Raise your hand if you’re intimidated by public speaking. If you’re in public right now, maybe just agree discreetly to yourself so strangers at the next table won’t give you the side-eye.
What is it about talking to a large audience that gives so many of us pause? Is it the staring, potentially judgmental crowd? Is it the harsh lights and wailing microphone feedback? Is it the possibility that we’ll forget to wear pants?
For most people, it’s the pressure of being “on”—front and center, live, in the hot seat.
Unless the words of your speech are graven upon your soul, you’re prime for derailment at any moment.
But what if, while you were up on that stage, there was a way to freeze or rewind time, without anyone knowing but you? You could choose your words perfectly or even reverse and rescue yourself from a disastrous quagmire of word salad.
How many people would be afraid of public speaking then?
Writing for an audience is public speaking, and your backspace key is your DeLorean.
It’s an absolute necessity that anyone who wishes to write must read, and read a lot.
Not only is reading proven to improve your writing and help you learn, but reading also exposes you to creative methods you may not have been aware of before. That goes for any creative media. The more you consume, the more you learn and grow as a writer.
For instance, without reading poets like Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson, I would have never known that some of poetry’s greatest works contain zero rhymes. Without watching Memento, I would have never realized that time doesn’t have to be linear in the films I create.
Consuming media doesn’t just teach you, it shapes you.
You know when someone can write.
The sentences flow, their ideas are clear, there’s a sense of command where every word seems right regardless of the genre.
Sometimes, while getting to know new writers, you’re impressed with their publishing credits, awards, or attention from industry insiders before ever hearing a paragraph.
Sure, as critique partners we come together to help each other, but there’s always that thread of anxiety in your brain wondering how your writing will stand up to theirs.
But no matter the genre, talent, or personality of the participants, learning to give and receive critique is a valuable skill — one that improves the craft of everyone involved… at least when applied correctly.
Writers, just go ahead and admit it: your guilty pleasure is words.
Long words, interesting words, crazy words. You collect them in secret, maybe storing them somewhere in the hope that you can use them someday — but when the opportunity finally arises, you feel too pretentious.
Well, today I’m here to give you courage. I’m going to introduce you to five new words to add to your arsenal — and I’m going to outline the perfect places for you to slip them into conversation or your writing in a way that feels perfectly natural.