Earlier this month I was scheduled to give a thirty minute presentation on screenwriting for a local writer’s association. I was nervous, because although I’ve written several screenplays, I’ve never actually sold one. I’ve learned a considerable amount about the industry, but I would feel more confident if I had an on-screen credit.
The challenge I faced was speaking slowly and clearly, because when I get nervous or excited, I tend to speak so fast that I become impossible to understand. That’s exactly what happened the previous month when I read a portion of a novel I’m writing. Visualisation often works, so I first imagined I was driving an older model car using a manual transmission, shifting to a lower gear. That wasn’t a good idea, because I’ve only used a manual transmission once, and it isn’t an experience I want to repeat.
The inspiration for the visualization technique that was effective came from a children’s series that never fails to make me laugh; Shaun the Sheep. I imagined myself standing in a field surrounded by sheep, happily munching on grass. One of the sheep walked up to me and said, “Caaaalm Doooown.” I started laughing and I immediately relaxed. I was enthusiastic, because I love writing and I think it’s a fascinating subject, but I spoke slowly enough to be understood.
If you’re serious about a writing career, take advantage of public speaking opportunities to improve your skills. You never know when you’ll be asked to speak about the writing process or another subject related to what you’ve written. Keep writing, because the world needs to hear your voice, your passion.
Copyright © 2018 by J. Paul Cooper