The third time I went to the open mic, I felt that I knew what I would be dealing with. How it would feel, the nerves, the stiff cold fingers. I remember warming up by shaking my hands and stretching before I walked up to the stage.
Knowing what I would be dealing with, I still decided the best thing would be to up the ante, and challenge myself. I did this by picking a more adventurous, more complicated piece of music: a "tone poem" I had "written" the same month, called "The Doe." It is supposed be remind you of a graceful deer bounding through the woodlands. My deer seems to stumble at times, but eventually it gets there. I don't think it ended up like Bambi's mother.
I noticed that although I still hedge my bet in the introduction, I'm not as apologetic. Overall, I seem to enjoy the experience more, and I don't look at the microphone when I leave the stage as if it had made some sort of rude comment.