Opening My Big Mouth #IWSG

Indie Author Day is coming up this Saturday. When J.C. Jackson mentioned it, I got stoked and contacted the main Boise library to see how I could participate. There’s going to be panels, book selling, signing, reading…I had several options to choose from.

In my email exchange, I happened to mention the only topic I could speak on with any confidence was starting and running a successful local critique group.

Guess who’s on the panel for local resources now?

I’m not scared of talking in front of people. I was in drama some 16 years ago. Plus, I’m a ham and adore attention. (I have bright green hair and have no issue heading to the supermarket decked out in full steampunk attire.)

What I’m terribly insecure about right now, is forgetting what it is I plan to say. I’m to deliver 10 minutes worth of content about local critique groups. TEN MINUTES! I jotted down some stuff and it took me 2 1/2 to run through it all. Egads. Plus I’m trying to memorize it so I’m not reading directly from notecards or a sheet of paper. Back in high school, I had months to prepare.

Now? I have until Saturday morning.

Wish me luck!

I’ll be up on the panel discussion from 10:30 – 11:30. I encourage you to view the schedule of events and pop by if you’re in the Boise area.

IWSG Question of the month: When do you know your story is ready?

If I answer that question in the context of the last short story I wrote, I knew it was ready when my husband smiled and said nothing else bugged him about it. My husband is a critical guy. In fact, when I first started writing, he refused to read any of my work because he didn’t want to make me feel bad. So having him sign off on my short story was the thumbs up that it was good to go.

He must have been right. I got an acceptance email yesterday. ^_^

Do you have any suggestions for public speaking? Have you ever been on a discussion panel? Will I see you at the Library on Saturday? Do you have any critical readers in your life?

About Insecure Writer’s Support Group
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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

30 thoughts on “Opening My Big Mouth #IWSG

  1. Very cool about your library panel. You will do GREAT! And congrats on your short story acceptance! You are officially on a roll 🙂

  2. I’m sure you’ll fill the ten minutes with great info and great energy. And if it’s a panel discussion, you can talk with the others on the panel, take questions from the audience, etc, right? You’ll do great! No worries. 🙂

    Congrats on the story acceptance!

  3. You’ll do great! I have found that once you’re talking to the groups, you get ideas from them. If you run out of things to say, ask for questions.

    And congrats on the short story!

    My husband is critical too. He read my latest in the initial draft stage and all he said was, “I don’t like it.” I worked and worked until I could get a “that’s better”.

  4. You’ll be fine. Try not to memorize it. Just hit the high points and as you’re talking (slowly) more will come and you’ll fill in the gaps.

  5. Yay for the acceptance email. Was it the story I read?

    I used to practice going over my presentations so many times (easily twenty times a day) that I had it memorized whether I’d planned to or not. You’ll be fine during the presentation. The fact that you’re worried about the presentation means you’ll do a good job. Trust me.

  6. Use index cards to cover all the points you want to talk about and, like you said, ham it up. Ten minutes will fly by once you’re up there. Good Luck!

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  7. See? You should show him your stuff more often. 😉

    (Congratulations on your acceptance, too)

    As for your presentation, MAKE STUFF UP! If you know the material (and presumably you do if you volunteered to talk about it), then just go in with the high-points you want to hit and riff on it. Tell stories about how your group got started, or some interesting examples of critiques people gave/receive and how it helped them. Making it more personal will be way more interesting than just an itemized list of “How to start a group.” You say you’re a drama kid, well, HAM IT UP! You’ll blow through 10 minutes in no time.

    (All this assumes you’re comfortable improvising, but the same holds true even if you prepare in advance – add some personal stories to flesh out the presentation)

    Good luck! I’m sure you’ll do fabulous.

  8. When it comes to public speaking, over prepare rather than under prepare. If you use index cards, then you can prioritize what you will cover if you have more time that needs filled. Good luck on your panel at the library 🙂

  9. I’m terrible (and terrified!) with public speaking so I don’t think I could be much help. I’m sure you’ll do great, though! I always found I did better with public speaking if I was really knowledgeable on the subject, which it seems that you are! Good luck!

  10. Congrats on your short story acceptance! And congrats on being part of the panel! I always bring notes with me and practice a lot ahead of time because if I get really nervous, my mind goes blank. Once you get started, though, I think time will fly by. People will ask questions which will lead to other discussions and the ten minutes will be gone before you know it. Good luck and have fun!

  11. Engage the audience. They will ask questions and that will help you fill up the time.

    I’ve never gone from a script. Notes are better. They will sound more natural.

  12. I just know you are going to be a hit! You’re going to wrap your most important points with humor and your listeners are going to be enthralled. So go for it, Lady. Here is one writer rooting for you.
    Shalom aleichem,

  13. Awesome on the acceptance (I got one yesterday too!) – I think your husband & my husband would get on quite well, and good luck with the library talk – at least you needn’t worry about silences!

  14. Goodness, I find it hard to breath just thinking about it.

  15. I would be nervous about having to speak AND that I’d forget what I planned. But you’re going to be brilliant. Congratulations on this opportunity!

  16. I now that you can fill that 10 minute slot and entertain the crowds. Would be one of them, as now a Boise resident since October 1st, but got transport issues still so will just wish you best of luck. So is this local crit group still active in Boise/Treasure Valley?

    Oh and congratulations on short acceptance.

  17. Congratulations on your story acceptance and good luck with your speaking engagement. A local library is a good place to talk for a writer. Everyone is friendly and accepting there.

  18. Ten minutes can feel like forever when you are speaking in front of a group. I guess you can talk about your experiences, how you might form one, how to run one without it turning into an hour-long gossip session, good places to meet, how often to meet, what members bring. Plus leave a few minutes for questions.

    Congrats on the short story acceptance! I have my husband read my stuff as well. He is not overly critical, but he had a good eye for typos.

  19. You’re going to be awesome. I just know it! Don’t forget to enjoy it. 🙂

  20. You’ll do fine. Just imagine everyone with green hair. 🙂

    Congrats! I’m not surprised it got picked. 😉

  21. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll do just fine. =) And have fun! Though I doubt I have to tell you that, lol!

  22. Wow! Congratulations on your public speaking engagement and most definitely your short story. Public speaking is tough. I had a job for three years where I presented leadership material everyday in classrooms. From what I learned, I always wrote out an outline with transitions and thought through he stories I wanted to tell and also padded it with lots of questions so he crowd can take over and then you become a facilitator. That’s the strategy that worked best for me. I do wish I were in Boise. Beautiful place 🙂

  23. Congrats on getting your story accepted! I don’t like public speaking, but I’ve had to do a lot of it over the years. I also struggle with having enough material for my allotted time. I get you’ll do great!

  24. Very cool, you’ll do great! Congrats on the acceptance too!

  25. I’m supposed to be on a panel next month, and I’m terrified. I know I used to teach, but I don’t do public speaking. The odds will be 50/50 that I just outright faint when it’s my turn to talk.

    But I find when I plan what I’m going to say, I always go longer than expected because various tangents will pop into my mind in the moment, and I never have enough discipline to not follow them.

    You will do a terrific job.

    And congrats on the acceptance email!

  26. I’m sure you did great on your panel! Sounds like something very exciting to be a part of. Awesome that your husband will give honest feedback and congrats on the acceptance.

  27. First, congrats on the story acceptance 🙂 That must’ve made your day!

    I know I’m late, but I hope you did great on your panel. Stretching two minutes into ten must’ve been a challenge (I would have been freaking) but I’m certain you rocked it!

  28. Congrats on your acceptance! I bet you had a great time on the panel. I just gave my first reading last week, and though I was a little nervous, it was SO MUCH FUN. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    Green hair and a steampunk outfit? I’d love to see that! You sound like a lot of fun.

    PS – I have three squirrels who will eat from my hands. Figured you’d like that.

  29. Big congrats on passing the husband-critic test, on the acceptance, and on being on a panel. Wow! You made me laugh with this: (I have bright green hair and have no issue heading to the supermarket decked out in full steampunk attire.) LOL! I need pics of you, steampunked-out, in the frozen food aisle! 🙂

  30. Thanks for visiting my blog. Congrats on the acceptance letter too. I survived the hurricane and moving and as you can back online. Happy Writing.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

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