A few months ago I interviewed Chris Brown.
After getting prepped by my editors (one wanted me to GO IN and ask him questions that would get me thrown out, the other wanted me to take a softer approach and get him to open up), I stepped into the recording studio to listen to his album and ask him a few questions.
Although I’ve interviewed a TON of celebrities over the past 3 years, I was nervous.
Was I going to hit him with the Rihanna questions? Was he going to flip out? Did I want him to throw a chair so I’d have something juicy to write about?
A surge of adrenaline ran through my body, matched only by his energy as chain-smoked Newports and played songs from his latest album.
As I sat there trying to project an air of calmness, I told myself one thing:
Just let the story unfold.
Here’s the thing, though. While I enjoyed how the interview eventually turned out (and he surprised me with his….humanness), I thought I could have done much, much better.
Why? I lacked confidence.
Instead of rolling into the interview convinced I could handle anything–his reaction, being thrown out, or being dragged on Twitter by Team Breezy–I wavered.
Instead of asking tough, head on questions, I observed the details and found soft-spots where I could gently probe about how he’s grown, how he deals with anger, and what he’d do differently.
In the end, the interview showed a different side of pop star, and I’m cool with that, but I definitely learned a lesson that day: you’ve got to be fearless.
Writing, by definition, is an act of defiance.
If you think about the writers you admire, what stands out? Their ability to tell it like it is? Their ability to “get the story”? Their toughness? Their absolute fearlessness?
Good writers are courageous.
Asking hard questions, exposing some not-so-comfortable truths about your subjects (and sometimes yourself), sitting down to tell the story, and giving it over to others to critique and share is HARD.
So if you’re going to enter into this world and be a writer…you can’t be no punk.
While you don’t have to go careening into war zones or risk getting knocked upside the head by an irate celeb (unless that’s your thing), you should be on a quest for the truth at all times.
And to get the truth, and be the writer you’ve dreamed about, you’ve got to have one thing:
Join me for The Write Pitch’s 6-week hands-on course that will equip you with the tools to go from amateur scribe to paid freelancer. Class begins Monday, October 14th. Sign up.