|Photo: 'Microphone' by ~Elenchos on DeviantART.|
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?