August 21, 2020– Quick, what would make your writing life ideal? Hold on a second, let me clarify that question. What accomplishments would make you feel like “you made it” as a writer? The answer is different for everyone. When I polled 100 writers last year at a festival and asked what would make them feel like they’ve made it as an author, here’s what they said:
A traditional publishing deal.
Being on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
Seeing their book in a book store.
Seeing someone in public reading their book.
Signing their books at an event/book tour.
Having their book turned into a movie.
Being interviewed on TV about their book.
Seeing a celebrity with their book.
Quitting their day job to write full-time.
Having their book translated and sold in different countries.
These were the top ten answers, but what do they all have in common? That every single thing on the list would evoke a feeling of excitement and pride. This list can be broken down to one thing-how these events would make us feel. It all comes down to feeling good about our work, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need ANY of the things on the list as accomplishments to feel good about your writing. I’m also here to tell you that if you feel good about your writing and your work, that you’ve already made it as an author. No outside factor should be able to define you as an artist, you are not more or less, with or without any or all of the things on the list. Don’t focus on accomplishments, do it for the love of the work. Keep writing, the world needs your stories.
January 14, 2019- As authors know, occasionally we must give lectures about our books or our work. Public speaking is something that we should be used to by now because we’ve been preparing speeches since we were kids. Public speaking doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to be scarier than death, (I’m not kidding when I say that people would rather choose death than to stand in front of a crowd and talk…seems crazy to me!) because here’s all you need to know to successfully speak in public.
Prep your stuff. Chances are that you know what you’re talking about when you’re speaking on your profession or when talking about your book, but It’s always good to prepare in advance in case the butterflies make you lose your mind and forget everything you’ve ever known. A couple of index cards are great when giving a formal speech with some notes jotted down in point form, or when speaking about your book, practice what you’re going to say or read (like an excerpt from your work).
Vocal power. Speak slowly, pause, breathe, and smile. The last thing you want to do is come across as incoherent. Remember that episode from Seinfeld with the low talker and the close talker? Don’t do either of these things. Speak slowly, clearly, and loud enough so that the audience at the back of the room can hear you. If you’re nervous about speaking in public already, the worst thing to happen is for someone to shout from the back of the room, “WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Cue red cheeks and sweat stains. Remain calm and speak with confidence and power.
Listen. When the question period of your lecture comes, be sure to listen to what your readers/clients/associates are asking you. Pause a few seconds before you answer and never, ever interrupt when someone is asking you a question. Make your questioner feel good and avoid making negative associations. Don’t make them feel bad or wrong and watch your body language. You’ll have your fair share of dumb questions, but keep those feelings to yourself. We’ve all asked a dumb question at one time or another!
So, get out there and tell the world about what you do and what you’ve written! They deserve to know how awesome you are. X LLB
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