I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Still Get Nervous

Yesterday I interviewed a NASCAR driver who competes at the Nextel Cup level. For those who don’t follow NASCAR, the Nextel Cup is the highest level of stock car racing and it includes guys like Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, and other guys you’ve probably heard of even if you don’t follow the sport.

I set up the interview with this particular driver and as I waited for him to call, I noticed an old familiar feeling creeping in—nervousness. I’ve interviewed quite a few professional athletes in the past, and no matter how many times I do it, I still get nervous shortly before the interview. The pressure is on. Generally, I have between five and ten minutes to ask questions that will garner good quotes for the article I'm writing. Ask the wrong question and I get an answer I can’t do anything with. Do that often enough and I end up with an interview that I can't use. And the chances of a “do over” aren’t real high. But even if I ask the “right” questions, the subject might stray and then I have to figure out a way to bring him or her back on topic.

But you know what? I’m glad that I still get nervous. It means that I care about doing the job well and it keeps me on my game. And experience is a wise teacher. I’ve learned to harness the energy and refocus it to do the best job possible. I don’t nail every interview. And sometimes I think of questions later that I wished I would have asked, but that just makes me better for the next interview I’ll do. I think if I ever reach a point where I’m no longer nervous, then I’ll realize that I’m doing the wrong thing.


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