Punch fear in the face

I am a speaker so what I am about to say may be shocking. I asked to do a speech on November 19th many months ago at my Toastmasters club, I was told that I would be put on a list but as it turns out I am not on the list. Until today, apparently a slot just opened up….

I like to speak but tend to practice a little more than a week in advance!! Fear, sweaty palms (even as I type this, and absolute terror because I was confident in the knowledge that I didn’t have to give a speech. It would have been easy for me to decline but I punched fear in the face and decided to say yes, since I do have a week.. but it got me thinking. It would have been far more prudent to have a speech I was working on ready to go (that way I wouldn’t be making it up out of full cloth) but its a learning experience.. and now, to the archives to look up notes and figure out what I am going to talk about next week.

Have you been asked to do something that you weren’t 100% prepared to do? What did you do? Turn it down? Beg off, saying you were busy or did you decide to bite the bullet and muddle through?

Rewriting is the best Writing

I don’t claim to be a professional writer, but I do enjoy it and I often turn my blogs into speeches which have been very successful. As an actor, I am always looking for wonderful dialogue to say on stage. I am deeply enamored with people who write well and one such writer is Aaron Sorkin. You may know him from a series called, “The West Wing” or “Sports Night” or more recently “Newsroom”. I love the way he writes. It is evocative of the 1940s which is a favourite era of mine characterized by “fast pace” and “rat a tat” ala “His Girl Friday” and “The Philadephia Story”. I love it so much that I was working on a monologue for an audition and in working on it, I wanted to be sure I had all the words right so I went hunting online for the script of the piece I was looking for in “Sports Night” (admittedly being lazy because I didn’t want to have to listen, pause and type) but I found the original uncut script, and while its not bad writing, it has a lot of extraneous words and character choices that serve to diminish the strong character profile as built by Felicity Huffman as Dana Whittaker.. but I digress. The point of this, is that may have been a first draft or a second, but the words that ended up on screen as said by the actor were so strong and concise and I think that is a missed lesson by writers because their “baby” is perfect and they toiled over it, and sweated over it and shed blood to create those stories and characters, but often it takes an outside influence or some distance to see how much better it can be by tweaking the original brilliant concept.

So what’s my takeaway from this? If a wonderful writer, like Aaron Sorkin, has less than majestic phraseology and he has issues getting it “right” the first time, what are you so worried about? If you want to write, get started today! If its bad, it will get better. If you are already a writer, great, keep writing!

This book that I have linked to below is all about abandoning your fear and “STARTING” to go after your dreams. Check it out!

http://www.thestartbook.com/?ectid=ja.lt.jm8