by Yuly Restrepo

April 15, 2021

This week I had the opportunity to visit a creative writing course at Pittsburg State University, where I read some of my work and conducted a discussion and a writing exercise for students. It was a very fun and rewarding experience. I’d like to think that by now I’ve become used to reading my work to an audience, since I’ve had some practice, but the truth is I dread it every time. I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog. I have a condition that makes my vocal cords tremble, and being nervous exacerbates it, so since I always get nervous when I read my work, I feel like sometimes I sound like I’m about to cry. The tremor also extends to my hands, so when I’m holding a book or a piece of paper while reading, I feel like everyone thinks I’m going to pass out.

One of the very first times I read from my novel to an audience

I think I’m also self-conscious about it because English is not my first language, and though in my brain I’m pronouncing every single word correctly, it doesn’t always come out of my mouth that way. Additionally, I’m a slow talker, which means I’m a slow reader. Many times, in the process of reading, I worry that I’m doing it too slowly and boring everyone to death. I’ve tried ways to make myself speed up, but I don’t think they’re worked that well.

I’m super grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to share my writing with others, but when I decided I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t anticipate I’d also be a performer. It definitely comes with the territory, though, and I have to believe I will get better and better the more I do it, so I’ll keep doing it as long as I’m invited to. And it’s always an honor to be invited.

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