I didn’t think for a second I'd start out this way when I began looking for an outlet for my writing.
I’d been writing for a couple of years by then, blogging mostly but also sending a few bits and pieces in to papers and magazines in the hope of getting something published. I’d joined a writing group too in the hope that I could improve my skill and perhaps make some contacts along the way. I subscribed to a couple of writing oriented magazines and used them to follow up on articles on improving chances to get published and check out the adverts for writing opportunities. It seemed hopeless – most of the adverts looking for writers expected you to pay them to publish your work and the others wanted everything for free. No-one wants to pay for anything these days it seems.
WRITER IN RESIDENCE
A writer in residence is saught to deliver lectures, workshops and demonstrations to groups and individuals in a holiday environment at our establishments here in the UK and in Spain. An open minded, creative and flexible attitude is required to ensure this experience delivers to our members interested in developing their writing and communication skills in a fun and relaxed manner.
Roll on three months and here I am: sweating; mouth dry; heart palpitating. I wait for the society chairman to finish his speech and introduce me. A new wave of anxiety and nausea washes over me as I look at the lectern I had requested. Somehow I thought I would be more comfortable speaking from behind a lectern but now as I look at it's clear, gleaming perspex under the auditorium lights, I know that's not going to work. What was I thinking? Bugger! I look left and right along the table for an exit but just the sight of the other committee members drives the thought from my mind and my head snaps back to looking down at the notes in front of me on the table.
I can't even look at the audience! I try to get a grip on my emotions while the voice of the chairman drones on. I take a sip from the glass of water beside me, close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing, silently but desperately telling myself "Calm. Quiet. Peace. Calm. Quiet. Peace." as I do. I become aware that the chairman is drawing to a close. Too late now, there's nothing I can do. I have to make the best of this. Who knows, it might be the break I'm looking for after all.
Suddenly, I'm aware of applause. I open my eyes and see the chairman at the front of the stage, half turned towards me, his arm outstretched in a welcoming gesture. I swallow and take another sip of water. I gather my notes and stand up, pushing the chair back with my legs as I do. I hold my notes demurely in front of me and move out from behind the safety of the table and walk the few paces to the lectern where I put them reluctantly down and take one last deep, calming breath while I wait for the applause to peter out.
I hope I don't look as terrified as I feel.
Or that I'd be doing it in the nude……"