Why A Writer Doesn’t Have To Be A Speaker

In January 2017, Sonne Magazine approached me as a contributor to consider attending the Moving Women Empowerment Conference 2017. I was offered to select a topic area and speak. After consideration, I responded “I prefer to engage in writing than speaking. Also, I would like to assist with sponsorship.” This was the first time such a conference was taking place. I saw the merit of the idea and wanted it to succeed.

A writer doesn’t have to be a speaker. You don’t have to rob your skill of writing with speaking, just because someone tossed you a microphone and thought since you are a bestseller, you must become a speaker too. No, you don’t have to. I too don’t wish to be a better speaker like I wish to be a better writer.

In saying this, you can choose to support causes which matter to you in other ways than public speaking. Some people are good at speaking and will have a profound impact to the audience. Others are not good at public speaking and will have a profound impact through other ways.

The audience will have congregated through skills of those who speak and those who don’t. For example, event participants will need food and drinks. Event organizers will need financial assistance to meet costs incurred to put the programme together. Speakers and entertainers will be needed to keep the audience attention. Technicians will need to master technical equipments to ensure audio and visual devices are working in order. All these together are skill sets required for a successful event.

So, next time someone tosses a microphone at you say this, “I am good at…” You can also choose to say no. Elena Ferrante inspires me. In 2015, her newly released letter to her publisher made headlines. It read, ‘I do not intend to do anything for Troubling Love, anything that might involve the public engagement of me personally. I’ve already done enough for this long story: I wrote it. If the book is worth anything, that should be sufficient.’ Ferrante disciplined our expectations of her writing success.

J.K. Rowling is a motivational author, who does minimal speaking. She has admitted to having speaking phobia e.g. speaking on TV. For Press and Publicity, there is a notice on her website to all who want to toss a mike on her, “…but please note that J.K. Rowling very rarely gives media interviews or comment, preferring to make any public comment via Twitter. As a general rule, she does not undertake public speaking or conference engagements.” Rowling has given us all a boundary to deal with her writing success.

Folks, let’s acknowledge those who make an event in the shadows of their speaking counterparts. Let’s also admire those who speak with inspiring deeds (not words) in public. Everyone is important to make a successful event including you the non-speaker. Now go find ways to make that event or cause that you care so much about a success!

PS: The next Moving Women Empowerment Conference is on 31 March 2018. Support them here.
PPS: Te first annual Dar Youth Poetry Festival is happening on 17-18 November 2017. Help make it a success here.

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