TIPS FOR

Open Mic Performers

The first time someone steps up to the mic, it can take some encouragement. Or a dare. Or Dutch courage.

Some of us needed all three.

Early-stage poets and singers typically have jitters and doubts and questions, like what’s the best way to intro my poem? What do I do at the end of my set? How can I get more comfortable at the mic? Should I bring my mom/dad/friend/boss/neighbor?

Well, here’s some answers, gathered from open mics that span 10 years, nearly 3 dozen states, and countless performances—from the awkward to the honest, the magical, and the weird.

Don’t stress. You got this.

Open Mic Will Make You a Better Listener

Open Mic Will Make You a Better Listener

This is the second in a series that explores what makes an open mic worth doing—as in organizing, hosting, attending, performing at, or becoming a regular. Not just because it’s entertaining and inspiring, not just because it’s a great way to improve your craft, but...

How Open Mic Might Just Save the World

How Open Mic Might Just Save the World

This is the first of a series that explores what makes an open mic worth doing—as in organizing, hosting, attending, performing at, or becoming a regular. Not just because it’s entertaining and inspiring, but because it's a defiant act of humanity. Talking with open...

What is Open Mic Tourism?

What is Open Mic Tourism?

* * * * * Disclaimer: I wrote this post back in 2015 and in a fit of new year's optimism, updated and republished it January 3, 2021. Until travel is a thing again, open mic tourism remains a digital/virtual hobby.   * * * * * If you ask most people, tourism means...

10 Tips for First-Time Open Mic Poets

10 Tips for First-Time Open Mic Poets

At my first open mic, as the host worked his way down the list and my slot got closer, I suddenly found myself wishing for a guitar. When the musicians stood on stage, they didn't look alone. They had a safety blanket. Something between them and the audience, and...

7 Reasons to Bring an Entourage to Open Mic

7 Reasons to Bring an Entourage to Open Mic

Scan an open mic audience and it’s a safe bet that at least half the people in the room are on the list to perform. And if that's you and you don't already model during every performance the behavior you're hoping for when you're on stage, then check yourself. Like...