Feeling Peaky – and a confession!

Sheepwash Bridge, The Peak District

Sheepwash Bridge, The Peak District

No, I’m not ill! I was in the Peak District last weekend (sun! No rain!) and just couldn’t resist the cheesy pun as my header.

And talking of food, I had to have one of these while I was there. Delish!

bakewell-tartWe stayed at Ashford-in-the-Water (with the lovely Sheepwash Bridge on the River Wye), near to Bakewell and did a couple of long walks over the weekend and it was great. Must admit, I’m glad I’m not there this weekend though – snow is forecast and it’s freezing!

Today I was in Evesham on ‘writerly business’. It’s only 20 minutes down the road from me but it’s like another world. There are SHOPS! (Very exciting) and loads of cafes and of course, there’s going to be another Evesham Festival of Words this summer, with even more lovely events – and booking’s now open! (As is the short story competition – closing date 24th March).

This morning I was at the library for ‘Second Friday Stories’ which is an hour-long event, on the second Friday of each month. It’s a chance to listen to local authors (yes, I was there today as one of those!), enjoy a cuppa, meet like-minded people and it’s free.

If you’re interested, on 10th March the writers will be the regency writer Elizabeth Beacon, Ann Evans and Karen King.

I was talking about writing short stories and giving a plug to the workshop and quiz that I’m running (the quiz with my friend Chris) at this summer’s Festival.

As a writer these days you’re expected to be something of a public speaker too. It’s not compulsory, obviously, but if you want to get your name known or your books sold, then it helps if you don’t mind putting yourself ‘out there’ a bit.

On the whole, I don’t mind it.

If you’d seen me sitting in my car 20 minutes before my talk, jotting down some notes on a few cards, you’d have thought I was an old hand at it all. And, indeed, if you’d asked me how it went five minutes after I’d done my spiel today, I’d have said ‘great!’ but – and here’s the confession – a strange thing happens to me after any class, workshop or talk that I deliver. I ruminate (yes, like a cow) on it, for hours, if not days afterwards and I think negative thoughts, like ‘Oh God, did I sound a bit too full of myself?’ and ‘Was I boasty-boasty when I said how many stories I’d sold?’

Today I went over my allotted time by about 10 minutes and everyone seemed very relaxed about it but then I realised that the two ladies coming after me, had 10 minutes less than they should have had! So, then I worried about that. ‘Did they hate me?’ ‘Were they sitting there, wondering when the heck I was ever going to shut up?’ ‘Was the organiser getting twitchy?’

There must be a name for it. Something like ‘post-event-traumatic-stress’ (PETS) because I get the jitters and doubts afterwards, not before.

Is that weird?

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This entry was posted in Competitions, Events, Short Stories, West Midlands and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Feeling Peaky – and a confession!

  1. pennywrite says:

    Better perhaps than getting the jitters before, during and after….! Haven’t done even a modest talk for quite a while now, and content for it to be so. But I bet you weren’t half as bad as you thought!

    • No, you’re probably right, Penny – and thanks for the reassurance! The stupid thing is, I KNOW no-one’s thinking about the presentation. Two minutes after they left the room, it was probably completely out of their heads. Everyone’s busy, with their own thoughts and worries, so it’s completely irrational.. but I can’t stop it, I do it every time!

  2. Kate Hogan says:

    Well done on your talk, Helen! I get the jitters and the ruminations, too. At least it makes us learn (hopefully!) how to improve on our performance next time – even if only a little bit. Good wishes Kate Hogan

  3. juliathorley says:

    Well done. I’m getting better at public speaking – I do it when I teach, after all – but I get incredibly nervous. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

  4. Wendy Clarke says:

    We all suffer from PETS from time to time, Helen. It’s only natural. The thought of public speaking brings me out in a cold sweat!

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