Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On Writing and Speaking.



Some say that writing is a lonely profession. I guess it can be. Most of the time it’s just me and my keyboard and the white monitor screen with the little blinking line waiting to scoot left with each word I type. I don’t mind being alone with my thoughts and my characters. We sort of understand each other. If only being a writer was simply about writing.

Alas, I have found that being a writer requires me to have a whole other skill set. Public speaking.

Standing in front of people who are waiting for gems of wisdom or humor or both to drop from my thin white lips. Fingers clenched and cold, a stomach full of butterflies trying to churn my morning coffee into butter, a heart that keeps missing beats, that sums up what it’s like for me when I’m waiting for my introduction. Fear.

Happily, once I start speaking thing get better. The butterflies settle down, my heart steadies and my fingers stop aching. Why? Because I love writing. It’s God’s gift to me.

I love to talk about what it’s like for me to be a writer, what it took for me to become published and what happens when a manuscript leaves my hands to become a book for Steeple Hill.

I love educating people about our myth-filled profession. One woman didn’t know we did revisions. She thought all books were written down once and that was all it took. (Don’t I wish.) A lot of people think we make millions of dollars. (Don’t I wish.) There are actually people in the world who don’t have voices in their heads. (How is that even possible?)

I don’t really like public speaking but I love talking about being a writer because I want others to see more than a collection of pages when they pick up a book. I want readers to know the efforts and sometimes the agony that writers face trying to create wonderful stories for them.


What about the rest of you? Public speaking. Love it? Hate it? What makes you do it? How do you avoid it?

6 comments:

  1. I love public speaking, but I like the venue to be managable. I'm comfortable with 20-40, but once it gets to 50 it's hard to be hands-on. I think the most surprising thing I heard from the audience is one woman's surprise when she found out that editors didn't buy everything that was good. She really thought that if she finished her book, they'd buy it because it was good.

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  2. I like public speaking, but I don't like the preparation.

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  3. Pamela,
    I agree, more than 50 people is nail-bitting for me. The fewer the better.
    Pat

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  4. Merrillee,
    Thanks for stopping by. It's good to know some of us enjoy different parts of the task.
    Pat

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  5. As a former teacher, I don't mind small groups, especially if they want to talk about writing. But I'm always, always nervous. I think, "Gee, what if they think I stink?"

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  6. Cynthia,
    I'm so with you. I love to talk about writing but I'm afraid I'll step on my tongue and say something foolish.
    Pat

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