Rough Writers Toastmasters
Have you turned your Toastmasters club into a graveyard for your speeches?
Think about the average lifespan of a speech.
You may spend a lot of time coming up with an idea, planning your content and structure, and rehearsing your material.
Then the day comes when you deliver your speech in front of your club. The audience applauds your achievement. Your evaluator takes careful notes and gives you verbal and written feedback to help you improve your presentation.
Then what happens?
That’s it. It’s time to forget about this speech and move on to the next one.
This is the tragedy of Toastmasters: we put so much time and effort into preparing a speech, only to leave it to die as soon as we’ve presented it to our club.
What if, instead of abandoning your speech, you used the club’s evaluations to make it better?
What if that speech could find its way into a book so you could share it with family, friends, and anyone else you believed could benefit from your content?
The “Rough Writers” Toastmasters club showed this was possible when we launched our book, Speeches to Books: True Stories from the Rough Writers Club.
The Arduous Path to Publication
When we formed our club, most of our members agreed that we could use the Toastmasters program to help increase, improve, and promote our writing. A few of us had written books before, but most of us had only dreamt of becoming published authors.
A year or so after we chartered, we decided to stop dreaming and start working on a book together.
We faced an uphill battle from the beginning. Some people questioned whether a specialty club like ours could even survive, let alone become published.
First, we had to find volunteers to contribute content. After some convincing, nine club members agreed to participate.
Each of us delivered a speech based on our personal experience with a life-changing moment. The feedback we gathered from other members helped us refine our content into written stories.
We collected the stories and our club Editor improved them.
Following this was a long period of confusion while we tried to figure out which copies had been edited and which hadn’t.
Eventually, we got all the final revisions together, contacted a printing service, and were suddenly confronted with a whole new set of questions:
- Who’s going to write the introduction, the foreword, and the acknowledgements?
- What should we use for cover art?
- How many ISBN numbers should we order?
These and other unknowns led to more debate and delays.
Finally, we made our final decisions and placed our order.
A few days later, we were staring inside an open box. For many of us, being able to pull a copy of the book out of that box and hold it in our hands was when it all became real:
We did it! We had just become published authors; some of us for the first time!
Keeping Our Speeches Alive
Now, instead of our speeches dying in our club; they live on bookshelves and coffee tables or travel in cars, bags, and envelopes on their way to new homes.
For the authors, these books will be a constant reminder of the stories we told, the work we put into them, and the support we received along the way.
For our readers, these books will serve as inspiration; not just because of the words inside but because of what they represent: a symbol of what can be accomplished when a group of people work together towards a common goal.
If you’d like to learn more about our process, pick up a copy of our book, or join us on our next project; please contact Brad Jorgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.