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.

Why You Should Become a Regular at Your Local Open Mic

Why You Should Become a Regular at Your Local Open Mic

The first reason to go to any open mic is because it will be memorable. No matter what night you choose, there’s always at least one performance that you couldn’t have guessed at, had someone asked you what you were expecting to see. Spontaneous interpretive dance?...

Heavy Hitters: A Virtual Banquet of Open Mic Pros

Heavy Hitters: A Virtual Banquet of Open Mic Pros

Here in the US, we’re at month four of not being able to gather in large groups. For people like me, that takes some of the sparkle out of my calendar—no shows to stalk and anticipate.  (As a close friend of mine—who keeps a reminder of upcoming events where she can...

The Shift to Digital Open Mics

The Shift to Digital Open Mics

One of the things I say a lot when I try—and I try often—to convey just how great an open mic is (or was) is that you just had to be there. In the room. In the space. With all the other people. Breathing in the poems and the music… …and the air. Which in most states...

How to Do Open Mic, Get Applause, and Never Feel Awkward Again

How to Do Open Mic, Get Applause, and Never Feel Awkward Again

A while back, I wrote about how to introduce yourself and your work at an open mic. This post is that post’s bookend.  Open mic poets (and musicians and storytellers and comics) are an earnest lot. We’re amateurs and we know it—amateurs who aim to get better,...