Stage Fright: How to Read Your Work in Public

The Loft’s Writer’s Block tackles the touchy subject of public speaking. In the piece, Rebecca Schultz recounts how she had to recite an assignment in front of her class–and nearly fainted from shaking.

When I read this the next morning in class, however, everything went as I originally expected. My hands shook worse than they ever had before and I had tears streaming down my face. I was horrified. A week or so later, I got my grade, and it was higher than you would expect for someone who bolted out of the room in tears the second it was over. The comment section said something like, “The fact that you were physically shaking as you were reading about your fear of trembling made it that much more personal—and passionate.” From then on I realized that one of the most important parts of reading your work is allowing the audience to see how personal it is to you, and I’ve tried my best to carry this on with me through college.

Writing itself is already an intensely personal process, and to read your private thoughts out loud is too invasive for some people. But it can also be the most intimate form of expression between artist and audience!

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