The Transition from Writer to Speaker

Even now I am in the midst of this transition. Perhaps, admittedly, early yet in this process. But, it is my desire that this blog be a place where I share this journey. And this is one of the next steps for me, so here it is.

The Challenges:

pigletBy and large, writers tend to be introverts. This is not true across the board, of course. But if you check what Meyer-Briggs says about it, “author” falls into the “introvert” category. On personality tests, I tend to score about equal on the introvert/extrovert portion, so it’s neither easy nor difficult for me. Am I scared to get in front of people and talk? No. Does it make me nervous? Yes. I would much rather be by myself with my computer, sharing that same info through a blog or in a one-on-one conversation.

conference1What could I say that someone wants to hear? This is a struggle. But, honestly, people want to know what it’s like to be a writer. The ever-popular “where do your ideas come from?” (which we all know they really mean “what inspires you?”). There may also be some life experience that can be helpful to others. I have come through two fairly severe bouts of postpartum depression and am now on the other side of it. Women who are struggling want to hear what that recovery process looked like (though it’s different for everyone, there are common elements). I also share my experiences raising children with Autism and ADHD. Learning to live with these challenges in our day-to-day lives, and sharing what we have learned, can bring hope to others who are in the early stages. It’s all about finding your niche. What knowledge/experience do you have that’s valuable to others?

People at the conferenceFinding speaking venues. Reaching out to local groups is one way to find those venues. Libraries, book clubs, groups that are related to your subject matter…a group of new moms is going to be my target audience for sharing my journey through postpartum depression. This, in my opinion, is really where you have to put yourself out there.

The Pluses:

meeting peopleNetworking. Getting your name out there. Need I say more? There may not always be an opportunity to sell books at these venues (I’m not setting up my Historical Fiction/Romance books when I am invited to speak about postpartum depression). But there will always be an opportunity to share who you are. To make connections. And maybe even have a chance to speak somewhere else because of one of those connections.

bag of tricksThe Experience. This is another skill you will hone and perfect. And this will be another tool in your “bag of tricks”. It is becoming such, more and more these days, that writers aren’t just writers. We are promoters/marketers, speakers, editors, among other things. How many tricks can you fit in that bag?

feedbackInstant Feedback. This is one thing that is different from our writing. When we have the audience in front of us, we can see their reactions, hear their comments, interact with them. That’s not something we get when we write. There’s something to be said about that kind of connection with our audience.

And so, as I’m working my way through this transition (adding “speaker” to my bag of tricks), I am thrilled to bring you along and share my experiences with you. Come what may. Anyone else out there in this transition? Care to share any wisdom?

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