Okay, perhaps I’m a little biased here. After all, I’m talking about an event that I host myself. Still, I appreciate that not everyone lives near me, and I still think it’s a good idea to seek out your nearest spoken word night and to go along to read out some of your work.
Reading your work aloud helps you to look at it in a different way, and you’ll have noticed that if you’ve ever written something and then read it aloud to yourself, but reading it to a live audience is like taking that to the next level.
That’s because every word counts, and when a live audience has its eyes on you it forces you to reevaluate every single sentence. You think about it as you go and come up with all sorts of minor tweaks that you can make to further tighten up the story.
Another big advantage is that you can gauge people’s reactions. Quite often, you’ll find people laughing at bits that weren’t supposed to be funny while any parts that were supposed to be funny fall flat on their face. At the same time, if you find yourself skipping over a paragraph or two during the reading then it begs the question of why it’s there in the first place.
You’re also exposed to all sorts of other talent. So if you’re a poet, you might find yourself talking to novelists, songwriters and stand up comedians. You can learn things from each other and from each other’s performances. You can also network and find new opportunities for collaborations.
I could go on and on, but I have a book to edit and I ought to get back to it. I also have some notes to prep for my next spoken word night. You should come along sometime. Every second Sunday at the Rose and Crown here in High Wycombe. I’ll see you there.