WRITING CONFERENCES IV
Two weeks ago I mentioned the writer’s natural ability to fly—to write—as compared to the birds of the air having the natural ability and motivation to take-wing and soar. I know this to be true because of the complete peace and freedom I feel when sitting in my office at the keyboard, allowing ideas to flow and become pages that (I hope) will be passable communication between me and the Reader.
However, this natural state evades me when called upon to speak in front of a group of people. So it was that I selected a challenging workshop at the Writers Conference for my main focus, the Speakers Intensive Clinic. You see, my friends, when you become published there WILL be a need for you to TALK about what you’ve produced. Here are a few basic concepts that I practiced during the conference and came away with to help me continue developing this ability.
1. Who, What, When, Where and Why? Sound familiar? These lovely little words guide us in the creation of the characters in our novels, the plot, setting and deeper elements of creative story telling. They are also very necessary when presenting (speaking about) our finished product to agents, editors and the reading public.
a. Know Who the Audience is. Do the research about your venue and the people expected to attend.
b. What Are Their Expectations? What are their dreams? What goals do they have?
c. When—in their life-journey—Are You Speaking to Them? Is this audience full of unpublished writers who want to accomplish what you have? Are they various ages—a youth group—senior writers?
d. Where will you be speaking? I’ve heard authors talk about “walking the room” before their audience arrives. Some pray for strength to actually complete the speech and pray for the audience that each one will take away what they need. Most important, each of these speakers takes the time to get a “feel” for the setting—the venue. If the seats look particularly uncomfortable, they might need to add a break-time to allow their audience time to stretch and pull in brain-power oxygen.
e. YOU Must Know WHY You Are Speaking. Every writer has a message to give and a “speaker-personae” within themselves to present it. You could not have finished your book—whether non-fiction or fiction—without that message. Is it meant to inspire people, entertain them, provoke them to think for themselves? If you haven’t identified it, outlined it forward and backward. Without a clear message in mind, it is unlikely your audience will understand what you’re trying to say.
2. Be Ready To Be Transparent. We hear that word, transparency, in the political arena a lot these days. The best speakers I’ve ever listened to—whether writers, or politicians, or pastors—have been ready and willing to share a truthful personal story within their speech. It doesn’t need to be a confession of any sort, yet when revealing a piece of one’s life to others we offer them a “real” connection that leads to friendships, Facebook followers and book-buyers.
3. Keep Yourself Aware. LOOK at what is going on around you both close to home and around the world. Is there a story in those events that relate to you and/or your book(s)? Write it down. These short scenarios—and your thoughts about them—also connect you to your Readers.
A final thought: Yes, there will be many times when we’re called upon to talk about our book(s) on a moment’s notice. Learning and PRACTICING these pieces to the speech-preparation-puzzle will allow us to do so with grace and flare. Eventually, it will become fun! ⚓︎
||ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.