Writers Need To Get Comfortable In A Crowd

When I was asked to speak at my local writers guild I jumped at the opportunity because I’m insane. I always want to be useful. I want to help! And after I volunteer or agree to something I immediately have a volunteer’s version of buyers remorse. My mom once bought me a t-shirt that said “Stop me! Before I volunteer again.” This time  the situation is a little different. I really want to speak at the guild. I want to tell everyone about everything I’ve learned, and I want to be helpful to them in their quest for publication. If anything I’ve learned can be helpful then I want to help.

Here’s the problem. I’m not super comfy speaking to a group, even a group I love. I can talk around a table with ease, but something changes the minute I KNOW I’m supposed to lead the discussion. There’s just so much pressure.

I decided to talk about this today because as much as writers like to think of themselves as these quiet little squirrels, it’s better for business if we can talk to a group without having a stroke. I believe we will all have our day. We will see our words in print. That means having book signings, doing readings, meeting our readers, and putting ourselves out there at some form of promotional event. When we do, there will (hopefully) be people there to watch and talk to.

I want to remind you to look ahead, regardless of where you are on your journey to publication and suggest you take opportunities to talk to groups. Don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm with them. Talk about what you love, reading, writing, your character, words! It’s a beautiful thing when we can inspire someone else to reach for something they might otherwise have left alone.

This month at my guild I’ll be talking about the benefit and use of having a web presence. I’m not sure I’m the MOST qualified to talk about this, but I am definitely online night and day, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I’ll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime consider speaking to a group about something you love. You might even want to guest blog for someone. That’s a great baby step into networking and it will help build your web presence.

Anyone have a great story to share about how you handle promotional events or public speaking? Will I end up like one of those woozy brides on the funny home video shows? Face down on my tablet?

We shall see.

3 comments to Writers Need To Get Comfortable In A Crowd

  • Jennifer

    I decided to talk about this today because as much as writers like to think of themselves as these quiet little squirrels, it’s better for business if we can talk to a group with having a stroke.

    **I think you mean without, no?

    In any case, I think this is such a great topic to bring up. SO many writers are – myself included – are gunshy about social situations and borderline anti social but how can you get your writing “out there” where ever there is without talking about it…

    Good luck at your discussion and I hope to read how it goes!

  • I speak in front of my church quite often. Sometimes I pour my little heart out in front of the 300+ members, exposing my mistakes, flaws, whatever. No, it’s not easy but I always take a super deep breath and remind myself that I’m not about to tell everyone I found a cure for cancer. Instead, I’m just like all of them, and them like me. Nobody has titles or higher rankings. I’m just the girl brave enough to stand up, share and SHINE! You go girl!

  • Karen

    Wow! Good for you, Julie, and good luck!

    I am terrified of speaking to groups. Look up “Introvert” on a dictionary site and you’ll see my Twitter avatar waving at you. I’m working on it though. At my day job I’ve forced myself to participate more in meetings rather than just jotting notes (about the meeting or if I can’t help myself, story ideas. Ahem..) and doodling.

    I’m hoping that by participating more in groups of people that I know with a few unknowns mixed in, it’ll eventually be easier for me to talk to people I don’t know. I’m happy to say I no longer feel like throwing up before meetings now.

    I’d say it’s working a bit! :-)

    Keep writing!

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