I really enjoyed last night’s reading at the Belfast Festival and I received some lovely feedback from the audience – despite my nerves! My legs were shaking so badly I was sure everyone could see them. I had a flashback to my confirmation when I had to do a reading in the chapel and my legs were shaking so violently I thought I might collapse. My mind started to wander off into thoughts like this is terrible, I must look stupid, how can I stop this, maybe I shouldn’t have read this poem. But I knew all that self talk and self criticism was making me lose concentration and making things worse. Letting your mind split like that during a performance is like putting a crack in a mirror – it will eventually break. So I told myself the performance post mortem could wait until after the reading and put my inner voice on pause until then, and I focussed on the job in hand – reading the poems. It works for me. I hope it works for you too.