Why I Hate Public Speaking (But I Do It Anyway)

Okay, first off, I am SO EXCITED about the piece I’m working on! I’ll keep you posted, and maybe give you a preview of my cover art in a future blog post, but as of last weekend, I have a continuity draft completed, which is huge for me! Basically, I’ve got the “big picture” and everything becomes increasingly detail-oriented from here on out.

In addition to finding the time to write more, I’ve had a couple of speaking opportunities lately. Yep, you read that right! For those of you who know me, you know that doing anything in front of people is usually pretty uncomfortable for me, but it’s worse if it doesn’t involve music. And that’s saying something, because I kind of almost passed out before my junior trumpet recital in college…

[Funny story before we continue: When I was in high school, I was required to take a semester-long speech class, which most people took as freshmen but I managed to avoid until my junior year. I would often incorporate singing or cheerleading into my speeches as a way to use up some of the time I would’ve had to spend actually talking. And at the end of the semester, when we all were supposed to give each other awards, I got the “Most Outgoing Award.” Fancy that.]

Anyway, I’ve also been struggling with feelings of fear and failure lately, so actually saying yes to these speaking gigs was a huge deal for me, even though both of them were pretty low-key, speaking to small groups of high school or elementary music students. I’m learning that the best ways to fight your fears are to tell people about them instead of letting them isolate you, and then to just get out there and do something! I figured that sharing my experiences, good and bad, was a way for me to not let fear run my life, as well as to inspire, encourage, or help future musicians as they begin to travel paths I’ve been on for awhile.

So how did it go? Well, it went. (I mean, it went well?) I’m glad it’s over. But I made myself get out of my comfort zone, and that’s good, because the best things in life simply won’t magically appear at your front door with no effort or discomfort whatsoever on your part. Public speaking’s not my thing, and I know that. But that doesn’t mean I should let fear keep me from telling my story. And the funny thing is that when I share my experiences, it’s like I gain this instant accountability with people I don’t even know, and it gives me more motivation to do what I know I’m meant to do. As in, “I just talked to these kids about being a composer. I’m going to go compose now instead of sitting around with an iPad full of games.”

Do I still play games on my iPad? Heck yes. I’m not above admitting that, and I think it’s important to have time for rest and relaxation so you don’t turn “working on your dream” into “burning yourself out on your dream.” But, in the words of Jon Acuff (and this won’t be the last time you’ll hear me quote him!), I’m also making time to be “more awesome more often,” and every little bit counts.

[May 9, 2013]

New Beginnings
Introducing Proclaim for Wind Ensemble!
Posted in Melody Dawning Blog
3 Comments » for Why I Hate Public Speaking (But I Do It Anyway)
  1. Alan Gumm says:

    The thing is, I’ve heard you speak, and you are very informative with a musically expressive voice, genuine and welcoming to the audience, and even inspiring and insightful. I get the fear of speaking, but you got nuttin’ to be ‘fraid of!

  2. This is good!!!!!!!!!! I am totally not good at admitting my fears.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Why I Hate Public Speaking (But I Do It Anyway)"
  1. [...] if you know me personally or have read some of my posts from years past, you probably know that public speaking and I are not exactly best friends. But when an opportunity to teach a subject I love at a place [...]

  2. [...] kid for my entire life, I suppose I should’ve seen it coming someday, but given my general disdain for public speaking, I’ve always been perfectly content to sit and listen to my dad preach and only be on [...]

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