My voice teacher hosts a monthly performance class for her students. Her studio includes professional singers with postgraduate degrees in vocal performance and experience in the local opera theaters. Others are confirmed amateurs, learning for personal development.
Yet we are alike in one important way: everyone admits to battling nerves before performing, even when singing in this informal and supportive setting.
Each class is a lesson in two important aspects of performance: experience and community.
- Each time we sing for each other, we earn another positive experience and the nerves recede a bit.
- The class gathers an informal, ad hoc community of people committed to the same overall goals. We support and reinforce each other.
When I see that even the most polished and professional singers feel the jitters, I understand that I am part of a community of people who gets past personal fears for the sake of a performance. That community gives me courage.
No one is fearless. Courageous people experience fear but get up and do something anyway. Witnessing that behavior is inspiring. And, as always, I find lessons to apply to my writing.
Writing Takes Courage
Although the act of writing is solitary, the art of writing entails communicating with others. At its heart, writing is a social act. Putting your words and thoughts into the world requires a bravery. But you don’t have to go it alone.
Seek the company of others taking similar risks. Find companions in courage, whether writers, singers, dancers, or the participants at a local Toastmasters group. By spending time with these people, whether virtually or in person, you draw strength from them.
You may notice that courage crosses domains. The better you get at public speaking, for example, the more fearless you may feel about writing in your own voice, or vice verse.
I’m spotting that correlation in my own life. Whether asking for a blurb for the latest book or singing a Brahms aria, with practice I can focus on the work rather than myself, and move forward with confidence.
Put yourself in the way of courageous people to feed your own courage.
Image: Radek Grzybowski on stocksnap.io
Originally published at annejanzer.com on April 7, 2016.