By SARAH MEGGINSON
It’s incredible how quickly your body responds physically when you feel stressed or anxious.
Like most people, whenever I do something that pushes me even slightly out of my comfort zone, I get nervous. And my body reacts with gusto: sweaty palms, dancing butterflies in my tummy, that awful feeling that you just might vomit at any second…
This is exactly how I felt when I walked into a meeting at a boutique publishing house in Sydney a couple of years ago, ready to hawk my writing skills for an exciting new gig.
The publishers had just landed a new client – a high-profile fashion designer – and they needed a ghost-writer to help her flesh out her new book. They’d put forward two potential writers, including little old me, and the client wanted to meet us both before she made her decision.
Problem? She was based in Brisbane, and we were in Sydney.
Solution? A hastily-organised Skype group video call using Skype prepaid cards. The cards allowed us to access group video conferencing and Skype Wifi. Each writer would pitch themselves to the client and her marketing team. It was the easiest way to bring everyone together.
I’ve actually never been more grateful to be sitting 1,000km from another person in my life. I’m sure if she had met me in the flesh that morning, the outcome of that meeting would have been very different…
I was able to mask my shiny forehead and sweaty palms from the team. They couldn’t see that I was sitting on my hands to stop fidgeting. And even the giant, unladylike slurps of water I was gulping down to mask my nervousness were less noticeable than in real life.
All in all, using Skype prepaid cards to meet via video conference gifted me the benefit of a few precious moments to collect myself and calm my breathing at the beginning of our conversation. I was then able to actually focus on what she was saying and somehow, reply in such a way that I came off as competent and professional… it must have worked, because I got the job!
We ended up working together on the book for around six months and during that time, we collaborated in loads of different ways: I flew to Brisbane for a couple of face-to-face meetings, we had fortnightly phone catch-ups, and when she and her marketing team wanted to talk about layouts or explain things more visually, we lined up Skype video chats.
The video calls were always my favourite: there’s something very comforting for your ego about seeing someone’s face when they give you feedback! It’s better than a phone call, and so much better than an email…
As a freelancer, my paranoia is always hovering just below the surface, ready to pop up at a moment’s notice.