I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
January 5, 2012
Once I realized that I was going to be co-moderating a forum between 100 moms and Newt Gingrich in front of every major news agency in existence, I basically had two options. I could FREAK OUT about all the cameras setting up in the back of the room (which was, I’ll admit, very tempting), or I could just… not think about them.
I decided to not think about them.
After all, I reminded myself, had I not conducted live interviews every single day back when I was a morning news anchor in Columbia, South Carolina, with all kinds of people, INCLUDING presidential candidates? If I could handle it at 22, SURELY I could handle this at 36.
And so I studiously avoided the television producers, reporters and camera men bustling around me in the crowded forum space, and focused on my notes.
“OMG, everybody’s coming!!” a production assistant from my team squealed. I looked up. She smiled expectantly. “CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox! They’re ALL HERE! Are you SO NERVOUS?! I’m DYING!!”
The bubble of “not caring” that I’d carefully constructed around me shimmered, ready to pop.
“I’m okay,” I said, smiling weakly. MAINTAIN THE BUBBLE. “I’m excited.” I said, more firmly.
And actually, I really was. Every time I felt my nerves getting the better of me, I reminded myself of some very important things. I had done this before. It had been a while, but wasn’t news reporting like riding a bike? YES. IT WAS. Better yet, this time, I wasn’t doing it in an attempt to angle for a bigger and better job. I had all I wanted already– a great writing career, a great husband, great kids– I was doing this whole election thing because it was exciting, and fun, and because it’s contributing to the greater good, and because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had nothing to prove.
The news media in the back of the room were scary– but they REALLY DIDN’T MATTER. Unless I, you know, vomited on Newt’s shoes during the event and became a YouTube viral sensation.
BUT WE WEREN’T GOING TO THINK ABOUT THAT, WERE WE? OH NO. WE WEREN’T GOING TO THINK ABOUT THAT.
Honestly, my most nervewracking moment came before the forum even got underway. We were shooting a few scenes for the wrap-up story I was doing on the event, and one shot called for me to sit in one of the chairs on stage and talk about what was about to happen. It was a pretty long segment, and I only had a few minutes to nail it.
“Quiet on the set!” one of our producers shouted as we got ready to shoot. The entire room immediately grew silent, as everyone in it stopped what they were doing and turned to look at me. In that room were reporters from the New York Times. The LA Times. Politico. USA Today. And there were faces in that crowd that I recognized from years of watching them on the news when I was a college student, dreaming of one day being a reporter myself. OMG, INDEED.
I took a deep breath and got through it– and believe it or not, that, ladies and gentlemen, was the scariest part of my day. Once Newt came out, it was a piece of cake. He’d brought his whole family with him and because of his long history in Georgia where I grew up, and all I had read about him over the years, I sort of felt like I already knew all of them, and where they came from. As for the moms in the audience, I took a few minutes to meet some of them before the event started, which helped immeasurably once I was on stage. I wasn’t just “performing” for a crowd of strangers– I was, in a sense, introducing a presidential candidate to Mary, who’d driven three and a half hours to be there, and Christine, who couldn’t decide who would get her vote, and Margaret, a mother of five. The atmosphere was warm and convivial, and while tough questions were asked, they were asked among a group of mostly moms who really seemed to respect each other– not steely-eyed reporters intent on scoring their next sensational headline.
Why am I writing all of this? Well mostly, I’m writing it for myself. This is a year I always want to remember, and unless I “journal” it, that won’t happen. This blog still is and always will be a record of my life, one that I’m happy to share with all of you.
But I’m also writing about it because I’ve been on the other side of this- watching friends and acquaintances and bloggers make appearances on network television and publish wildly successful books, and it seems like they all make it look so easy. And I’m here to tell you that despite those breezy Facebook updates and super-confident Tweets they’re writing about all their fabulous experiences, trust me when I say that they feel the same terror and nervous stomach that you would if you were in the same situation. They doubt themselves and their abilities. They look at themselves in the mirror and wonder if — and WHEN– they’re going to fail. And they worry about what you’ll think of them then.
And if they aren’t feeling these things, something’s wrong with them.
We’re all just people, you know? We all go through highs and lows, and I wish there was more acknowledgement of this fact, more honest sharing, and less jockeying for position.
I could go on and on about this, but my four-year-old has been begging me all morning to play school with him, so I’m going to wrap this up, with that wrap-up I was telling you about!
Tomorrow, my long-awaited (by me, anyway- I’ve been dreaming of turning Style Dare into a web series for YEARS) Internet series debuts over at CafeMom Studios and I can’t WAAAAAIIIIITTTT for you to see it! Consider this the SQUEE heard round the world!
After that, we’re back to stories here about kids and family life and people who annoy me. And you’re probably breathing a HUGE sigh of relief…
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I’ve been so happy for your success, and you make a good point about nerves. You looked great and sounded great and humanized Newt—not easy to do! Looking forward to the style series and the posts about your regular life in 2012!
Thanks, Kathy! I’m looking forward to getting back to a more normal writing schedule here. I love you guys to death, but I have the added incentive of chronicling everything for my kids down the road- that’s why I could never abandon this blog, even when comments are down to TWO. ;D
you are really onto some BIG BIG places. Not that what you are doing isn`t already there. But really you are about to be BIG time. Congratulations!
I don’t know about that, Megan, but thanks for the vote of confidence! I’m just really excited to be doing all of these things right now, and it’s nice to be in a place where my life was great without them, too. It’s really freed me up to enjoy the journey and not worry about what I should be doing next. 🙂
I found the interview on a Des Moines website after your first post about this, and watched it all from start to finish. Being used to the way it’s done in the UK this was doubly interesting – relaxed, friendly, not overly confrontational, which I think is the way to get to know people. I thought you were professional, controlled and charming (and wow doesn’t that blue suit you). Can’t say the same for the young man on your left – I know he was sort of in charge, but he made it very obvious that this was the case, in fact he stood determinedly in front of you during his initial explanations before NG came on. NG acquitted himself well I thought, but again I was very unimpressed by the other interviewer extracting tears out of him by forcing him to talk about his mother. It was transparent and (for me) bad taste. But there you go – perhaps everybody else loved it and I’m on my own here. Personally I think your career on TV is assured, and I’m preparing myself to be sad when you no longer have time to share your wonderful writing with us… Well done anyway!
Thank you Caroline! I’m impressed that you watched the whole thing and appreciate your input. 🙂
I love getting to live vicariously through you, Lindsey! And, thank you for posting about the nerves in such a humorous way. I look forward to your posts.
Thanks, Amy! I feel the same way about you. I am completely fascinated by your life. 🙂
So cool! You did a great job.
Thank you! It was definitely one for the Reverse Bucket List! ;D
[…] started January with a bang, fresh off of moderating a forum with Newt Gingrich and a room full of moms. We shared a space with MSNBC, hence the so-not-surreptitious photo of Chris Matthews. Newt at the […]