Belatedly Witten Up. Plus Some Thoughts on Public Speaking

Nomads in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace

When Words Collide was a success. I enjoyed the evening and by all accounts so did everyone else.

Personal thanks must go to Barbara Melville (hail to the dictator) and her editor Matt Nadelhaft for their understanding and support which enabled me to get through a very difficult writing process.

My flash fiction Nomadic Space, about a Mongolian Cosmonaut, was well received and I am so happy with it I am currently looking for somewhere to punt it. The image in this post is one of those that inspired me.

I was surprised that so many of the readers shunned direct Science Fiction as I fully expected that everyone would go for something a bit rockets and rayguns.  Instead the readers focused on the effect of space on the individual. As Paul F Cokburn mentions it was nonetheless a thought-provoking evening.

A note on public speaking

I was very pleased that my own reading went off quite well.  I was very nervous. Over the years I’ve had to learn all sorts of tricks for dealing with psychological pressure to perform and I thought I would share a few pointers.

  1. Grit your teeth. No not when you’re speaking – that won’t work, what I mean is ‘get through it’.  Just take a deep breath, relax it will be fine
  2. Don’t get sloshed beforehand.  Being drunk isn’t a state in which you can reliably deliver entertainment. Though I did once give a an excellent best mans speech in a state which can only be called “sloshed”.  I am told it was excellent. I also don’t remember what I said.
  3. Do at least a couple of run-throughs.  Get used to the words and how they sound when you speak.
  4. Draw a line under the editing process.  If you’re sitting in the bar and about to go on it’s too late to make much of a difference.
  5. Give it a final read before you stand up. I find this fixes the words in my head.
  6. Act confident.  Who cares if you’re not? It’s only you that knows that the little horrid you that lives in your head is shouting “BE NERVOUS” in your ear.  Don’t listen to him.  See point 1.

The result is that when you fess up to being nervous people say things like this:

Hang on, Mr Big bad Gav is scared of public speaking?? This makes me giggle!

I’m not bad, I may be a bit tubby and I thought I was going to shake to pieces.

I didn’t.  It was fine.


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