Yesterday I sat down and started to write the most important content of my life to date. Yes, more important than my dissertation and yes, scarier than anything I’ll publish professionally on the internet. I started to write the best man speech for my mate Alastair’s wedding.
This blog features me speaking at length about my motivations, struggles and anxieties on the road to becoming a successful freelance writer but this speech embodies a whole new level of fear to my writing.
Writing This Speech Scares Me
With every article or blog post I write, my confidence and technical ability grows. I am safe in the knowledge that if anything I write bombs, the only critics I’ll face are keyboard warriors and internet trolls, the only negativity will be a lack of likes, shares or if you’re a medium.com user, claps.
Unlike article or blog writing, when it comes to a best man speech, there are no guidelines, rules or formulas to follow which make it successful. It’s extremely personal and depends on the delivery just as much as the content.
I will have the potential to upset some people in the room or even worse than that, bore everybody to death. Any negativity emanating from the conclusion of my speech may be expressed not from behind a keyboard, but directly to my face.
Writing a best man speech is something most of us will have to do in our lifetimes and if we are lucky, we may even get to do two or three of them, dependant on how much effort you put in with your pals!
This speech has to be funny, heartfelt and charismatic. To achieve those things, you can’t rely on keyword, grammatical or formatting knowledge to achieve such things.
One of the reasons I like the idea of writing so much is that I dislike talking face to face with people in a professional context. Something about it raises my heartbeat and makes me cringe.
This speech will hopefully not make me cringe but will scare me.
I must speak to a room of 100+ people – half of which I know very well – and deliver a speech which will tread the line of ruining one of my favourite human’s immediate five minutes but not his entire day.
While I tread this fine line, I must entertain and delight all 200 pairs of eyes and ears focused on me and come across confident in doing so.
This Must Rock
While I seriously doubt that no matter how well I do, the crowd will allow me to walk over their hands and scream my name, this speech has to be good, more than good actually, it must rock!
I am fortunate that my subject is a colourful character, whom I’ve known and loved for years and who, most vitally, is very easy to take the piss out of!
The content will come, my first draft didn’t take long to write, but it will take ages to perfect and once I have perfected it, I will perfect it again.
When I finally started the speech, I had already put doing so off for months. This was because I was overcome with fear at the thought of performing it but there should be no fear in simply writing it.
I forget that over the years, with everything I’ve been afraid of doing, I have broken it down into baby steps which individually aren’t so scary. This is just another something I’m uncomfortable with and another something I can break down into baby steps.
I’ll honour my mate the only way that a best man can, by making everybody he cares about laugh at him for five minutes. Once the content is ready to achieve that, I’ll work on it’s delivery and my own issues with that.
Whatever I end up writing professionally won’t be as nerve wracking as this. Give me an article or a blog post to write any day, just not another speech, at least for a while!