Entering the Dragons’ Pen

download (1)It’s always great to be a witness to a pal’s success and I was lucky enough to find myself back at the Glasgow Women’s Library to cheer on my fellow MLitt classmate, Ethyl Smith at the Dragons’ Pen event.

downloadEthyl was one of eight finalists (she’s so talented that she made it to this stage last year) who had interpreted the theme of ‘Illuminate’ and written a short story of a maximum of 1000 words. The finale of the competition was for Ethyl to read her story, ‘Seein’s Believin’, aloud to an audience and four literary judges.

photo (11)

Ethyl feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

To say that I was in awe of Ethyl’s confidence is an understatement. To put yourself and your writing out there and up for criticism is not for the faint hearted. Respect!

I listened to Ethyl read her piece and wondered if I’d ever get the chance and be brave enough to do a reading of my work. The irony is that although my ‘day job’ is delivering training sessions involving me talking to large groups of people for a full day you would assume that I’d be comfortable with public speaking. And yet I would still be nervous about reading my work in public. The reason is that it would be my work and there would be nothing to hide behind.

So it seems I have an issue to overcome. I wouldn’t describe myself as shy, but that doesn’t mean that I’m an extrovert either and an article I came across called, 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert struck a chord.


imagesClick on the link to see if you’re an innie or an outie.

And contrary to the perception of even my close friends and family, I identified with several of the indicators, in particular number 8 and of course number 22.

But although I believe that I’m more an introvert than extrovert, if I’m ever successful in achieving my dream of being a published writer then one day, hopefully soon, I’ll have to face my fear and share my words. But I’m grateful that I’ve had Ethyl to lead the way.


6 thoughts on “Entering the Dragons’ Pen

  1. I absolutely empathize with your anxiety about reading work aloud, although I had no idea I had it at all until I spent a semester abroad at Oxford, where my tutors required me to read my essays out loud in our meetings. Yikes! I could barely get through! (And that was only academic work, much less personal than creative writing).

  2. Totally agree, there’s a huge difference between spouting your personal stuff and the academic – although my academic stuff tended to be quite personal it was always possible to water it down with references and links to theory.
    Haven’t much experience of reading my fiction to an audience but something like an Arvon course is a good introduction as there’s such a supportive atmosphere

    • Hi Anne, Yes, it’s not easy is it? You feel very vulnerable when it’s personal writing. I’ve been lucky enough to go on 2 Arvon courses and they are indeed very supportive. I’m ok with reading aloud within a workshop setting but the thought of standing up and reading my work in front of an audience still makes me nervous.I suppose like everything the more I do it the less it will bother me…:)

  3. Bizarrely, I feel the opposite way! To my great surprise I’ve discovered that I really enjoy reading my own work in front of an audience. I find there’s something almost comforting about being with words I know and have chosen. Of course that’s no guarantee that it’ll go down well but you’re right that reading aloud is a necessary skill for published authors. I bet you’d be great at it!

    • Hi Isabel, That’s encouraging to hear that you’ve found a love of public reading. I’m sure it’ll be made full use of once your book has been published so it’s great that you’re gaining experience in advance of a book launch etc. Maybe if I had the same incentive I’d push myself to do it and who knows, I might love it too!

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