What I Learned Last Night At My Writer’s Group

UnhappyIconGracious.  Last night, for the first time, I read some of my work to the group; a few pages of the script I’m thinking of adapting into a tv series.  I’ve been attending this particular writer’s group since January, and some of the members have become friends, so I was completely taken by surprise at the level of anxiety that overtook me when I started to read.  I haven’t been that nervous since the first time I had my work read aloud in college, many moons ago, which I did eventually get over.  Obviously, it’s been in hiding.  The quivering voice that made me more and more self conscious as I continued to read, the spastic hand that made it difficult to scroll, reiterated to me why writers drink.  Our group leader brings wine for everyone each week, but last night I did not partake…I really should have.  I got positive feedback, so that felt good, but I felt stupid that at this point in my life, I couldn’t control the nervousness.  I was surprised they were even able to pay attention to the words beyond the trembling.

This unsettled me.  If I had this level of anxiety among people I knew, how would I be able to pitch and sell my stories to strangers?

I used to wait tables and bartend.  Talking to strangers comes easily, but talking about myself and my work on a bigger scale is clearly a hurdle I will have to overcome.  I was thinking back to my first days as a server.  I was nervous, but nothing like what I experienced last night.  I became a pretty good server, often asked to wait on special guests at the restaurants I worked in…I would have to remember those principles I once implemented as a server; being friendly, professional, confident.

I would also have to practice.  As I had been able to get over the anxiety in school through repeated exposure, I would have to do the same thing at the writer’s group.  I mean, I am to blame for not getting myself and my work out there more.  I’ve been attending the group for 6 months and I just shared my work?!  Geez.  So I came to the conclusion that I would have to read, and read, and read some more.  I would have to get comfortable being vulnerable again.  I’m not sure if it was the judgement I feared or what exactly, but I was reminded of a particular quote when I got home –

Your work is not you.

If anyone has any advice to offer on the subject, please share!

On a side note, I wrote about 700 words of some Dragon Age fan fiction…

I’m sending out positive vibes today!  Best wishes!

 

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5 thoughts on “What I Learned Last Night At My Writer’s Group

  1. I’m happy that you actually got up there, I would still not do it after 6 moths. I have the worst anxiety among anyone I know! It’s like you said, how am I ever going to pitch my work if i can’t to people without trembling and stammering???!!!omg

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