Facing Fears as a Writer with Poetry Slams

It’s probably true of most writers, we’re naturally introverted creatures who tend to take criticism to heart. But selling myself and my writing and taking constructive criticism is a necessary evil I’ve grown to tolerate.

However, I always loved Poetry Slams and always wanted to do one. Of course, doing a slam requires writing poetry and getting up in front of a crowd and performing said poem and following up said performance with a loud and boisterous vote on how good, or shitty, your poem was.

When I’m watching slams, I can’t help but think I want to do it. I get the bug. I get an itch that can’t be scratched. Then, I found a writer friend (Robin Reynolds – well known for her Ink and Alchemy project) that also wanted to attempt a Poetry Slam. So we made a pact. We would each do it the following month. Put up or shut up!

Fast forward 3 months.

We’ve competed in a half dozen Slams. Mixed success I must say. HOWEVER, we are up against people who have been slamming for YEARS. We even compete against the biggest names in New Mexico! Robin was even invited and competed in a Women’s slam.

Does it still scare the crap out of me to get up in front of drunk strangers and perform gut-wrenching poetry to be judged by the masses? HELL YES!

That said, I have to say, it’s made me a more confident writer, poet, and self-supporter. The audience is almost ALWAYS supportive. Only the judges have been jerks…but if you’ve been to slams, you know that’s part of being a judge.

Even when I forgot my line for nearly a minute. A full minute! I stood up there and stared at the room. Everything was silent (IN A BAR)! Then the cheers started happening. Then the clapping and the “You can do it!” I finished…eventually. Fist bumps and great score and cheering brought me back.

What I’ve learned: You really do just have to get yourself out there. Nobody will promote you except YOU! And, when you do promote yourself, honestly, and truthfully, others WILL support you! The love you feel in a Poetry Slam room is downright intoxicating.

So, if you want to come see me perform, check out my Events page and join me!

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