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This Week On WA 31st March
Category: Site News
Tags: site news Writers' Abroad

The clocks jumped forward an hour in Britain this weekend to Daylight Savings Time and Iím feeling slightly dazed this morning (no alcohol was involved, honestly!). So Iíll take this gently.

Blog: Chris Nedahl has written a blog post entitled Commitment, inspired by an article, Climbing Your Family Tree, in Writing Magazine. In it she considers how to overcome her reluctance to commit the huge amount of time required to tackle researching her own family and turn it into a story. The post is good inspiration and motivation for those of us hesitating to undertake a big writing project.

Monday Muse: Jo has given us a variety of prompts to work with including a line of dialogue, a plot scenario on the theme of Shame, a first line, five random words and a picture. Thereís lots there to spark the imagination so why not see where your muse takes you?

Bragging Stool: Weíre finishing the month quietly. No one has posted any news this week but I know several people are hard at work on novels that are due to be published soon so I doubt the stool will be empty for long.

April Challenge: This seems to be a good time of year for contests and there are several on our list to choose from, including a couple prestigious ones. Have a peek at the list and get your entries in.

Weíre trying to organise a WA get together this year and we have a thread under Bits and Pieces to discuss the where and when. Everyone get your thinking caps on to see if we can get it organised. Have a good writing week!

I'll never enjoy public speaking - but I do it anyway
Category: Writing

I donít enjoy public speaking and, since I write hoping my work will find its way into print, Iíve never seen the point of reading my stories and poetry to a live audience. But my local writing group in Enniskillen to seems to get involved in lots of public events. Everyone else seems to love the chance to perform. Last month we ran Poets in the Pub for All Ireland Poetry Day (which falls on the same day as National Poetry Day in the UK) and also took part in an arts festival. This week we are hosting Funeral Service NIís launch of their annual poetry contest Ė and the launch is a poetry recital. So I will be on stage again whether I wanted to be or not.

Despite my reluctance to get up in front of an audience Iím beginning to see some benefits to it. I was surprised and pleased last month to hear audiences laughing along with me as I read humorous stories and poems and I felt their genuine appreciation when they applauded Ė and I donít think they applauded with relief that it was over. When I have stories published in magazines I rarely hear comments from anyone who reads them. I donít know what they thought or felt when they finished a story. So it encouraged me to actually hear listeners enjoying my work. It also gave me a sense of the story as a finished piece of work and worth an audienceís time to listen to it. I donít think Iím the only one who repeatedly tweaks stories to that they are never actually finished. By reading a story to an audience it makes me see that story as completed and ready to be out into the world.

Before each performance I have to decide what I will read for it. This means sifting through stories and poems in my files, looking at them critically and choosing material that I feel is Ďgood enoughí. This often forces me to tidy up stories so that they are ready to be made public. Itís good motivation to finish work that might languish almost finished otherwise. ††

Looking at my work critically doesnít stop there. When Iím in front of an audience I hear my work as I read it. I hear sentences that may jar or words that I trip over and I make a mental note to re-check it afterwards. Itís always good to read your work aloud to spot problems and this should be done before you get in front of an audience but once you are on stage and your senses are heightened by adrenaline you are likely to hear your work in a new way. Itís worth looking at what you noticed afterwards.

We may not all have a chance to share our work in public, depending where we live, but, if you do get a chance, I would encourage you to do so. Itís a valuable experience. I doubt I will ever be fond of public speaking but I will keep sharing my stories with audiences when the opportunity arises. †

This Week on WA - 14th October 2013
Category: Site News

Monday Muse: Jayme has given us prompts related to the house behind an image of a colourful garden and also ones related to Halloween.

Blog: Laura explains the advantages of the Kindle reader and why she has become a fan of the new technology.

Bragging Stool: Once more we take our hats off to Alyson. Her short story reached the final judging round in the recent Expatclic Travel Reflections contest.

Anthology: The press release is being distributed and there is one week until the bookís launch. The excitement is building! Paola has posted a launch event on Facebook. To help the bookís success, please spread the word. As Vanessa says, readers canít buy the book if they donít know about it.

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