Setting Self Doubt on Fire: How to Prepare for a Book Reading Event
Hi, everyone! I’m back with some more self-doubt fighting words.
So, what do I have for you today? Well, I will be talking about how you can prepare for a book reading event.
My writing group (Oldbury Writing Group) has just published our first anthology, which is titled From Sunrise to Sunset. The anthology is a collection of short stories and poems about the Second World War. And to help promote our book, we will be taking part in a World War Two event, and during this event, each member will be reading some of their World War Two stories and poems.
Now, this won’t be the first time that we have read out our work to an audience, but due to us being part of a bigger event, we could potentially be reading our stories and poems to the biggest audience we have ever had. Now, as a fellow self-doubter the thought of reading out my stories to a bigger audience than I have ever read out to before scares me.
I have mentioned before in my other post ‘Reading aloud to an audience’ that I’m not great when it comes to reading out my work. I read too quickly, I stutter, and I struggle to make myself heard. Like many self-doubters, the thought of having everyone’s attention fixed on me while they listen to my work fills me with dread – it’s the kind of thing that causes you to have nightmares.
However, even though I would like to pay someone to read out my stories and poems for me, I will not back down from this challenge. This event will be my way of tackling the read aloud challenge and the setting self-doubt on fire challenge. And even though I fear that the audience will boo me and tell me to step aside for a real talented writer, I have to do this. I have something to say, and only I can say it.
So, to give myself the best chance, I have come up with a plan. And this is what I will be sharing with you today.
My preparation plan for my book reading event:
- Timing yourself – I have a 10-minute slot to read out a mixture of my poems and short stories. So to make sure I don’t go over, I have timed myself reading out each piece. And I have also found a useful website where you can see how long it should take to read out a certain number of words. This allows you to see if you are reading too quickly http://www.speechinminutes.com/
- Practising in front of a mirror – this is a great way to see how you look while you are reading out your work. You can see if you look at the audience enough. You’ll also be able to spot your non-verbal communications, for example, if you look bored – a bored reader equals a bored audience.
- Practising the tips I mentioned in my ‘Reading aloud to an audience’ post – those tips include breathing control, faking confidence, perfecting your performing voice, etc.
- Practise reading aloud every day – we all know that the more you do something, the better you get at it. You’ll soon see that your confidence grows after each practice. Also, it gives you a chance to work out how your piece needs to be read, especially for a poem.
- Positive thinking – sometimes the best thing you can do is to think positively. If you believe you will fail, you will. If you believe you will succeed, there’s a chance you might.
I won’t lie, even with all this preparation, I’m still incredibly nervous. I could still suck, but there’s a chance that I won’t. There’s a possibility that people will enjoy my story, and hey, I might even get a standing ovation (one can dream). Either way I, or you, won’t know unless we try.
So fellow self-doubters, if you also have a book reading to prepare for, then remember these tips, and let’s set self-doubt on fire.
To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:
“Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo