As in Katy, Texas, that is.
During the last two weeks of October, I have a two week stint in Katy, Texas where I will be speaking at two schools per day, giving two talks per school. Yep. That’s four presentations a day for two weeks, plus going out to lunch or dinners with the teachers and librarians. And in spite of being an introvert, I am very much looking forward to this trip. Here's why.
1. Speaking to kids is one of my most comfortable places as a public speaker. I genuinely love being around them and their energy and their wonder.
2. I equally adore teachers and librarians, the unsung heroes of our modern society.
3. Because I am giving myself the Katy Challenge--which goes something like this:
Over the last five years I have gotten comfortable with public speaking, to a certain degree, with some venues being more comfortable than others. But now, now I want to embrace public speaking, wallow in it, and come out the other side having learned to Love It. A lot. The truth is, I am now eager and ready to get ALL the way past this issue and get it far, far behind me. I am tired of it slowing me down. And while I’ve made tons of progress, I now want to close the remaining gap. Permanently. This two weeks of visits strikes me as a wonderful opportunity to do just that. Sort of like full immersion in a foreign language.
Part of motivation comes from the realization that having someone speak effectively and movingly is as much of a gift as a great piece of writing is. It can shape and expand worlds in just the same way.
The other thing that struck me is that it is just another form of delivering story and structure and theme. And I’m all over those; those I know inside and out. I just need to get comfortable with the FORM of delivery, much like publishing is currently struggling to come to terms with e-books.
I think one important step in accomplishing the above is incorporating other passions besides writing into my presentations, so I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately--What passions define me as a writer? And of course, as usual, the clues are in the writing itself. What themes do I come back to again and again? What core issues move me, compel me?
I have a few. Stepping into one’s personal power is one (and one of the things that makes me so firmly a kids writer, I think). Another is the idea that our weaknesses are often our strengths, we just don’t recognize it yet. And while these themes are especially helpful for kids, they also apply to adults. While most adults have claimed a fair amount of their personal power, they might not have done so in some important areas of their lives, say their creative lives. Or perhaps they’ve forgotten and need to be reminded.
So I’m going to take on this challenge of claiming my personal public speaking power, and find a way to turn what used to be a major weakness into one of my strengths. Anyone else want to join me? I’ll report back here and let you know how it goes!