That “your writing sucks” conference, then. (They’re going to have this bit projected behind me while I’m speaking. HELLO BROADWAY CINEMA!)

Oh God.

Oh God oh God oh God.

It’s tomorrow.

My therapist and I have decided that I should commit to performing at least one activity each week that will take me outside my comfort zone. For instance, I made myself change a ceiling lightbulb yesterday evening, even though I had to place both my feet on the very top step of the stepladder, with no additional means of support.

Despite being so scared that I felt physically sick, I managed to do this. And it felt good.

But look, isn’t that enough to fulfil my weekly quota? I changed a lightbulb, for crying out loud! So do I really have to speak for fifteen minutes (plus another five for questions) tomorrow morning, in front of an audience who have paid good money to hear me wittering on about Troubled Blithering Diva?

After all, I don’t want to run before I can walk. Small steps. And any other Putting One Foot In Front Of Another metaphor that may or may not be appropriate.

Oh, do drop the faux drama queen act, Mike. You know perfectly well that it will all be fine.

Because – and here’s the thing – given the choice between climbing to the top of a ladder, and giving a talk in front of a bunch of strangers, I’d rather give the talk, every time.

Tell you what, readers. Shall we put that Iterative And Interactive Grassroots Online Community Building Paradigm Wotsit into practice, right here, right now? (Hmm, needs a bit of work. I’ll get it tickled up before tomorrow.)

Take a look at this, from the publicity material for the conference:

“Finding a voice is the key to engaging audiences in any form of creative writing. Whether you’re writing for a specialist audience, putting your own life into words, or developing believable characters. The writers in this panel write for different audiences and media and will share their varied techniques for bringing writing to life.”

The key element here – and possibly the unifying theme for the whole day, from what I can gather – is that phrase “finding a voice”.

So, tell me.

  • Has blogging helped you to “find a voice”? And if so, then what sort of voice have you ended up with?
  • How did the process take place? Was it a natural process, or did it involve trial and error?
  • Would it have been a different sort of voice if you weren’t writing on a blog?
  • If you do write elsewhere than on a blog, then do you slip into other tones of voice which suit the medium in question?
  • Or is the whole idea of adopting a “tone of voice” mere poncey bullshit, because you write straight from the heart (man)?
  • Or is your writing voice is basically the same as your conversational voice, because you don’t believe in masks (man)?
  • Do you deliberately adopt tones of voice that you know will play well with your readership?
  • Or do you just (deep breath) do it for yourself, and if anyone else happens to like it then that’s a bonus?

Tell me, do. And if I run out of things to say and need to pad my speech out a bit your contribution is sufficiently interesting and worthwhile, then I might quote you tomorrow morning. (Yeah, I know. Lazy bugger.)

On Friday, I’ll be posting a transcript of my notes for the speech, primarily for the benefit of the course attendees. Well, it has to be better than sending them all to sleep with Powerpoint slides. (Is it just me, or does the very sight of a Powerpoint slide send anyone else off into an automatic catatonic trance?)

Wish me luck. Although, to be honest, I’d rather you answered some of my questions.

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