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!
5 thoughts on “What I Learned Last Night At My Writer’s Group”
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
I even took communications in college that made you give speeches to strangers, but this was something else. It’s helpful to know I’m not alone. Thanks for the support! 🙂
I’m sorry that you endured anxiety. I get it really bad too when I’m the center of attention. Next time take deep breaths and have that glass of wine!
Thank you! After the group, we sometimes go to a nearby bar to socialize, and a few of them suggested we start there next week. 🙂
Cool! That sounds like fun.