working at the same coffee shop with my dog, Zoey, next to me. I like going there after work for the stimulation of conversations around me, the buzz of the espresso machine and the feel of motion and color and sound, all coming together to stimulate my imagination. I write at home, too, but not as much, feeling bored at the quiet.

Anyway, Carrie took photos of me, while I did some work, conscious of the fact I was being photographed, and of me holding Zoey. She had to keep trying to get Zoey to look at the camera, so it took a few tries. I like that photo the best of the two, maybe because I’m smiling and holding my favorite creature.

I loved the whole experience, and was glad I had the opportunity to be on the other side of the reporter’s notebook or the pen.

Here is the profile of me as a writer at http://www.remainteachable.com/shelley-widhalm.html

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