I’m working on a presentation for a forthcoming conference and I’m more than a little bit scared.
I mean, I have to talk. To grown-ups. And seem like I know stuff.
And, the thing is, I do know about the contents of my presentation – It’s mostly about me, after all, and my journey to publication. It’s also a little bit about different routes others can take to publication, but I know that stuff as well. And the stuff I didn’t know very well to begin with, I’ve now researched.
So I do know what I’m talking about. But good golly, I’m still terrified.
I trained as an actor, but I didn’t make it very far with that because, to really succeed as an actor, you need to be an extrovert. And I realised I’m really not one of those. I’m shy. I can be awkward in social situations. I’m not good at explaining myself well, orally. I babble. I forget words.
The only time, in fact, when I really feel in control of words is when I’m writing them. It’s why I love being a writer. I’m good at communicating via the written word. When it comes to using my mouth? Notsomuch.
And, I’ve found, these days especially, so much of being a professional author is getting out there and actually doing the talking with the mouth. No longer can you hide in a garret and just send your books out into the world to do your talking for you. There are school talks to give, festivals to attend, conferences to speak at. You have to become a little bit extroverted to succeed. And the school talks, I can do. Talking to young people I find easy. But grown-ups are scary.
I have to get over it, though.
So I’m doing a presentation at a conference. And introvert me is shaking in her pink converse. Because, yes, I’d rather be writing. But I also know that, once I’m up there, I’ll be okay. And the audience will be nice, and it will be a chance to share what small amount I do know with people who are eager to hear it. And maybe I will learn from them.
And then I can get home, and I can write about it – or about dragons and fairies, if I want to – and the world will be okay again.
Is it just me? Or are there other writers out there who dread public speaking?