Hi everyone – it’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another IWSG day!
Later today I’ll be continuing with my We’ve Got It Covered series, but I wanted to take time out to connect with my fellow ISWGs first. What are you feeling insecure about today, guys? Let it all hang out, don’t be scared to dig deep and share your innermost fears …
What do you mean, I should go first? Oh, OK then. If I must. Well, this month I’ve decided to share with you a very big, very personal insecurity – speaking in public. Don’t groan – I know you think everyone hates this, but I have a very special reason to hate it more than most. When I was young I had a stammer, and there are vast chunks of my past which are marked by my inability to speak up. In school I was disadvantaged by not being able to read out loud (I remember all you evil teachers who showed no pity at all), and it made me overcompensate in some ways, and become very introverted in others. In my twenties it coloured other people’s view of me – the person who never likes to order in restaurants, who won’t make a simple phone call, who hates to be interrupted – and I’m sure it’s what made me retreat into my inner world and become a writer (every cloud …).
So why is this rearing its ugly head right now? Well, I’m fairly over my stammer. These days I can just about function, and phone calls are manageable, and it’s only when I’m very stressed it shows up at all. But speaking in public? Oh. My. God. It’s not just that I’m nervous – I know it’s impossible for me. I had to have intensive therapy just to say my wedding vows, for goodness sake! But this year I’ve set myself the challenge to overcome this fear.
This Saturday I’ll be at Market Drayton library helping to mark National Libraries Day, but I’ll just be standing by a table, shyly avoiding potential readers. That’s not how it was supposed to be – originally the manager of the library invited me to host a ‘Meet the Author’ evening, giving a talk and reading from my latest novel. Now, wouldn’t that be an amazing thing to do? Or how about speaking at literary festivals? Giving readings? Holding workshops? I could do all those things – I’m brimming over with ideas and enthusiasm – but this stammer thing is holding me back.
So, this is the year to overcome. Ideas and advice welcome – and please share your insecurities too, to make me feel better about mine!
February 6, 2013 at 7:48 am
Start with a small friendly audience and work your way up. Or just talk to everyone at the table instead of standing by shyly. I wish you all the best in overcoming this fear. The world needs to hear what you, and your characters, have to say.
February 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm
Public speaking can be very hard for people – especially if you have a speech impediment. Jen is right – start small and you might be surprised! Good luck anyway!
February 6, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Oh, poor you.
I have no experience or advice to give on overcoming a stammer, but for times when I’ve had to speak to groups, I find preparation (if necessary, learning chunks of the talk by heart and going over it again and again and again) are big helps to me.
Would you feel better about reading from your book, rather than talking ad-lib? That might be a good way to get your feet wet.
And, from your videos, we would never have guessed 🙂
February 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Oh my gosh, I so admire you for taking this on! I am so afraid of public speaking, and part of that fear goes back to a speech impediment I had as a child. The older I get now, the worse the fear gets and I know I need to overcome it.
Best wishes to you and I’m so glad to meet you through the IWSG!
February 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm
I really feel for you Jo. I was incredibly shy when I was at school (I lost a lot of confidence in myself when I was ill during my early teens) and would never speak up in class, let alone do any kind of public speaking. What helped me overcome some of my fears was drama – theatre studies at A-level and then a drama degree. So how about joining a drama group or have a one to one acting session or two?
Good luck on Saturday – you’ll be great!
February 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm
Oh gawd, I can totally relate to this, it’s one of the things that worries me about being published. I’m not a very outgoing person and the thought of having to give a talk makes me go weak at the knee’s lol 😉
Good luck honey, let us know how it goes…if your Vlogs are anything to go by, you’ll be great 🙂
February 8, 2013 at 10:46 am
Good luck for Saturday, Jo. You might find that once you’re talking to people about your book, your enthusiasm and ideas will carry you along. Would it help to think about your characters and giving them the showing off they deserve? Perhaps if you think of their voices rather than yours, they will do the talking for you!
If you can stand outside a bookshop and talk to the camera – as you did in a recent vlog – (and that looked scary), you can do this. I’m sure you’ll be really good.