Sunday, February 14, 2016

Performing vs Sharing Your Written Work

Here's some great advice on reading your written work in public, to an audience.
At the end of Peter's article, find my own advice to readers sharing their work in a critique group or writer's workshop.
it's very different, in deed and word.

Murphy Writing of Stockton University logo

Peter at the micYou've spent days, weeks, months, years...writing and revising your work, but when it comes time for you to read it to an audience, you flub it. What to do?

At the Winter Getaway, Peter shared his tips on how to give a reading that will connect with your listeners so they leave wishing they could hear more, not less. Today, we'd like to share them with you as a thank you for being such loyal readers.


10 Tips for Reading Your Writing Like a Pro
  1. It's not about you, it's about your audience. Beware of what Nietzsche referred to as "A dog called ego."
  2. Less is more. Choose your pieces carefully.
  3. There's a difference between reciting your work and performing it. You're not an actor, you're a writer. Gesture if you must, but not too much.
  4. Break up your reading, if possible, with an anecdote or something about the piece. Humor is good. Self-depreciating is good. Putting yourself or your writing down is not good.
  5. Make eye contact with your audience without losing your place. Give them the, no, place it on your text as you scroll down the page.
  6. Make your voice a tool using breath, rhythm, pacing and contrast. Don't allow your voice to settle into monotone.
  7. What? The PA system isn't working? Be prepared to read with or without a microphone.
  8. Oh no, they don't have a podium or a music rack or a table or anything? Be prepared for mechanical failures and other emergencies.
  9. Leave graciously. Don't run from the podium. Thank the audience for listening and accept their applause.
  10. Practice. Practice. Practice.

That's it for now. Write on!

Peter, Amanda and Taylor

Murphy Writing of Stockton University
Challenging & Supportive Workshops

Now, here's some advice in your private setting looking for feedback on your piece:

We writers are all readers in many ways. The two most prominent are reading other's books and articles, essays and poems, and reading our own writing aloud to a group or audience.
     Here's some great tips on how to "perform" a reading for a public audience that you should adhere to be successful, since if you want to promote your authorship, you must read to public audiences to get the word out and sell yourself as much as your book.
     But, word of caution here.
Performing for an audience is not, repeat not, the same as reading your piece to a private critique group of fellow writers.
     As you can see from Tip #1, IT's NOT ABOUT YOU

Here's my advice when reading to a critique group.

1. Do not "perform" your piece. This distracts us entirely from comprehending the words and meanings behind the words that you are reading. 
In other words, the true story gets lost on us, because we are listening with a critical ear.
2. Do not "perform" your piece. We are not a public audience you need to impress with your great speaking skills (which you must develop). 
We are your friends trying to help. Don't treat us as strangers you're trying to impress.

3. Do not "perform" your piece. Oh, I'm sure you can do a great job, but do it instead in front of a mirror or family and friends, not us.

4. YOU DO need to read your piece to us with intonations, and pauses, and Aha's and some emotionality where emotionality is called for. 

But keep it low level. Again, your big voice distracts us from doing our job: critiquing your story and words and everything in it. Use your "little" voice for us, but don't be quiet. Balance is necessary.

Just my personal opinion here. .As always, do what the hell you want to.
What's your opinion on this?