Reading Aloud

One of the graduation requirements of my MFA program in Boston was a fifteen minute reading of my work. I’m not new to reading in front of a crowd, but there’s something nerve wracking about standing at a podium in front your professors and peers. Before my reading, I practiced. As I rehearsed, I would stop to make small adjustments in the text to clarify who was speaking or to change a word that just didn’t sound quite right. 

I was reminded of my own best advice — If you aren’t sure about the text of a piece you are working on, speak the words. The clunky parts will magically appear to you, twisting your tongue and tripping you up. Bad dialogue will scream at you for an edit.  

How do you quiet your nerves before a reading? Practice. Especially if the words you will read contain a heavy emotion. You don’t want your voice to break just as you deliver the final few lines. Practice. Read it aloud. And when you are finally standing at the podium to begin speaking, the words will flow without thought.

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