Talking about yourself as a writer
About self-promotion and feeling awkward
I was the guest on a recent episode of The Nudge, a podcast about writing. Do give it a listen and the show is absolutely worth subscribing to:
This is the first time I’ve been the guest on a podcast. I’ve edited, presented and produced podcasts but always in the context of speaking to the guest, rather then beingthe guest.
A few things I learned from being the focus of attention:
Halfway through the pod we read the first chapter of Tales from the Triverse. This was the first time I’d heard my writing read out loud in this way and it was a real thrill. Reading and re-reading it myself is one thing; hearing other people bring their own interpretation and cadence to it shifts it slightly into a different space. It made it easier for me to hear the words as a reader might. If you get the opportunity to experience this, do it! It’s making me think about an audiobook version of the book, too…
People you don’t know saying lovely things about your work never stop being strange. Even when nice things are being said it still puts you in a vulnerable place. You feel slightly naked. I did some public speaking training with John Bates many, many years ago and one of the most useful pieces of wisdom from him was to accept and acknowledge compliments from people: don’t bat them away, or diminish or dismiss them. Say thanks, accept it, move on.
Talking about your work intellectually feels indulgent but isn’t, not really. Or, at least, the people choosing to listen to that conversation are all in. They’re there for you. If you’re talking about your work, it’s presumably because you’ve been invited to do so - that alone means that you’re supposed to be there. You’re not an impostor. Be in their service.
If you feel super-awkward, try the trick of thinking of your writing as ‘the product’. This can help to separate it from you, ‘the person’. You then become A Writer, but there’s a little bit of separation which can help you feel less self-conscious.
Don’t self-censor or restrict yourself. Don’t take yourself out of the conversation before it’s even happened. There will be readers and there will be people who want to hear about your process. Not everyone, of course. But enough.
Big thanks to Matt, Eric and Kyle for inviting me on the show. What a blast.
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MEANWHILE. I have a Sci-Fi Giveaway for you, containing lots of lovely indie science fiction ebooks for you to peruse and download for free. Check it out - the collected first edition of Triverse is in there somewhere.
What tips do you have for talking about yourself and your work without wanting to hide in a hole? Let everyone know down in the comments.