It’s an old cliché that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death.
Can you believe that? I mean—seriously, people, what’s so scary about standing before a bunch of chumps while yapping away over a microphone? You’d rather die? Really? Are you stupid?
Okay, alright, fine, you got me.
I’m one those people!
Just hearing the word “Lectern” bring on instant nausea. And microphones? Scarier to me than an alien’s butt probe.
I’m an absolute ninja when it comes to avoiding public speaking. I began mastering the skill of avoidance at age four, when I was ejected from the safe nest of my family home and into the zoo of public school.
“Who shall I pick to come up the front for Show and Tell?” my teacher would ask, and I’d melt down behind the desk, compacting my little bones into an accordion fold the way a mouse does when it’s squeezing through a thimble-sized hole. I would hush my breath, slow my heart, and think invisible thoughts.
It worked every single time.
Using my invisibility skills, I never participated in a Show and Tell. In fact, I managed to go practically unseen during my sixteen years of schooling. That is an award-worthy accomplishment, owed entirely to my talent for bone-oragami.
But now I’m royally screwed …
In 2013, I’m due to launch my book to Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, and—this just in!—Brazil. So, of course, I’m freaking out! As of Feb/March, I will be contractually obligated to show up to book readings events, signings, and TV and radio appearances.
This time, not even my rubbery bones can’t save me.
When my book sold to publishers, my reaction was: “I did it!” and then, “Oh no! I can’t hide anymore!” As the launch date grows closer, I’m charged with a mix of excitement and terror, which is one part Hells-yeah! mixed with one part Oh shit!, creating a Hellsyeahohshit cocktail.
I’m secretly hoping that the Mayan Calendar predictions will come true and that the world will end in December 2012. When Earth explodes into a ball of flames, I’ll be doing jazz hands in the flicker of fire before we’re all eternally snuffed and freed from our obligations.
(My condolences to anyone who is looking forward to the future.)
Or, I could just suck it up and do it.
If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know by now that the main theme of my blog is confronting fears. I’ve faced big fears before, but always with the knowledge that I could get off the boat if I wanted to (literally). This time, I’m strapped aboard for the whole ride.
From my past experiences, I at least know this much is true:
- Things are never as scary as they seem.
- Once the initial terror passes, exhilaration follows.
- You need to face fears in order to know what you’re capable of.
“If you want to be successful, you must be willing to be uncomfortable.” Gil Eagles Click to Tweet
I want my book to succeed. I’m ready to get uncomfortable for that.
So let’s get uncomfortable together!
Now and then, I’m going to be sharing my warts-and-all journey leading up to the book launch and beyond. If you share this fear of mine, or if you’d simply like to laugh at my expense, please follow along!
Are you scared of public speaking? Have you overcome a fear like this? If so, please send me your tips!
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.