As a writer I think I have a golden opportunity with my personality. I see myself as an introverted extrovert. Contradiction in terms you say? Not really. On November 8, I plan to see Kathryn House give a talk on the subject of introversion and extraversion among writers at the Standley Public Library in Arvada to confirm, but essentially I’m similar to those Hollywood actors who are “stars” on-screen, but truly prefer the quiet of their own company.
For me, I’m a ham-bone from way back. Show me a stage and I’ll show you how I can get up on it. If I can make people laugh all the better. I have an opinion on just about anything and am not afraid to share it (scary, really). My daughter calls me a flirt because I’m not shy about starting conversations with strangers in line at the grocery store.
On the other hand, my knee jerk reaction when invited to any party or social event is to say “no thanks.” Milling around at conferences and other large gatherings frightens me and I survive by constantly running between conversations and people who “I must connect with.” I prefer to be busy producing “stuff” to sharing deep thoughts. I like to listen to others talk around me rather than saying something I think of as profound and get the look on people’s faces that says “this one belongs in the loony bin.”
But this all works. As I get older I am more comfortable within this reality of me, and am fine to take on one of the bigger challenges of being a writer–speaking engagements.
The question is, what should I talk about?
This is fun because, hey, if what I have to say is so important perhaps I should produce some cool visuals and give-away items for my talks. Maybe I could have a slew of books to quote from, and come up with some of my spectacularly sparkling humor (no groans please). Suddenly, I see myself being interviewed by Katie Couric or Anderson Cooper because cozy mystery writers are so important to the national collection of literature, and we authors make dynamic television personalities, right? Perhaps I can talk about my Edgar award or Pulitzer Prize (I think I’ve read too many Dr. Seuss books–I keep exploding small ideas into extreme brain farts).
So what would you talk about if you were asked to give a presentation? Here are some topics I’ve either done or am thinking of doing. Maybe you can let me know which you think works:
- Repurpose the Book – I did this talk for the artists of Lakewood Arts Council. We made book sculptures and book marks. We talked about first editions and why its okay to not always treat every book like it came from the library.
Writing More In Less Time – I shared this with Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer friends and discussed ways of taking care of some of the tasks of writing in five and fifteen-minute chunks, as well as what to write when you have those golden two-hour opportunities.
- A friend and I proposed a talk on the golden rules of critique and how to break them. This was a cool outline, and I hope we will be able to conduct this talk someday.
- I want to do a talk on putting dogs in your writing and let Prophet come and perform some of his tricks for people. He eats up the attention and this would be fun to do. So many of us own dogs that it’s intimidating to think I might know more than others, but I can share my experiences of having cared for three dogs over time and the lessons I learned about them in this adventure. Do you think anyone would be interested in this?
- Procrastination! This is a great, fun topic, because I am a procrastinator from way back (they say one writes to learn–I have to bet one speaks to learn as well). I know all the excuses and can fake a headache with the best of them. But I also know how to get down to business and get things done when push comes to shove.
Loving Littleton – This would require a lot of research, especially at the Sugar Rush candy store, but Littleton is, to me, the epitome of little towns everywhere that have grown up and been swallowed by the mega-cities they surround. I think it would be fun to talk to newcomers and long-time residents alike and share history, vision, and hope. If nothing else, the research would help with the Daisy stories I write. Hmm.
So now it’s your turn. Are you a writer? Are you prepared to speak to book clubs, writers groups, Kiwanis clubs and more? What do you talk about? What makes your experience better for you?
Have a great week, friends.