How I Utilized My Weaving Words Festival of Storytellers Education Grant
By Cynthia St-Pierre
With the exception of journaling—and even then I would argue that a journaler is writing unconscious thoughts down in order to share their meaning with his/her conscious self—writing and writing tips are meant to be shared.
I am grateful to WCYR and sponsor Weaving Words for recently awarding me an Education Grant. How did I use my grant money? I put it towards my membership fees of $190 at my local Toastmasters club, The Court of Blarney.
What the heck does Toastmasters have to do with writing, you may ask?
The answer is twofold.
- The first benefit of Toastmasters for a writer? The general public thinks of Toastmasters as strictly a public speaking program. What is little known is the craft of writing is stressed in Toastmasters workbooks, in its online materials and during its meetings. After all, verbal addresses are only as powerful as their composition.
In fact, the Toastmasters International Mission statement is: “We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders”.
Here’s an excerpt of a speech entitled How Toastmasters has Gifted my Writing that I wrote then presented at a regular Toastmasters meeting.
Toastmasters, in all its wisdom, gives me permission to be bolder. To raise my voice. To write more theatrically for an audience of real live people, not just imaginary readers. In other words, as I’m getting less timid to speak in public, I’m also getting less timid to write out loud.
- And the second benefit of Toastmasters for writers? The writing industry does not permit us introverted (but working on it) writers to hide in our garrets and still be successful at sharing our writing passion with readers. We are strongly encouraged (read forced) to speak on panels, to attend shows, to present readings. Toastmasters helps me overcome my natural reluctance to participate in these events and helps me to enjoy the marketing aspect of writing.
What’s In It For You?
I invite you to check out the Toastmasters website (toastmasters.org) to see if you too can benefit from the Toastmasters program. Enter “Newmarket” under “Find a Club” then choose a radius of, say, 16 kilometers. Eight different local clubs will pop up. Or search for a branch near you!
If you decide to visit my The Court of Blarney club, please make sure you find me and say “hi!”. If you do give us a try, I’m convinced you’ll find our Toastmasters group to be as friendly and as dedicated to learning, growing and sharing as our Writers’ Community of York Region!