Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Sunscreen and Scary Stuff

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is August’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Do you remember that song; Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)? Basically a long list of good advice put to music. I had it on CD. Loved it. Tried to live by it.

There was one particular line that still resonates: ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’. For me, that’s not difficult. I’m scared of everything. Some days, just stepping out of the front door is scary enough.

But I still do it. Because I think it’s important for me to push myself. When I look back over my life, I can see all the things that would have never happened if I didn’t do things that scared me. And the sense of accomplishment when I have pushed through my fears is like no other high.

I’ve just agreed to do something that terrifies me. Later this year, I’ll be appearing at a literary convention. I’ll be running a workshop, and, scariest of all, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion. On a stage. With a microphone. In front of an audience. An audience expecting me to be clever and insightful. (Thank goodness there’s no expectation for me to be funny!)

This terrifies me. I’m sure I’ll simply sit there, gaping like a fish, unable to get a single word out. I’m hoping that my theatre training will kick in and get me through it. But I know how good this is for business. How important it is. How many doors it could open.

Have you ever been on a panel discussion or led a workshop? What are your top tips? What scares you, and how do you push through your fear?

19 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Sunscreen and Scary Stuff”

  1. First, I have to applaud you for that attitude. You’re a rockstar! I’ve been on stage in one regard or another since the age of 10 for vocal performance, so it’s not as terrifying to me as it is to some people. But, I think the part that kills me is the aftermath. I just want to do my time in front of everyone, then run and hide. Don’t tell me how I did. I’ll second guess everything you say. LOL. It’s almost as bad as being an author. Anyhow, I wish you HUGE success with the presentation. Visuals and a well rehearsed script (with perhaps a dry run in front of a couple friends or family members) will make a big difference in your presentation/confidence.

    1. A dry run is great advice! Funnily enough, I pretty much grew up on the stage, but I was always hiding behind a character and a costume, and given lines to say. It’s appearing as myself that terrifies me!

  2. I also applaud you for taking on a challenge. Public speaking is intimidating! I turned down a school visit opportunity because I found it too terrifying. And I’m an extrovert. I try to remind myself of how many author friends I have who have done exactly that and survived. I have a To Do list right now with some pretty scary things on it. I can’t say I’m going all gung-ho into it, but I’m planning to move forward and check off those items.

    Here is my IWSG post for August: Top First Pages Pet Peeves AND How to Fix Them!

    1. I’d be far more terrified of kids than adults! Best of luck with your to do list. I find that simply throwing myself in, and committing to something before I have any time to dwell on it is the best way.

  3. I’ve done both– and they’re quite easy, really. All you really need is some prep ahead, so you know your stuff when you’re there. All the best with it– you’ll rock if you use your time to rehearse a lot.

    And when running a workshop, having a lesson plan really helps.

    1. I intend to be incredibly well prepared (which is totally against my nature usually!) I find comfort in lists and notes and instructions.

  4. Good for you to try one scary thing a day. I’ve been on panels and given talks. I used to teach school, so getting up in front of an audience didn’t used to be scary for me. Yet it is now in an odd way. Sometimes the wrong word comes out of my mouth. I know what I mean to say but . . . I’m afraid I’ll embarrass myself. Also, I’m afraid I’ll forget what I want to say so I have plenty of notes. I’m sure you’ll do fine. Practice helps. Best wishes.

  5. Great mindset! I have been on panels- the best thing is to just be yourself :). People are there because they know you or are interested in your topic–they are looking forward to hearing you speak! You’ll do great!

  6. I also think that “Do one thing that scares you” is a great piece of advice.

    Congrats on being invited! You’ll rock. I know it. 🙂

  7. You’ll be great! Just make sure you’re well rehearsed, and remember you’ve got a lot to say that people can benefit from. I think it’s important to scare ourselves. Good luck!

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