Friday, September 02, 2016

Stretching that Comfort Zone: Reading Aloud


I recently filmed and uploaded a new video that I actually felt quite nervous about doing, but something that I thought would be a fun idea. That is, reading aloud from some of the books I plan on reading.

How is this stretching my comfort zone? Because I'm very uncomfortable reading aloud. Talking in front of people, or vlogging, or talking to people are all generally things I'm pretty good at. I'm pretty good when unscripted, although I'm aware my mind can wander and I can often jump a few tangents without filling in the blanks. Yet, somehow when that happens in conversation it's not to hard to get back on track.

But reading from a book? All in order? All in one take? Jeepers. That felt horribly intimidating. I was right back in grade school feeling paralyzed waiting for my turn to read aloud and so paranoid I would miss it that I in fact retained nothing that other people said, nor what I said. But this is today, and I'm not waiting my turn, I'm not even recording live, so that felt a bit more doable.

I did a fair amount of prep work to help (or hope) to make the process go smoothly. I read the passages aloud several times to get comfortable with the what I was saying and to get a bit of an understanding of the story. I also looked for what would be the best place to stop, and timed how long it took me to get to that point. And I noted any words I wasn't sure about how to pronounce (and some of them really aren't real words!), and for those challenging ones I made index cards to show to the camera for clarity. After I did all that, I read through them all again.

One unexpected side effect to all this prep, is that I really know in my bones the beginnings of all these books. I remember recently seeing a tag video where people shared their favourite first lines in books, and I was like "who remembers that????". Now, I couldn't pull out the first line of any of these three books, but I certainly remember the tone, setting, story and characters that they begin with.

I have a hard time even figuring out if it even turned out okay. I do stumble a few times, but always get back on track and try to give some life to the words and characters. It was a big challenge, but it was so worth it. I know it isn't a masterpiece, but I really feel proud that I did it at all. It would be a lot of fun to keep it up, and I know that actively working on this can only improve my speech/speaking skills which is a great bonus. The only kicker is... I feel like I should read the books before I to another video! Ha!

So if you'd like to have a listen feel free, and I hope you enjoy it. I read from these three books:
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davids
  • The Last Wish (Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski