When I think of my much younger self, I imagine a wild-child unafraid of nearly anything. I was the kind of kid who waded through creeks barefoot and hung upside-down from the highest branches possible; but most of all, I was known for pretending to sing opera music as loud as I could, regardless of where I was.
I don’t know at what point precisely I changed, but I know it was in the general area of that three-year purgatory of middle school. It was not just that I grew quieter. While I appreciate that this period of my life made me a much more observant, thoughtful person, I lost that desire to so forcefully present myself to world.
This change likely coincided with and reinforced the stage fright I have experienced since. I have heard other people talk with excitement about the anticipation they experience before speaking in front of a group, avidly describing the rush of adrenaline they feel. For me, there is less adrenaline and more fear.
In the last few years, my stage fright has not been so bad, but I think it is the worst when I am sharing my writing. Even in small groups, I get extremely nervous. My work is very meaningful and important to me, so it makes sense that with such a level of investment comes an equal degree of nervousness; but it gets frustrating when I am trying to focus on and read from a page that is shaking in my own hands in front of me.
I bring up my stage fright for a specific reason. I am excited to tell you, reader, that I will be participating in my first reading March 13 on campus. It is just an undergraduate reading, but I am excited—and of course, scared.
I haven’t yet decided on the second piece I will read, but I already know that I will share the work I described in one of my last blog posts. The problem right now is that I haven’t been able to get myself to finish editing it yet. I only have a few changes I want to make, but I think the idea of it is a little daunting, like I have a minor case of stage fright in front of my own computer screen. What if, in this different state of mind from the original composition, I somehow detract from it? Also, once I have put my editing foot down and tell myself I am finished, this reading will seem so much more real.
I will be editing it soon though. The 13th is fast approaching.
As a side note: I have updated the Useful Links for Writers page, adding Robert Lee Brewer’s Best Blogs for Writers to Read in 2012 and Brian Klems’ 12 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Blog.
What are your tricks for overcoming or dealing with stage fright?