Saturday was my monthly RWA meeting. I'm so going to miss my friends from the Aloha Chapter! We're a small group. We have 26 members, but probably half of them live on the mainland, so it's usually just 10 or so of us that meet regularly.
We had the usual fun time, talking about writing and stories, then carrying the conversation over to lunch. We practiced reading our work aloud since 8 of us are reading at a local library in the next two weeks. I'm reading on Wednesday, July 19th. This will be my first reading in public and I'm trying not to think about it too much. Ha! I'll be reading “Maddie's Marine” from Strong Currents 2.
What I learned about reading aloud? Slow down, first of all. You may think you're reading slowly, but chances are — if you're new at it — you're reading much faster than you think. Slow dooooowwwwwn. Enunciate and take your time.
Secondly, make eye contact with your audience. Project your voice outward, not down to the page in front of you. Third, practice, practice, practice at home before doing this in front of an audience. And time yourself, so you know how long it takes to read the excerpt you've chosen. We will have approximately 10 minutes each, so that's time for an introduction, a bit about the story, excerpt, and thanking the audience.
I'm sure we discussed other tips too, and I have notes and the handout that our experienced reader prepared, but this is what I remember off the top of my head. Most important, I think, is the advice to practice, preferably in front of someone you trust to give you good feedback. Fortunately, my husband is an accomplished public speaker and he's been giving me some good advice.
Did I mention, btw, that the first word of my story is “sex”? I can't believe I have to say that out loud in front of a bunch of people I don't know. Yikes.
I can remember the first time I read in front of a group of people. I was terrified.
It was at the end of a weeklong writer’s conference/workshop. I was taking the writing for children workshop, but there were several different workshops from novel writing to poetry. At the end of the week on Saturday, we could, if we chose, read a piece that we had been working on during the week. The audience was made up of all the workshop attendees and instructors plus the public was invited as well. The campus theatre was almost full.
When my turn came, as I walked up to the podium, I was so nervous I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and it continued to do that the entire time I was reading. I thought I’d done an awful job of reading, but I had people come up afterwards and tell me how much they enjoyed my story. Talk about an ego boost! I still get nervous when reading to a large group, but from experience I can tell you that it gets easier with time.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Sue! Fortunately, we’ll be seated at a table, four of us side by side, so no podium. Thank heavens! I know I’ll be nervous though….