You’ll never feel ready to read your short story, and your poem could probably use more fine tuning.
Does that sound a little harsh? I swear I mean it in a positive way.
We’ve been hosting Writer’s Open Mics since November of last year, and let me tell you, the number of people who have come to the event saying they’re not ready to read their work is… okay, not a lot but enough! Honestly, I don’t know how many people have sat in the audience, beer or hot chocolate in hand, and wanted to share their writing but been too nervous. But I know of at least a couple who didn’t read until the second time they came. This blog post is for those people and anyone who can relate to them. It’s meant to be an encouragement for anyone thinking of getting up for our April 7th writer’s event!
Let me share a story.
This is a story about a short story, which I wrote. I once took a creative writing class in college and wrote a short story from the perspective of a little girl whose older cousin had run away. I had been volunteering with kids at the time and had become very in-tune with the inner workings of their minds. I honestly don’t think I could write from that perspective again!
This was the one and only creative writing class I took in college (I’d taken one in high school a few years earlier, to be fair) and the instructor ended up nominating that story for a small scholarship, which I won. I was so surprised! At the same time, I like to ponder whether anyone else was even nominated for the award, but this isn’t a blog post about my occasional low self-confidence and ability to make anything into a self-depricating joke.
I bring that story up because I still am as nervous as a cat at a dog’s birthday party when it comes to reading anything I’ve written. I like to read things that I wrote years ago so I can feel emotionally detached to any potential bad outcomes, y’hear? No amount of silly awards could take my inner scaredy cat away from me!
Which is why I said at the beginning that you’ll never feel ready. Unless you always feels ready, in which case, good on you, and also… how? But for the rest of us, remember that many touring musicians feel stage fright before their own concerts! Actors will look at their completed projects and only notice the flaws (or they just won’t watch anything they’re in). Published authors could likely edit for infinity if they didn’t have deadlines or children/plants to feed.
And so, if at this moment you want to read something at our next writer’s open mic or whip out your guitar or singing voice for the weekly unplugged open mic (Monday nights!)… know that you should! If you start to doubt yourself as the night draws nearer, remember that you’ll never feel ready, so you might as well get it over with now. Am I uplifitng or what?