Last week I did something I honestly didn’t know if I could, I stood up in front of a crowd of people and read them a story of mine. Not people in a crit group or on a creative writing course (oh god that was bad enough), but people who were out drinking and having a good time and were there to hear bands and people reading.
As you may be able to guess, I was totally terrified – especially as the wonderful A L Kennedy was also on the Golden Hour bill (albeit hours before me and long gone before I took to the stage). Although at least I didn’t have long to get worked up, as I was a bit of a last minute replacement.
Much to my surprise, it went fine! I was nervous, but didn’t stumble over my words too badly and managed to even keep myself from reading like an android. I’m still asking myself how I managed it. The only explanation I can come up with is that your confidence can be steadily improving and growing without you even noticing.
In my head, I’m still the teenager that can’t even ask for a bottle of juice when on holiday in Portugal and has to get her friend to do it for her. But in the real world, I’m head of a copy department and give training presentations to clients pretty often.
These two things seemed impossible to reconcile, until I was up on the stage and able to say to myself ‘this is the same thing, you want to explain something the best way possible – it’s just that this time you’re explaining the emotions in your story instead of how to write good copy’.
Whether this is a trick that’ll bear repeating or whether it was blind beginners luck I have no idea. But I love the idea that self confidence can very quietly bloom and that you don’t have to be one of those naturally loud people to do things like that. Do any of you read often? Do you enjoy it or do you find it scary like me?
11 thoughts on “Confidence is a grower”
I really don’t think it’s possible for me to read out loud. Ever since I can remember I’ve stuttered and stammered when I try to read – though I think it’s because I go too fast. I tend to be better at reading aloud in Spanish because I slow way down, so perhaps this is the key? We may never know.
Anyway, congratulations again on this awesome event. You must be so chuffed. I know I am!! And it’s great that it goes well, cos now you’ll feel happy and confident about the next time too.
I gotta say though that at the part in this post when you said “instead of how to write good copy” a part of me lit up thinking how that would’ve been a GREAT idea 😛
thank you Kittles! I bet you’d be fine with enough practise. You managed to get over the phone, you could get over the speed reading. deep breaths!
I enjoyed reading this article. It makes a lot of sense.
Confidence is one of my favorite traits, as I believe lack of confidence and self-esteem is one of the easiest ways to sell ourselves short. Confidence is in my view something which essentially comes from the inside. It is a reflection of the beliefs we use to interpret reality.
So confidence and esteem can be gained by changing our outer reality, by it is most often gained by changing our inner one.
You are my hero. I won’t even attach my name to my blog (I’m building up to it, someday). I don’t like sharing my personal writing. In the day job, others tell me that I’m fine in client meetings. I still hate it. I probably always will. I can, I suppose, learn to get better at it.
to be honest, I still hate client meetings too and get all nervous and flustered beforehand – and this is my pen name which is ever so slightly different to my, erm, birth name! Soooo, probably not the best hero!
Get sharing though, it’s worth it 🙂
I think you’re my hero too! 🙂 Wow- I cannot imagine myself reading up there, I’d probably choke on my own words… I’ve read my stories in my workshop but those were all aspiring writers and I knew them personally.
I hope confidence does grow without us noticing it. I used to speak in court so easily but somehow reading my stories out loud to strangers… choking 🙂
you know, I actually found it harder to read to a workshop group than to the audience. Up there, it feels more like acting, and you know that not all of them spend as much time thinking about writing and you and the rest of your writer friends do. If you could do it in court, I’m confident you’ll be able to do it with stories when you try!
Hi Lynsey, You’re absolutely right about confidence growing. I used to have to throw up before doing presentations at university. At one stage last year I presented a lecture to four hundred undergrad students. LOL…I got all miked up and actually found myself grinning at my AV guy. “Okay,” I said “Let’s rock this joint!” It’s taken a lot of practice (some success as well as a few failures from which to learn) before I started really enjoying myself. I think part of the trick is changing the focus. It’s not about you…it’s about your audience, just like when you write!
Four hundred undergrads? Yikes. Well done. For that and for getting over the throwing up stage, I feel lucky I manage to avoid that one!
You are a star Lynsey and I’m sooo proud of you. x
hehe, thanks 🙂