Next to slinging pitches, pulling off interviews is one of the most important skills any freelancer or game journalist should strive to master in order to boost his or her writing career in the industry. Crafting thoughtful questions that engage sources and get them talking is a critical step.
When putting your questions together, it helps to start by brainstorming a rough list while you conduct your initial research. Jot down anything that comes to mind as you poke around the Internet. You can always go back and word things more intentionally, so don’t worry about sloppiness: just get it on the page. Once you have a big ol’ list of possibilities ready to go, it’s time to whittle everything down into a more focused set of polished questions.
It’s important to put some serious thought into both the kinds of questions you plan to ask and how to phrase them. You’ll want to design your questions to get your sources thinking (and talking). Here are a few quick tips to get you on the right track.
I struggle with the idea of pitching before I’ve written anything, especially when I don’t know how much time I’ll have to write the commission. Sometimes I’ll come up with an idea, will begin writing it, and realize there aren’t any legs under it or it’s pretty unoriginal. But I also understand that if I don’t send pitches and spend my time developing my ideas, I’ll be losing a ton of time writing content that may be rejected anyway.
How do you find that balance of pitching ideas and making sure ideas are pitchable?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll still be accidentally signing invoices, checks, and other documents as “2011” for at least few more days. Compared to previous years, 2011 was a pretty crummy run for myself and quite a few other freelancers I know. Some excellent outlets shuttered (GamePro, What The Play), gigs dried up, and the work just didn’t seem to flow as smoothly. But 2012 is here, and it’s time to kick some ass.
My New Year’s Resolution for 2012: be like more Chuck Norris. Who’s with me now? Here’s a quick and dirty list of a few ways to clean house and jump start some freelance work mojo in the New Year.
Pitching editors takes a lot of energy, and there’s not always a guarantee you’ll get a return on your time investment of precious writing mojo. It’s a gamble that all freelancers have to make in order to survive. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it’s a total freakin’ bust. After you’ve spent hours researching a cool idea, gathering the details you need to present it in an interest-grabbing way, and then tailoring your pitch to suit a specific outlet, you click “send” and the waiting game begins. Let’s shed some light on the dark, gloomy period of post-pitch anxiety and how to keep your sanity when all hope seems lost.