I was born a shy person. Not quiet. My mom can attest to that one. But I was always shy. Or, at least, I never much enjoyed the spotlight, if the fact that I would always run off the stage in tears during school programs was any indication. My strength always lay in my ability to write. I jokingly tell my friends that I come with a notebook and pen attached, and anyone who knows me well will tell you that they are always shocked when they catch me in a moment where I don’t have pen and paper in hand. Speaking, though…
Writers come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Some writers are peppy and outgoing, soaking in all the attention they can get while simultaneously promoting their books (i.e. Richard Castle, from Castle).
Others of us, though, prefer to hide behind the words we write, pouring our heart out to our readers through ink (or, nowadays, pixels) in a way that we cannot convey through spoken words. Unfortunately for us, however, public speaking – and for the rare few lucky enough to actually have fans they’ve never met, talking with strangers – is very nearly the bane of our existence. I remember the first time I met one of my favorite authors. I was crazy nervous, but eventually got up the courage to go say hi and tell him that I liked his books. I was both shocked and slightly disappointed to discover that he was as unfriendly and untalkative as me. Maybe even more so. Probably more so.
When I was in high school, I thought I could escape with just one speech class under my belt. No such luck. I had to take another one in college. This was followed by class presentations, defending honors projects in front of a room-full of Masters and Ph.D.’s, youth leadership, and now, deaning. To say that I have been pushed out of my comfort zone is a monumental understatement.
And so, after over 20 years of hiding my face from the world as much as possible, I’ve decided it’s time to start overcoming my fear of people seeing me. For me, that starts with YouTube videos. Hopefully it’ll help me improve my speech. Maybe it’ll help me refocus on my writing, too. In any case, I just wanted to share this with you in case you’re willing to watch and give me constructive criticism. Because, let’s face it, I need all the help I can get.