Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Any writer who plans to market their own work, at that is probably about 99.9% of us, speaking well is a benefit well worth pursuing.
Even if you never intend to do a book signing, a radio interview, or join a panel discussion, speaking well gives you the confidence to excel in other areas of writing.
I’ve been a fair-weather member of Toastmasters since 2010. I would give one or two speeches a year before my local club members. Then I would take on other roles in weekly meetings for a number of weeks before drifting away. My ability to speak in front of an audience never improved.
This year, I decided it was now-or-never. I wrote and gave Speech #7 in July. Scared out of my wits. Held only the polite people’s attention for any length of time; misunderstood in my main point by others. I decided I needed more help than I was getting up to date.
Ask and you shall receive.
Our VP of Education agreed to mentor me. After I wrote Speech #8, she did a quick edit. I practiced, practiced, practiced the speech until I felt confident it was the best I could do. I gave the speech, entitled Writing the First Draft and won the blue ribbon for best speaker that week.
I was so excited about winning, I posted an article on my blog site and spread the word on Facebook. The editor of Sisters in Crime, Inc.’s newsletter, First Draft, asked me to write an article for November that explained speaking with confidence is beneficial to writers. With my confidence level soaring, I wrote and submitted the article.
From there, everything I touched turned, well, not to gold, but into a successful project. I wrote an emotional speech for Speech #9 but it was so emotional, I had trouble with the beginning and went over my allotted time. Even though I was ineligible for a blue ribbon, I was voted best speaker that week. Trust me, I didn’t care about the ribbon.
In October, I am holding a “mock” Toastmasters meeting for our Sisters in Crime/Hawaii monthly meeting, to give our members a taste of how learning to speak in front of an audience or small group is a beneficial goal for all writers.
You may have seen the survey that shows the most feared human experience, even ahead of dying (as in: I’d rather die), is speaking in front of an audience. Admitting you are petrified to speak in public is a good first step toward becoming a confident speaker. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.