Gracious. 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!