I’m terrified of reading my own stories out loud to an audience. Any audience. Well. Maybe not any audience; I think I could handle putting on a performance for one of the cats. But to a human audience? Even the thought is unnerving.
Which is funny, given that generally speaking I love reading out loud. I mean, I haven’t quite figured out how to do the voices, and sometimes I’ll lose my place in the text (who doesn’t?) but overall it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience and something I’d honestly like to do more often. But translating that over to reading, specifically, something that I have written? Nope: instant onset of something the feels a whole lot like panic.
And I’m really not sure why.
I’ve got some theories– writing anything, including (especially?) fiction is inherently revealing, and the effect isn’t going to be lessened by the author lending their literal voice to the words. Yet I don’t hesitate when posting them up in public, and in fact I rather hope people read them and enjoy them. It could also have something to do with the fact that it’s more “demanding” on the audience’s attention: if you run across a random story on the internet and don’t find it interesting you can just click away, whereas if I asked you to sit and listen while I read something I’d written out loud, you might feel significantly more pressured to stay and listen regardless of how you felt. And if you didn’t enjoy it, I’d feel terrible for taking your time.
Yet I find that, more and more, I would really like to try and share my work that way. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Or, maybe, actually trying it will come with more benefits than the handful I’ve already thought of. I suppose there’s really only one way to find out.