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.

Subvert the Attention Economy: Go to Open Mic

Subvert the Attention Economy: Go to Open Mic

So I read this book semi-recently called How to Do Nothing. It wasn’t actually about doing nothing. More like the deliberate not-doing of a certain kind of thing. The kind of thing we don’t decide to do, but rather fall into when we’re not paying attention. Not so...

How Open Mic Builds Empathy

How Open Mic Builds Empathy

This is the third 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...

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...

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...