Read my work out loud? (Insert bitty panic attack)

“You will one day I promise.”

My dear friend looked into my eyes and nodded.


No way. Nothing could be more terrifying than letting someone who knows something about writing read a piece of my work.

All those C words. Critique. Criticize. Critical.

C.C.U. as in the Critical Care Unit. That’s where my tender as a chicken liver writer’s psyche lived.

“You will want someone to read and give feed back.”

A published author, my friend earns a nice living reading and critiquing fellow writers.

As much as I trusted her as a friend and professional . . . let someone read my teensy, mew-of-a-kitten attempt at a novel? For real?

Only when I was sure. Only when certain I held the next Bridget Jones or Devil Wore Rogiani to CURVES.

Then I signed up for a writing class.

For reals.

The first night I showed up, we sat in a big U staring at each other. The veteran teacher gave a talk about how everyone’s work is welcome with two exceptions: no violence toward animals and no graphic sex.

 So much for my first draft.

No sillies. I kept pecking away and going to class each week listening to other folks read for their 15 minutes of shame.

It’s been a while ago so honestly I can’t remember what finally made me pull out my shaky hand clutching Chapter One or warm-up my even more tremulous voice . . .

But I did.

I put the whole bloody mess out there for everyone to hear. That is after editing out a worm’s gory demise by fishhook and gratuitous iron skillet orgy in a 1970s KitchenAid warehouse.

Once my breathing settled and words began to flow in semi-complete sentences, I heard it.


Okay. It was twelve wanna be writers sitting around after a day of sending out e-mails and sales calls, wiping down tables and picking up quarters in tips and cleaning up messy kitchens and folding towers of wrinkled t-shirts — but they laughed.

In the places they were supposed to laugh.

My friend was right. Writers need to be read and honestly critiqued.

By someone who might not laugh at the right spots. By someone who might be a bit brutal in love.

But for the first time. To heck with honesty.


Linking up with the wonderful Writer’s Workshop at Mama Kat’s place.

The prompt: 2.) Talk about a time you faced a fear.

What about you?   When did you decide to pull out your shaky piece of paper and read aloud?



Mama’s Losin’ It

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8 responses to “Read my work out loud? (Insert bitty panic attack)”

  1. Oh yes, that is a scary moment indeed! But when you hear laughter in all the right places… well there is no better sound in the world.
    Charlene Ross recently posted..Jump!

  2. Tracie says:

    That is such a scary moment. I remember the first time I read my shaky piece of paper out loud. It was in a drama group, and I was the newest member. They were kind (but tough) with me, and I will be forever thankful.
    Tracie recently posted..Other People’s Words

  3. This is wonderful! Nothing like putting yourself out there in the hopes of getting the right response and sometimes not getting the right response so you know what to fix.
    @MryJhnsn from iNeedaPlaydate recently posted..A Mama Geek’s Top List of Doctor Who Quotes

  4. kelley says:

    that took a lot of courage on your part. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

  5. Stacie says:

    When do we get to read it?
    Stacie recently posted..Google Me Q113

  6. Allison says:

    I GET THIS. I totally get this. I read one of my pieces outloud for an audition and it was brutal, nerve wracking, intimate, and raw. Once I got that first reading done, it felt like such an accomplishment, a huge step taken, even if I didn’t advance through the audition process. The way you describe your experience is great.
    Allison recently posted..The Last Thing My Pet Destroyed



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