Consitently Persistent?

The one thing I took away from the talk between John Dingwall and Graeme Thomson at the Mitchell Library during the Aye Write festival was Graeme talking about persistence.

“You need to be persistent,” he said. He did mean it in a rather specific context. (How to get Jim to move away from anecdotal tales and into actual rarely discussed facts – or at least his version of the facts – when interviewing him. Pfft! Chance would be a fine thing with that happening! Me interviewing him, I mean.) It can apply to many other things, like my study, for example.

When it comes to people and my asking them for interviews, I find the persistence thing hard. Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to me. I feel like I am badgering or being a pest. I only dare to be moderately persistent, if such a measure exists.

I’ve approached someone for an interview and I am trying to be positive about it happening. Just this morning I am reminding myself that I’ve yet to be turned down for an interview (one exception, actually…but it was genuinely ‘pie in the sky’ wishful thinking on that one anyway. It’s subsequently happened, albeit one question at a time and only about three questions in. Lol). Jaine Henderson initially did turn me down. I had nothing to show for it then. No history of interviews to show to her. She took a big gamble with me and I am ssooo grateful that she reconsidered and allowed me to interview her. 

Every potential interviewee I approach I am apprehensive to do so. It takes me a heck of a lot of gallus to ask. Asking Graeme at the beginning of the year? I was still so nervous to ask. I fear that ‘going out on a limb’ impulse it takes to ask.

A few times I have had to be a bit persistent. I guess I needed to be a little with Jaine. When she declined though, I thought that it would be no good to be persistent. It was a no and that was that. No one was more surprised than me when she contacted me to say she’d reconsidered and would like to do it. I was gobsmacked! 

I guess you also need to weigh up the situation and the person. When it came to Bruce Findlay I felt he’d be more…accepting of some persistence. That he’s spent a lot of time being around pushy people that he’d be used to it. Almost expectant of it. 

I think I end up using my persistence for things where I expect the rejection and can try and have fun with it – asking Jim out on dates, for example. (Not that I’ve done THAT for a long while. Lol. Asking him for an interview though…?)

Trying to use persistence for interviews? That just eats away at my fear and feeds the angst and guilt I feel. I am always starting on the backfoot. The rank amatuer with no right to be asking ANYONE for an interview! For me to ask in the first place takes such daring. 

I am going to be hopeful that my success rate of those I’ve asked agreeing continues and that another “Priptona Talks…” interview will be on the blog shortly.

In the meantime, Graeme’s advice on persistence did get me through my most recent assignment and will hopefully help me in other ways. I just need to work out how I tell when persistence becomes badgering or pestering. I hope I know the tipping point.

Leave a comment