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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reading Aloud

Photo: 'Microphone' by ~Elenchos on DeviantART.
Tomorrow night, I will be participating in the reading a lecturer from Deakin Uni is running at a pub in Melbourne. I get two minutes in front of the mic to read something of my own creation. I had to specify time length (no more than four minutes allowed) and tone when I applied, so I said I'd write and read something of two minutes in length with a light/cheerful tone. Tonight, I'll be giving that piece a final bout of editing and then print it off, so I can keep looking at it all day tomorrow.

I've never been particularly good at reading things out loud. My eyes go ahead of where my mouth is and I end up stuttering and stumbling and accidentally combining words in my head and then pausing to try and separate them because I know that if I say it, I'll sound all kinds of stupid. But then I end up pausing for far too long and looking like an idiot anyway. Generally, I've always tried to avoid having to read out loud, especially if I'm not already a little bit familiar with the passage. I also find that my tongue suddenly seems a lot heavier and fatter than I remember, which makes speaking very difficult.

Up until this year, I'd never really read any of my own work out loud, especially not in front of anybody. I'd read out loud to check that everything sounded right and to make sure I have appropriate punctuation. When I started my Writing Craft tutorials at uni last semester, I was the first one to volunteer to read in our group, because the teacher asked for a volunteer and no one else put their hand up for a very long time. I thought to myself, What the hell? and just went for it. It broke the ice a little, which was good, but it was terrifying, reading something of my own creation to people - at the time, all complete strangers - for the first time. Even more terrifying was when later in the semester, it was my turn to workshop my assessment piece, which meant reading out something much longer and letting others critique it. But having been among reading volunteers several times and having workshopped twice in that tutorial, I think I've gotten a lot better at reading out loud, at least when I'm familiar with what is on the page.

Hopefully, the practice from last semester will keep me from shaking too much tomorrow night. It's only two minutes, it's less than 400 words and I know what is written on that page.

How do you feel about reading out loud? 

- Bonnee.

10 comments:

  1. I used to love reading out lout--when we were doing Shakespeare or something like that in class. When it came to reading my own stuff, or doing a speech, etc., I hated it.

    Treat this as if it's one of your tutorials, and I'm sure you'll be fine. I think the biggest things I've learned from many years in public speaking is a) Slow Down! We tend to speak faster when we're nervous, it usually takes a conscious effort to dial down the speed, and b) Your nerves won't show as much as you think they do.

    Good luck, and have fun!

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    1. Oh reading Shakespeare out loud was a COMPLETELY different situation, because everyone would just get all dramatic and silly and we'd all have fun.

      I'll definitely be treating this as a tutorial. The line-up of readers are all Professional and Creative Writing students anyway, so I won't feel too out of place. I'm sure I'm only as nervous as the next person.

      I should be alright! Thank you, JeffO!

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  2. I LOATHE public speaking ... it will just never be enjoyable for me ... so I really admire what you're doing. Best of luck! :)

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    1. I think the concept of it is starting to grow on me. Hopefully, with a bit more practice... :) thanks Shari!

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  3. I signed up for a critique session at a conference once. Didn't realize it meant I had to stand up and read my pages out loud to everyone. It was terrifying. But I did it, and I got some good feedback from a roomful of strangers, so it was worth it. *snort* I actually, at one point, started talking like my character does in my head, with a Welsh accent. :P

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    1. Haha oh dear, that would have been awful not realising you had to read! But it's good that you benefited from it and that you were able to get into your character. Guess you ended up having some fun with it :)

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  4. It takes time to feel comfortable reading in public. I have no problems reading in public now, but was not comfortable when I was younger. I guess it's better to read slowly and make a pause at the end of each section, to feel relaxed and probably just read while looking at the page, not at the audience. Maybe bring a glass of water and drink. It will help you to gain composure. But, usually we are more nervous anticipating what might happen .... and in your next post you'll tell us that your public reading was superb and both you and the audience enjoyed it. Good luck.

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    1. Because I have to fit a time limit, I already know that I have to pace myself. I just hope my perception of time doesn't get too warped by my nerves. It's definitely the anticipation that gives me butterflies more than anything. All will be good once I just start. My fingers will be itching to write the next post, haha, thank you as always for your support Giora! :)

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  5. I don't like the sound of my voice, and reading out loud amplifies those feelings, so I tend to stay away from it. Also, I get so nervous I jumble my words. Good luck with your reading! Everyone is human, haha.

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    1. I can definitely see where you're coming from. Being in front of all of those people definitely makes you notice every little slip-up that is made. Nonetheless, thank you for the luck and for stopping by :)

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