Last week I was out for lunch with some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and they asked how I was getting on with my book. Now, I’m usually reasonably good at holding a conversation, but for some reason when it comes to my creative endeavours and things that are quite personal to me (as they inevitably are), I somehow freeze up.
When talking about my book, my mind kind of froze and I started wittering away, aware of the fairly blank expressions I was getting back. I’m good with words — written words. If I was to write about my novel, and explain why it’s a story that’s close to my heart and why I felt compelled to write it, I’d probably come up with something fairly thoughtful and compelling. But, put on the spot like that, I just ended up sounding vague, nervous and flustered. I’m pretty much the same when it comes to talking about my visual art. Eloquence goes out the window and I struggle to express why I do what I do, and why anyone should be interested in my work. I get shy! I’d rather someone else presented my work for me. But that, alas, isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
That lunch date made me realise the importance of being able to talk about my work with confidence, passion and enthusiasm. Any artist or writer has to cultivate a degree of ‘salesmanship’, which is something that doesn’t come naturally to many of us. As with any skill, it takes practise, and that’s what I’m going to spend some time working on.
If someone gave me sixty seconds to present my novel in a way that sounded compelling and exciting, what would I say, and how would I say it?
I think that’s an excellent question (and challenge!). I’ll get back to you on that…