Someday you will have a published book in your hand. And then, horror of horrors, people are going to want you to stand up in front of a crowd and read from it. Writing, being largely a solitary occupation, doesn’t tend to breed extraverts, so for many of us the dreaded public reading is a terror-inducing event.
The solution to this conundrum is to practice and the best way to do this is among our treasured writer friends, who are supportive no matter what. I invite you to come to our After Party Open Mic (APOM), relax and enjoy a meal and stand up and read some of your work. It doesn’t need to be published, or even polished, but it should be a taste of the best you’ve got.
Here are some tips on making the most of open mic readings:
A. Attend. Be there. Show up. Do this thing. This audience is on your side, so get up there and read.
P. Practice. Get out your timer and read your piece aloud to make sure you can do it within the time limit. Include any opening remarks in your timing. Don’t let yourself be interrupted, it’s no fun for listeners or for you.
O. Open yourself up. Stand up straight, look at your audience and project your voice so everyone can hear. You may be afraid of the audience, but try not to act like you are. Pretend you are a fearless warrior and boldly face your fellow player. Remember, it will be their turn next!
M. Moderate your speed. When we get nervous, we tend to speed up and read too fast. Make a conscious effort to slow yourself down. It will help if you have practiced at home and know you have ample time. Don’t overdramatize or gesture too much. This is not theatre; it’s a reading. Let your writing be the drama. Spoken word artists are welcome and this doesn’t apply to them.
What tips have helped you at open mic readings? Add your tips in the comments below!