Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Writer with Stage Fright

Do you have that thing that you think you're terrible at, but other people INSIST you aren't? Like singing... lots of people with amazing voices think they can't sing.

Mine is public speaking (well, and writing, but that is another story). I'm told I come across very naturally in front of a group, but truth be told, it terrifies me. My hands shake, I stutter more than usual, I get hot flashes and always always always have at least one moment where I wonder if my clothes actually match. Its an unfortunate fear to have in my line of work, as I am required often to be in front of a group.

This Saturday is one such occasion-- I've given a handful of talks and interviews around Max and Menna since it published last fall. Most have been fairly informal, which has been a blessing, but Saturday is not only my first formal event as an author, but also my first reading.


I practiced in the kitchen last night before my roommate got home. It went something like this...

... Hi, I'm Shauna Kelley, author of Max and Menna

I think to myself that I need to move my hands more... no one wants to watch someone stand frozen...

...I am very honored to be with you today to talk about my writing...

...Does that sound arrogant? I mean I am honored, but these are high school kids. Are they going to care? Do I have anything to wear that won't make me look dorky??

I've spoken a few times since my book published almost a year ago, and I always like to start with one of my favorite quotes...

...Now you're moving your hands too much....

"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

...Great, Shauna, a Beatles quote. These are high school kids-- way to look like an old lady right off the bat.

This inward monologue continued for about forty five minutes until my stomach was in knots and my roommate came home so save me from my misery. The sad thing is that I AM really excited and incredibly honored to be doing this event. I am reading at Barnes & Noble as part of Bel Air High School's Diversity Festival. Both in terms of the subject matter, and because I think that encouraging kids to read voraciously and write is critical.

But I am also terrified of looking like a dork!

Perhaps that is the message I shall relay-- you may well grow into confident, able adults, but know that there will always be times in your life when you are terrified of looking dorky.

Stay tuned for tales of whether or not I fall on my face.


  1. You're not going to fall on your face. You'll kill it. If I'm not in NJ on Saturday, I'll come and be moral support.

  2. Eeek! I share your pain. I would be feeling exactly the same! Good luck!