I’ve turned into a Nervous Nelly. And I’m not normally a Nervous Nelly at all. BUT-- Recently I agreed to do a workshop on Story Boarding for my home chapter of RWA, the Kentucky Romance Writers. I have a couple of months to get it together before our yearly retreat-workshop. It’s not until the 28th of March. But being the teacher I am, I have to obsess over it for a few weeks and get my thoughts together.
Story boarding is an easy process and I do it because I’m such a visual person it helps me keep my plot advancing, encourages me to brainstorm, and enables me to track my character/romance development. But doing it, and teaching it to others are two different things. And trying to make it interesting and entertaining for them—well—I’m not ready to go there, yet.
I stand up before six hundred and sixty elementary children every week and teach them about art history and art. In the fall each year, I teach a college class, people who want to be Elementary Teachers. So public speaking isn’t normally a big deal.
But standing before a group of your writing peers, published and unpublished---
All right I’m going to say it out loud —it’s a whole different STORY. It’s like the dream you have when you’re under lots of stress that you’ve shown up for work naked and no one will offer you their coat and you try and hide behind a waste basket the size of a toilet paper roll. And – well you get the idea.
So I’ll do my pretend confidence thing for a while. It’s no big deal—I can do this—I’m the teacher—I can teach anything. But to be honest, once I get up there to give my presentation, I’ll have bats in my belly. I’ll break out in a cold sweat. My breathing will be quick and labored. I’ll be wondering if I’m going to barf in public or just pass out. God forbid either should happen. Or maybe the passing out thing won’t be too bad and I’ll be able to get out of –naw- I said I’d do it, and I will.
The dread of waiting my turn will make it worse. Let me do my presentation first thing, like while everyone is out in the lobby getting coffee. That would be the perfect time.
But once I get on my feet and hand out my visual aids—got to have visual aids since story boarding is a visual process—I’ll take a deep breath and settle into my teaching rhythm. And I will survive the experience. And I may even have fun. I AM going to have FUN.
I’ve given birth three times and survived. It can’t be any worse than that. CAN IT?
Tell me how you survive your public speaking nerves. I’m open to any suggestions.