My name is Jim Landwehr and I am an author and poet from the United States.
I was asked by the admin of this webpage to write an occasional guest blog for the site, so this is my first crack at doing that. He said the topics can be wildly diverse, so I will take that for what it is and try to keep things interesting for the readers.
This past week was an interesting one for me from a writing perspective because I had a couple of speaking engagements as a writer/poet. I am a fairly introverted person by nature, so public speaking is a bit like chewing glass for me. I recognize that it is all part of being an author. Books don’t sell themselves, you have to go out and plug them. That means getting up in front of people, talking about what it took to write it, reading a bit from it and selling yourself and your book.
As my writing coach says, writing is a solitary pastime. It is everything AFTER the writing is done that is anything but solitary. In today’s book market, the impetus is on the author more than ever to go out and sell, sell, sell.
Fortunately for me, I’ve done enough presentations with my first book, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, that I am significantly more relaxed in front of groups than I once was. To be completely honest, the thought of getting up and doing public speaking was TERRIFYING when I heard that my book was going to be published. I died many deaths thinking about how difficult it would be.
Then I did it.
And I did it again.
And after the twentieth time, I knew what worked, what didn’t work. I knew what jokes would get a laugh and how to break up the presentation with readings. My confidence grew with each appearance and I’d even go as far as to say I get a little charge out of public speaking.
So, I went into my book presentation about The Portland House and talked and read at a great comfort level for an hour. The crowd was engaged, they laughed when I’d hoped they’d laugh and they asked great questions. As it always goes, it was much easier than I anticipated. As Tom Petty once said in a song, “Most things I worry about…never happen anyway.” The presentation went fantastic.
Then, later in the week I had a poetry reading at the Milwaukee library as part of a Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets event. Again, I approached the microphone with confidence and read a couple of poems after giving a brief background to them.
The whole process has become almost second nature to me.
So, my point is, if I can do public speaking, ANYONE can. I encourage you to go outside your comfort zone and try it sometime. It is nothing short of empowering after a few times of muddling your way through. People look for dynamic speakers. So, if you have a book to share, or a song, or a poem, or a political rant, get up in front of people and tell them about it.
Because the world needs you. It needs to hear you.
*Special thanks to Mariam Bughadze for inviting me to guest blog.
Jim Landwehr is an American author and poet living in the Waukesha, Wisconsin. Waukesha is about an hour and a half north of Chicago, Illinois. He lives with his wife of 28 years and two kids, a daughter who is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota, and a son who is attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Jim’s first love is nonfiction but he also writes poetry and dabbles in fiction from time to time. He currently has two memoirs, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir and The Portland House: A ‘70s Memoir, as well as three poetry collections. He is an avid fisherman and enjoys biking, kayaking and all things outdoors. For more information, visit: http://jimlandwehr.com