People who haven’t known me since childhood might be surprised to learn I was my high school’s class poet my senior year, the dubious honor of which was standing onstage and reading some horrible bit of overblown poetry in front of the graduates and families.
OMG. I wore some horrible pink pantsuit and my mom says I was shaking so badly she could see me trembling from the stands.
*mumble mumble* number of years later, I’m still petrified before a crowd. And a crowd constitues anything over two people. Even if it’s people I know. I’ve ALMOST gotten used to reading to my writing group. Almost. And there’s only five of us.
Members of my group were encouraging me last night to participate in “Open Mic” night at the upcoming Alabama Writers Conclave conference, which takes place Friday through Sunday in Birmingham. “Take one of the chapters from River Road,” they encouraged. “People will love it.”
Uh, stand in front of a group of strangers–writers no less–and read? I’d rather have my eyes shoved out with ice picks. Really. I am not exaggerating.
So, this whole writer self-promotion thing is a daunting task for me. Author signings? Sure, I do well one-on-one. Workshops where I’m on a panel? Good deal. I’m all over that. I don’t have to be alone in the spotlight. Guest blogs? Online interviews? Hell yeah, I’m game.
Put me behind a microphone and make me talk? I’m SO not over that. I make myself do it. In the past few years, I’ve done hourlong speeches, multi-day workshops where I was the only faculty member. All kinds of stuff. I still feel the need to down a bottle of Xanax before the mic goes on, and I love to hide behind Power Point presentations.
Hmm…there’s an idea. Off to do a Power Point for my novels…