Over the last few years I've had the pleasure of interviewing many talented writers. In most of my interviews I ask the following question:
"Everyone has unique skills; skills that I call superpowers. What is your superpower?" While Logan and I were prepping dinner last night we talked about this question. I was cutting up fresh tomatoes for the gnocchi and I asked Logan, "In your opinion, what's my superpower?"
He grabbed a slice of tomato, popped it into his mouth and said, "You have exceptional, fantastical note-taking skills."
I giggled and replied, "I think you are right. It's a result of all the traveling I did in California."
For a few years I worked for a research firm in Sacramento and had the opportunity to participate in qualitative research projects. One of my favorite projects required traveling all over California to do in-person interviews at domestic violence and rape crisis centers. I loved the project and the victim advocates I met throughout the state.
During the interviews I asked very specific questions and eventually I got to the point where I could take verbatim notes while talking to an advocate. I'm not sure how I'm able to do this so well. I think it's a combination of good listening skills and the ability to type very quickly.
Luckily, this skill has resurfaced during the last few months because I've been interviewing people for my book. I'm a little rusty, but I'm thankful for my ability to record conversations in the moment.
Earlier this morning, I culled through some of my past interviews and gathered a few of my favorite responses to the superpower question. I hope these responses inspire you to keep doing exceptional work.
"I think my superpower is adaptability. I love change, and adjusting to new circumstances on the fly. I think that’s why I enjoy travel (and moving) so much! I’ve always wanted to be like a Bond girl – not the ditzy ones, but the nuclear-physicist-by-day, karate-black-belt-by-night ones. They always adapt to any circumstance – outrunning assassins on skis, trekking across a desert, or scuba diving in shark-infested waters – without so much as a hair out of place. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it." -Francine Jay
"I have dedicated a lot of my life to debunking the conventional wisdom in economics and communicating my ideas to people with as much elegance as I can create, especially through the written word." -Juliet Schor
"Spotting significant trends and inflection points early. It’s a combination of being a good marketect and instigator in one. The combination has allowed me to arrive early, define something, and have a great seat from which to make trouble." -Lisa Gansky
"I’ve been playing bluegrass guitar for 36 years. I also have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and have practiced Zen meditation for many years." -Chris O'Byrne