Written on 11-10-2021
INTERVIEW WITH MARIEKE VERHOEVEN
Meet Marieke Verhoeven, a highly ambitious Amsterdam-born and based freelance journalist. Marieke has been working for various Dutch and international print and online publications since 2008, including ELLE, VOGUE Man, Holland Herald, De Volkskrant, Intermediair, Management Scope, Rhapsody and many more. Her dedication and strong work ethic inspire us to look more for internal motivation to succeed and execute high-quality work.
T: Where do you get your writing style inspiration?
M: From music and especially hip hop. I don’t really look at other writers’ style and it usually comes pretty naturally. But I guess that I’m subconsciously inspired by music and mainly hip hop when it comes to rhythm, flow and cadence. I often repeat sentences in my head while I’m writing, to hear if they flow nicely.
T: What’s the best way to enrich your vocabulary?
M: Seems pretty obvious, but by reading. One of my favorite writers is Haruki Murakami, the Japanese master of magical realism. I also really like Michael Chabon, who brought a beautiful ode to his fashionable son in GQ a few years ago. And I always look up words I don’t know yet (I should write them down more though….).
T: Where do you seek inspiration for your interview questions?
M: That’s usually not a problem, as I’m a naturally curious person. I do read previous interviews with the person I’m interviewing, to see if their answers raise new questions. I try to avoid the super obvious or cliché questions, particularly when it’s someone famous and/or I’ve been given very little time. Better have a few original answers than a lot of standard ones.
T: How do you make sure to keep your authenticity in your work?
M: By not looking at what others are doing and just follow your gut. When you interview people, they usually notice it when you’re not comfortable or trying to act a certain way, so just being yourself is always the way to go. And by staying curious, I’m constantly thinking about new ideas and fresh angles whether I’m traveling or just biking around Amsterdam.
T: What qualities make good journalists?
M: Curiosity, an open mind, flexibility, strong social skills, critical thinking and the ability to turn complex matter into an accessible story.
T: What skills do you employ when interviewing individuals for stories?
M: Strong social skills are definitely a plus. You can be the greatest writer, but when you’re super awkward in your interactions, you probably won’t get the best input. Whilst always staying myself, I do try to adjust to the person I’m interviewing by wearing appropriate clothing or using certain vocabulary. The CEO of a big corporation probably talks differently than a TikTok star, so it helps to adjust your choice of words. But it shouldn’t be forced, don’t go using slang words you don’t know the meaning of! Lastly, don’t over-prepare. You have to be able to go with the flow of the interview and not get stuck on your original list of questions because you might miss out on a great conversation.
T: How do you ensure accuracy in your work?
M: Punctuation and attention to detail are not my strong suit, so I’m definitely grateful for a good sub-editor! I do always fact check myself, but you always need that second (or third) look. The worst thing is seeing your story in print with some typos still in it…
Written by TEN WOMEN