First Official Events – Library Talks!
It is a nervous thing, talking to a room full of people. Fifteen minutes can seem like a long time, never mind a full hour. Then imagine the people you are talking to are fifty school kids aged 11 to 12. Quite nerve-racking indeed.
This is the situation I found myself in recently when I held an event at my local library while I was home for the holidays. Once I got started I was SO GLAD to have done it. The kids were really enthusiastic. They had some tricky questions for me and seemed to respond to my readings. I also talked a little about the craft with them. A whiteboard was at hand to allow me to scribble up some tips on writing. Hopefully some of them were able to take something away from it, as, looking back, I can never remember being taught creative writing at school. There were also some cool group photos, as you can see.
The next day I did a slightly more in depth discussion for an adult group. I was taken aback when a couple of notepads were pulled out. People were actually jotting down what I was saying. This was somewhat surreal. It was also an incentive to think carefully on what I said. I’m still in this odd stage where my book is out but not many people are aware of it or me. I hadn’t appreciated at all that people might actually take what I say seriously. Yet, I had a tiny glimpse of what it must be like for a well-known author. People do hang on your words. I’ve done it to several of my own favourites. It seems vital then, to me, that you should be optimistic, encouraging, insightful and genuine in your approach to such things. You really should give back where you can.
After it was over, one woman in the audience approached me to say she was impressed at how little I talked about myself. I’ve heard it said that writers must be vain in some manner. How else do you have any belief that people will enjoy your work? Whether this is completely true or not, my small audience’s reaction is good real life evidence that people will be far more engaged with you if you aren’t just self-promoting non-stop. It is obvious advice for the social media sphere but useful nonetheless to see some results in the real world.
Overall I had a damned good time. I could not have asked for a better first experience in holding events as a young author.
Thanks is due to the librarian Jacqui Dunbar for organising these events.