WRITE FROM YOUR HEART!

Wow! I felt like a movie star as I left the school, a large bouquet of flowers nestled in the crook of my arm. My mind was spinning, my heart was light with joy. I’d just had a most wonderful afternoon with a group of creative writers at a local school. Aged from eleven to fifteen, the eighteen students were brimming with questions, ideas and originality. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds (a soaring and liberating sensation).  From my talk below the top tip that remained with the students afterwards was to ‘Write from your Heart’ – one couldn’t ask or hope for more.

Here is my talk to them in full for your perusal and if new (or not so new)  to writing I hope it can inspire you and your work.

♦♦♦

A heartfelt thank you for the invitation to meet you all today. I’m thrilled to be here and can’t wait to learn more about all of you and listen to some of your work.

First of all, how did I become an author?

Writing has been my lifelong passion. Just as I cannot imagine a life without books, nor can I imagine a day without writing. An inspirational teacher at primary school instilled in me the joy of creative writing and I haven’t stopped since. Writing became a way for me to paint with words, layering them for texture, using bold dramatic language on occasions, other times capturing the gentle nuances of a moment with subtle word play. It is an art form, that can be crafted, shaped, moulded to an endless variety of formats.

Three years ago I had the opportunity to start writing seriously and a well-established writing course gave me guidance on developing my writing as well as advising me on how to become published.

There are countless short story competitions available and entering some of these was my first port of call. I bought the magazines, studied their stories, and also, this is critical, read the rules to competitions. It baffles me how many fail to do this!

Very soon I won first prize in a Writing Magazine short story competition and the success of ‘Biding Her Time’ proved to be the confidence booster I needed.

I quickly developed a love for short stories and I delight in crafting them. They require clarity, conciseness whilst not being abrupt or missing out on the artistry of language and they can often be a form of character study. Every word has to count!

I draw inspiration from all around me — conversations, everyday experiences, and even news items. If an idea strikes me I make a note of it as soon as possible; after all it’s proven that ideas can float in and out of our consciousness within three seconds. If a notebook is to hand, I’ll scribble in that, otherwise I’ll tap away on the ‘note’ app on my mobile.

I’ve kept journals since young and they are a quiet meeting place for me to jot down my thoughts, ideas, concerns and story possibilities in private; never to be shared or scrutinised. I return to some of these at a later date and sometimes find a gem of an idea for a story, poem or even article.

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A small memento of my visit for the students. May many new stories be written with these.

The first line of a story is critical to me. Once that is in place the rest of the writing flows. It is as if someone is ‘dictating’ the story, it becomes organic and takes on a life form of its own. Subconsciously I will be writing away, the first draft always on paper, and many times I will be wonderfully surprised by a twist in a story or the strength of a minor character forcing their way to centre stage. It is a magical surreal experience and one that can last for hours.

The voice of the piece is a major factor in writing. I feel there are always two voices.

Your voice as the writer must be just that — YOURS. Be true to yourself when you write; this is what makes your writing original and enables it to shine out.

The voice or point of view of a story can vary. Will the point of view be first person, which is often more immediate and direct? Or will it be in the third person, which allows you more scope to examine events beyond just one person? There is also the option of the second person – you – format which I experimented with in one of my short stories. Of course, many books feature multiple points of views and it is important to make each distinct and at all times clear whose head you’re in!

Although I have printed a one-off edition of my earlier childhood work and also been featured as part of my writing group’s anthology, ‘The Storyteller Speaks’, is my first published book. I was encouraged to publish some of my short stories in a book by the readers of my blog.

My blog was set up following the recommendation by my tutor for the need of an online presence! As a result, I have made wonderful friends across the globe and also connected with people within all aspects of the publishing industry. Through this networking, I ‘met’ the cover artist for my book who lives in Australia and a company in Ireland provided extensive formatting support. 

Furthermore, I increasingly use Twitter to interact with readers, writers and publishers.

Planning a novel is not something I’d considered before I started writing mine a couple of years ago. ‘Island Girl’ is now in its final editing stages and I recollect its early days with fondness. Then, as with much of my writing, I set out to write it with just the backbones of a few ideas, themes and setting.

However, my time-line was slightly array, details of my characters and places were forgotten from one chapter to the next. It was a lot tougher keeping control of all the elements of a full-length novel. Quickly I developed various techniques to avoid future faults.

One way to spot both grammatical errors and glaring mistakes is always to read your work aloud! Since it is a lot to expect to read a whole novel aloud I started using ‘Natural Reader’ app.

Various writing programs are a huge benefit.The free online thesaurus is always open on my tab as I’m working. Similarly, a grammar program such as ‘Grammarly’ helps me to fine tune work, but I never automatically adopt its suggestions. I write on a software program called ‘Scrivener’. This acts as a virtual binder and allows me to plan chapters, look at my ideas on a virtual corkboard, include research documents, as well as writing the novel chapter by chapter.

Not content with writing short stories and a novel, I have also completed two children’s books.

What other advice can I give?

Throw yourself into writing and relish the experience! Find the magic within you and share it! Write from your heart! This may be easier said than done, if like me, your head tends to rule. Don’t disregard your mind but just don’t overthink.

Once you’ve finished a piece, and this can be tough, put it aside for a while. Returning to it with fresh eyes will be key to the next stage; editing. Here engage that brain, tap into your creativity, look out for ways to improve your writing. Perhaps you’re ‘telling’ too much instead of ‘showing’? Not only is it more enjoyable for the writer to show through their writing, it will lift your story.

Never underestimate the effectiveness of dialogue to carry a story forward, to show emotions, even description. It’s striking when you can have a sequence of speech without the ‘he said’/‘she said’. Try to avoid always using adverbs with these; the anger etc should come out in the language where possible.

Never be afraid of feedback of your work; after all we learn through constructive criticism. Also start to read your own written work with a critical eye when necessary.

Play around with your writing. Writing outside one’s comfort zone is a great way to bring new life into your work. Try another unusual genre. Shift your work around — explore new vocabulary and if writing fantasy, maybe even make up a few new words of your own! Use different tenses, viewpoints. I felt a sense of liberation writing from a male viewpoint in some of my stories and using the present tense brought a welcome sense of rush and urgency to them.

When not writing, read lots! Not just in one genre but across the board. It’s a wonderful way to learn. See what works well, and also look out for writing that falters, flatlines … learn from other’s mistakes.

When you start a new piece of writing, remember that this is your first and rough draft. If you wait to write down the most I and absolute best version of your work you may never start at all as you will feel inhibited before even writing a word.

Write with your Ideal Reader in mind — recall your own emotions and feelings when you are swept away by a story. There is nothing quite like escaping into another world; when the present real-world fades to that of the fiction. My dream has been to recreate that experience for all my readers — and hopefully I have. Make your characters three-dimensional, so real that neither you nor the reader wants to leave them!

Through the nitty-gritty of writing, the joy and power of creating worlds, characters, stories should never be underestimated.

As one famous writer said of short stories: ‘(they) are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.’

©Annika Perry, March 2018

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123 thoughts on “WRITE FROM YOUR HEART!

  1. Dina says:

    You’re are fabulous, Annika! I wish I had met someone like you when I was a teenager. An encounter like this makes the difference. Love your pens, love Grammarly (introduced to me by you) and the engagement here. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Bless you, Hanne for your wonderful and touching comment! 😀😀 It was an inspiring and special afternoon – the students were so imaginative and creative in their work and I know afterwards a couple felt compelled to turn their short stories into novels!

      Yeah, I’m so glad Grammarly works well for you – what are you writing? Or can’t you say yet?

      Thank you, I had a lovely relaxing Sunday …today bunkering down indoors away from the wintry weather. It must be windy on the North Norfolk coast – keep warm and cosy! 😀❤️🌻

  2. EvelynKrieger says:

    Just discovered your blog, Annika. These are all fantastic pieces of advice–all could warrant a separate post. I like that you show how much learning and work goes into writing fiction. You have to live and breathe it and always be willing to learn and improve. A lot of people think writing is easy. That’s why they aren’t writers.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Evelyn, it’s lovely to meet you here on WP and I’m glad you found my blog too. 😀😀 I’ve just had a quick look at yours and look forward to commenting later. Haha! I like the idea that the points here could warrant separate posts … that’s an idea!! I feel we never stop learning in life and this applies to writers too … and as so often happens the more I learn, the less I feel I know! Happy Writing! 🌻

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Carol…I spoke from the heart and afterwards I heard how they’d been inspired, one girl starting a novel and others finding a direction to collaborate on a book! I was overjoyed with the day and oh yes, that beautiful bouquet! 😀

  3. Jonathan Scott Griffin says:

    All of this advice is most excellent. I particularly love how you advise to be true to ourselves and to write from our hearts. This is a welcome breath of fresh air from the the mentality of write what sells. I feel like writing what sells betrays the author and it’s not necessarily going to make one successful, and if it does at what cost? That’s not to say that feedback shouldn’t be offered and that we shouldn’t find ways to improve our writing and our storytelling abilities. But I do get sad when I see people treat writing solely like a business in which the art and the soul of it is suffocated.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Jonathan, thank you so much for your fascinating and in-depth comment about writing! As you can guess, I agree wholeheartedly about writing from the heart – but obviously to the best of one’s ability. I fear misery and lack of soul if only writing for the immediate cash benefit – your words bring to mind Jack London’s “Martin Eden” who successfully starts to write ‘potboilers’ to make ends meet but in the end he cannot live with himself! Having said that, it is important for writers to be professional in order to be taken seriously! Lovely to read your thoughts on this topic.

  4. D. Wallace Peach says:

    You were so well prepared, Annika. I think you covered just about everything, and I can see why the young writers were so excited when you finished. “Write from the heart” is a perfect take-away. Honestly, if not writing from the heart, it’s hard to stick with all the hard work that writing entails. Someday, a few of them may look back and credit you with the encouragement that inspired their first stories and books. 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Diana, I am passionate that all creative work has to be from the heart, and I was over the moon that the mention of this made such an impact on the students! 😀 They were a wonderful group of writers, brimming with ideas and originality … I hope my words of encouragement and advice will carry some onwards with their writing and stories! Afterwards one girl was intent on turning her short story into a novel, which is wonderful! I’d been a bit nervous the weeks before the visit and realised preparation was key to overcoming this … the day itself I was relaxed and excited … the afternoon just flew by! Ps. Welcome back to the world of blogging and I hope you had a relaxing and peaceful break! ❤️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Carol! 😀 The afternoon flew by and it was wonderful to see how much they took away from the talk and also to listen and chat to them about their own projects!! Original and exciting ideas plentiful! Anything is possible and I think they really sense this!

  5. Christy B says:

    Grammarly and the online thesaurus are also my go-to’s 😉 Your talk is great – so no wonder they gave such a lovely bouquet of flowers to you! Keep going – we’re cheering you on!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Ahh..thank you so much, Christy!! 😀😀 So that’s your loud cheers I can hear! 😀 I tried to mix the inspirational with the practical in the talk, hence naming some programs etc … I thought they’d particularly relate to this! Oh, I’m not stopping….just trying to get a breath in now and then! Happy Weekend, my friend! ❤️🌺🌻

  6. Julie Holmes, author says:

    This is excellent! I suspect your audience made copious notes. It’s so important, I think, for young writers to hear from an author who has learned through the years some of the best things to remember when writing, especially write from the heart. I’m sure you inspired them (I’m inspired by your presentation :D) Well done! See, not so scary 😉

    • Annika Perry says:

      Hehe…not so scary at all…just the thought of it now and then was very scary!! 😀😀 I loved it and am so happy you also found parts of the talk inspiring Julie, that means a lot! Some of the older students did take lots of notes and I couldn’t believe how much they took on board and later how in-depth questions they put to me! Thank you so much for reading and your lovely comment. When is your presentation? Are you all set for it? Are you scared? You’ll do brilliantly!! Happy Weekend! Any chance of gardening?? 🌺🌻

  7. Mahesh Nair says:

    Hi Annika: this is a wonderful post. I particularly admire the importance of “showing” without overdoing it. Also, narrative summary can come between scenes of imagery to slow things down. Writing is indeed a beautiful art where balance of elements is crucial. Thanks.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Mahesh, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment…you obviously understand writing very well. I agree it is so much a matter of balance, the ability to slow down as fast pace throughout is tiresome for the reader and writer. I love showing through my words, but at the same time realising there are times a bit of telling is necessary! It is a beautiful art and I couldn’t imagine being without it!

      • Mahesh Nair says:

        Very true. And I simply loved your post, Annika. Many takeaways from it. Reminded me of my stint with NYU where I studied fiction. Look forward to more posts from you. Good day 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Pam! 😀❤️ They seemed to be buzzing with ideas afterwards and took on board a lot of the talk I felt and also it was interesting to chat to them about their own projects, giving guidance I hope! I could see some future published writers there! I wanted to leave a gift of some kind and luckily a fellow blogger suggested pens or pencils with my name on them … thank goodness for the internet. Within an hour I had some ordered and delivered the next day … I was so pleased how these look and write! Wishing you a very happy Weekend, my friend! 🌺🌻

  8. Tiny says:

    Wonderful talk Annika! It is so honest about the work involved, the pitfalls etc., yet encouraging with positive reinforcement knitted in all the way. They were lucky to have you ❤

    • Annika Perry says:

      Ahh…thank you so much for your kind words, Tiny! ❤️ It was an honour to be there and have the opportunity to chat to them and I did not want to be negative or down about writing … they will find out the hardships along the way, no point in highlighting these. As it is, I honestly love writing so the speech came direct from my heart! 😀

    • Annika Perry says:

      Jan, it was an amazing experience and just after I’d accepted their request for an author visit I went into a mild state of panic but I realised preparation, as always, was the key! I’m so glad I went, they were all wonderful and I feel ready to take on such events in the future! Oh yes, the flowers were a wonderful surprise and still blooming well! 😀🌺

    • Annika Perry says:

      Barbara, thank you so much – I’m just about coming down after the afternoon at the school! I’m so happy if my passion for writing came across in the talk; I really want to inspire them to love the art of crafting with words! Oh, I’m not stopping …

  9. restlessjo says:

    You have such an ability to get to the heart of a thing and to hold one’s attention, Annika. It amazes me when you say it ‘just comes’ once you get your first line. I also think it’s important to start right, but my writing bumps and grinds along. 🙂 🙂 It’s a God given talent you have.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Bless you, Jo for your wonderful comment …my mother is the only other person who’s said that ‘it’s a God given talent’ – I’m so touched you said this too. I always feel there comes responsibility in that case… As for the talk, I wanted to make it interesting and able to hold their interest.

      Your writing on your blog flows beautifully, taking me along on your walk, creating images of the stories you tell along the way, recalling historical facts with interest and intrigue … it definitely never feels like it bumps along – or do you feel this when writing fiction? Everyone is so different as regards writing.

      • restlessjo says:

        I’ve not attempted fiction since school days, Annika. 🙂 🙂 The bumps are largely interruptions, I think. A certain person being desperate for a cuppa or fish and chips. You know how it is. 🙂

        • Annika Perry says:

          Oh yes … I sure do!! 😃 Then when my son is back from school he either wants to be left totally alone, or stops by for a long chat – as he’s a teenager I grab the latter happily when offered, leaving everything else!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Jacqui … a brilliant summary of all my points!! 😀 I was trying to weave between these through the talk. The feedback from the students was very positive and a group of five are now sorted to start their novel and an 11-year-old girl has been inspired to write a book based on her short story following my visit! Amazing!

  10. jjspina says:

    How nice that they gave you flowers! Lovely! You write eloquently, Annika! The kids must have be in awe of you with that beautiful speech! You surely inspired many of them to write and pursue their dreams.
    Isn’t it wonderful to see children excited about doing something like writing. It will open their worlds to things they could never have imagined before once they put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards.

    Love the pens! Congratulations on your successful day! 🤗 💕

    • Annika Perry says:

      Janice, the flowers were a wonderful surprise – I was dumb-struck – not a good idea for a writer to be grasping for words! 😀😃 Thank you so much for your kind words about my writing and it was wonderful to listen to all their amazing ideas and brimming with questions. Afterwards, I heard from the teacher how some of them had been inspired and were starting on new projects, including one young girl keen to write a novel.They all loved the pens and luckily I was reminded to give them out as I was so caught up with chatting with the students I almost forgot them! Once again, warmest thanks for your lovely comment! 😀❤️

      • jjspina says:

        Such a wonderful experience! It will stay with you always! Congrats!

        I went to my daughter’s school last year and spend a couple of hours or so with her fifth grade. I read a little of my MG book 1 of Davey & Derek to them and did a fun activity making sentences with students coming up with words and running up to the line to make a sentence. They had a wonderful time and so did I! A few of these students told me afterwards that they want to be authors just like me. How sweet these kids are. I even reached a hard to reach student who never participated in anything all year. My daughter was amazed that he actually took part in the sentence game. I was thrilled to see him excited to do that. If we can influence one student in that way we are successful! Don’t you think? 🤗 😘 💕 💐 I didn’t receive any flowers but I did left the first two books in the series with the two fifth grade classes. My daughter told me later that some of the kids read them and wanted more to read. What an exciting thing to hear – music to a writer’s ears! LOL!

        • Annika Perry says:

          Janice, wow!! Thank you so much for writing about your day at your daughter’s school! What struck me most is the young chap who interacted with the game … this could be life-changing of him and you helped bring it about! Wow!! Wonderful also to hear the students are keen to read more by you … yippee!! Way to go!!! 😀🌺🌻

  11. Davy D says:

    Brilliant Annika and I had no doubts you would do a great job. There are now young authors who have been inspired to follow their dreams and you are inspiring some poets as well 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much for your vote of confidence, Davy! 😀 I think I would much rather do this kind of talk than a radio show for two hours!! Even the thought of talking on radio terrifies me although it has been suggested I approach the local station for an author interview.

      I had fantastic feedback from the students and one younger pupil has started a novel and a chat with five helped them sort out how to approach a collaboration for their book. Inspiring poets..??

      • Davy D says:

        The two hour show was a one off Annika (thank heavens). Most weeks the slot is 15 minutes but you do get more used to it.

        I think you would enjoy the author interview, as after a short while you forget about being in a studio.

        I have just started your book and it is bringing many thoughts about future poems, so thank you.

          • Davy D says:

            I am Annika. It is funny, for years I used to carry my thoughts round in my head. Now I have loads of notebooks scattered everywhere. I used to just forget thoughts. Now it is where I have left the notebooks lol 🙂
            PS. You will be great on the radio 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Dorothea, it’s never too late to start writing and I hope you give it a go!!😀 your writing flows on your blog, it’s just a matter of turning that into fiction and you have so many experiences to draw on ..lgood luck and do let me know if you start! The pens were so welcome and I hope it inspires them to continue with their work. Thank you so much for your comment!

  12. Janice says:

    This is a wonderful presentation Annika…informative and so encouraging. The students were so fortunate to hear you and ask questions. And I personally enjoyed learning more about your writing journey…both your talent and enthusiasm shine through!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Janice, thank you so much for your lovely comment- that means a lot to me 😀🌺 I wanted to bring my personal writing journey and experience to the students and I’m so happy my enthusiasm and love for writing shines out! So happy you enjoyed this post!

  13. the incurable dreamer says:

    Aww, Annika. It warms my heart that they gave you such lovely and thoughtful gifts; all very deserved after being such an inspiration to them. I wish I would have had the opportunity to learn from someone like you when I was in school, would have been invaluable to me. But never too late to learn, and here I am learning from the best! You are amazing, Annika!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Tanya, a big hug of thanks for your sweet kind comment!! ❤️ The response from the students was wonderful and I know from their teacher that many have been inspired to try new things, eg writing a novel!! That just makes my heart shine, amazing to know my words have touched and affected others, even happier to know one of those people is you, Tanya! I can just say likewise! Take care now, hugs xxxx

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much! 😀 The week before I was very nervous but when it was delayed because of the snow and school closures I suddenly calmed down. Also the students were lovely and welcoming – I couldn’t have asked for a better start!

  14. Curt Mekemson says:

    Very well done, Annika. You captured much of the essence of what it means to be a writer. The kids were lucky to have you there, both for inspiration and practical suggestions. I’ll bet that more invitations will be coming. 🙂 –Curt

    • Annika Perry says:

      Hehe!! 😀 That’s the sound of hysterical laughter! I would love to do school visits – and loved this one – it’s more a matter of psyching myself up for them! Curt, thank you so much for your kind words – it was a mutually inspiring event; their energy, fresh vivid ideas, and searching questions were enlightening!

  15. quirkywritingcorner says:

    Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    Love this post! I’ve started writing short stories also, using my book ideas for them. At first I was reluctant, but the one I did sold so well at the book sale that I’m now eagerly writing them. I also have a children’s book that needs finished. Right now I’m frustrated with the story so I’m reading my emails! ~ Connie

    • Annika Perry says:

      Connie, thank you so much for the reblog! 😀 I’m so excited and happy for you and your writing and your success … that is brilliant! It’s an amazing feeling when the writing flows! How wonderful that you have also written a children’s book … it will come to you in how to finish it, cleaning and walking are great ways I’ve found to find inspiration and ideas! Good luck with all your projects and I’m happy you got a chance to look at your emails and find my post! 😀🌺

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Laura – as you can imagine I worked hard in the talk and to tweak it just right! 😀 ahhh….thank you so much…it was hugely enjoyable being ‘Inspiring Author’ and made a change from pulling my hair out Author, going slightly crazy writer!! 😀😀

  16. Baydreamer says:

    What a fabulous speech, Annika, and I’m so glad this event was more than successful for you but also for the students. How exciting to learn all the information you shared with them, and I learned some things, too. 🙂 Those pens are a touching and beautiful gift. So happy you were given this opportunity. Congratulations, my friend. ❤🎉❤🎉

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Lauren!! 😃❤️ It was an incredible afternoon for me and the students seemed very positive with the visit – fired up with questions and keen for me to see and chat about their work – there just wasn’t time to see them all alas! I’m so glad if you learned some things too … I always read articles like this and have picked up so much advice and information over the years here on WP – it’s been a wonderful support. Happy Writing. Hugs xxxx

  17. Mae Clair says:

    That was a wonderful speech you prepared, Annika, As someone who was always interested in writing from a very young age, I took every opportunity I could to listen to adults who could offer advice. I’m sure the young writers you spoke too took away a lot from your presentation. And…P.S….the pens are awesome!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Mae, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and I’m so happy that you think the pens are awesome! 😀😀 I was very happy with their appearance and way they write! I think it’s great that you were always keen to listen to writers even as young and it’s reassuring to me how helpful you found their visits!

  18. Libby Sommer says:

    wow. that’s amazing Annika. you are so generous with your sharing. so interesting to read your presentation. excellent. so well written and so thoughtful and so true. what do you think about what people say about being either a short story writer or a novelist – one can only shine in one form or the other? interesting to know you’ve written a couple of childrens’ books too. how have they been received in the marketplace? hope you don’t mind me asking these questions but we seem to be on the same creative path 😉

    • Annika Perry says:

      Libby, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and it’s wonderful to discuss all things writerly with another author!! 😃 The talk shows my thoughts on aspects of writing and I wanted to share those here, as well as helping others who are new to giving talks, that they are possible, scary but only slightly so.

      I’ve never thought a writer can only write either novels or short stories!! My recent favourite writer, Rachel Joyce, proves this wonderfully and her short stories were part of the trend for more famous writers publishing short story collections!

      My children’s books are not as yet published so I have no idea how they will be received but trying to be positive. Looking on the bookshelves, advice given by agents and publishers, it sits in style and length of Judith Kerr picture books – longer than most these days but I think there is a market for it. Lovely to have a book & writing chat! xx

      • Libby Sommer says:

        thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Annika. i am new to giving talks, but don’t know if i can jump that hurdle. it was great to see how you structured and presented your thoughts on aspects of writing. well done you. xx

    • Annika Perry says:

      Bette, thank you so much and I’m touched … you are such a great educator yourself and you’ve been teaching me all the time I feel! ❤️ By posting my (rather long) talk here I hope it can help others in a similar situation and unsure of what to say and expect! Many thanks for sharing! Xxx

    • Clanmother says:

      I agree with Jennifer! You have inspired a new generation join the conversation, add their voice and share their experiences. The best of all outcomes. Congratulations!

      • Annika Perry says:

        Rebecca, wow! 😀❤️ Thank you so much for your insightful comment …I so wanted for them to learn to listen to their hearts, write freely without all the prescriptive advice that exists! Everyone’s voice deserves to be heard … afterwards I’ve learned of some of the new projects The students have been inspired to take up and I can’t stop smiling! Just wonderful!

  19. balroop2013 says:

    Annika, you have expressed your emotions so well…I can feel that sensation of spinning mind and joy that tugs at the heart after talking to students who look up to a writer with glowing eyes and receptive heart. I am delighted at the words you used to inspire the budding writers… ‘write from your heart!’ Heart carries all the nuances that inspire and guide!
    Thank you for sharing your journey to stardom with us as many pearls of wisdom are shining through it for the newbies, many tips to embellish our skills could be helpful. The best one is ‘be true to yourself’…which is again associated with our heart. Loved this talk and I am sure those who were listening admired you in their hearts. I also do.
    Wishing you great success dear friend. Stay blessed!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Dearest Balroop, wow! I feel blessed with your wonderful and insightful comment! Thank you so much! ❤️ In today’s world there is so much advice on what you have to do to succeed and this includes writing and in the midst the most important is lost, forgotten! This is what I tried to bring to the fore of my speech as you write so eloquently, the heart of writing! When the students said this as their main piece of advice to take away from the talk I was ready to punch the air with joy, tap dance! Yeah!! They got it and talking to them later they really took on board the freedom this gives them. They were bursting with ideas, inspired me with their gothic horror, psychological mystery and sweetest children’s book ideas!! Oh, it took me a day or two for my heart and mind to slow down from the excited spin! Happy Writing, my friend! 🌻🌺

  20. maryannniemczura says:

    Kudos to you again, Annika. What a boost to present your talk in a school and to interact with young and enthusiastic students. I will have to print out your speech since you have such good talking points for readers of all ages. The flowers are gorgeous. I have two similar ones still standing on the dining room table. Flowers are always appreciated, aren’t they. When people validate and value what you have to say, life is so worthwhile. Congratulations for a job well done. Again! You are great!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Mary Ann! 😀 The flowers were a wonderful surprise and I’m sure I stood there open-mouthed in shock! Never having done anything like this before I had no idea what to expect or the protocol. I’m happy you’ve got some similar bouquets- now I have to ask for what occasions?! I’m so chuffed you’re printing out the speech … you are such an amazing educator yourself so this is praise indeed. I know many, and you too, advised just to have some points noted down but for this time I felt reassured I could read from here. I looked up lots of times and went off topic a bit too, engaging with the class! The following day I was introducing myself to a top selling crime writer in my writing group and I could use a bit of what I said here in my ad hoc introduction! Phew! Many thanks again! Xxx

      • maryannniemczura says:

        This is amazing, simply amazing. I knew it would go well. I always wanted an audio book but who knows what the technology will be in the future? I heard live recordings by writers Thomas Mann and Günter Grass in grad school. Mann reads as if he is a grandfather reading a story aloud. Grass read too quickly for my tastes. People need time to process. My bouquets were from my birthday and still are lovely. I foresee many more such presentations. Soon it will be easier and you will not even need a script. It is more fun to simply talk to others and have the prepared script as a handout at the end. I am thrilled for you. I know you must be in seventh heaven too! Enjoy it up there in the clouds! Happy for you. ^__^

          • maryannniemczura says:

            Savor every moment! You will smile fondly from time to time as you sip tea or write the next book! Thank you for the birthday wishes! The family celebrated after the fact at a beautiful spa in Skaneateles on a gorgeous lake. May your fall back to earth be a gentle one! 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Carrie! 😀 It was a brilliant afternoon with them and I was amazed how much they took on board, and also at the standard of their work!! Their imaginations knows no bounds!

  21. Anonymous says:

    What a fantastic bouquet of flowers Annika, but just reward for your inspiring speech to all those students. They must have been very excited about meeting you – a published Author, and I believe that you must have left them better informed and even more keen to follow in your footsteps And to be given a pen too was the icing on the cake – something tangible to show their family and friends, and of course to write with!

    Well done.

    Mike

    • Annika Perry says:

      Mike, the pens seemed the best possible present for budding writers and they loved them – once I’d been reminded by the teacher to give them out!! I was so engrossed in chatting to the students I almost forgot! Who knows, one day a student from the talk will go on to be publishes – with their boundless enthusiasm I wouldn’t at all be surprised! The wonderful bouquet of flowers is still blooming beautifully – it was a fantastic feeling!!😀🌺

  22. Darlene says:

    Excellent, Annika. I am sure those students will never forget your visit and your wise words. What a great feeling to talk to future writers and share some of your wisdom. xo

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, Darlene! 😀 As a writer I don’t think I appreciated how much I’ve learnt over the years and now take for granted … it was wonderful to give the speech and then even more amazing to listen to their work, give some guidance. One group of five are writing a novel and I think I showed them a way forward!! Another eleven-year-old girl is now turning her story into a novel! A great day! Xxx

  23. Jill Weatherholt says:

    How fortunate the children were to hear such an inspiring speech, Annika! No doubt, your words prompted many to pick up a pen and paper. Writing from the heart was the best advice you could give! Well done, friend!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Jill, some writing advice is so prescriptive and laborious so I know I wanted to bring it back to the love of the craft, sharing what is in one’s heart -and I think that is the way to write ones best! I’ve had such positive feedback since the talk and many have been inspired to take up new projects and even a couple with writing a book! Amazing! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and support, Jill! 😀🌺

  24. Miss Gentileschi says:

    Oh! I am so happy that your talk was everything you have hoped for, Annika! Your speech is everything a speech should be! Inspirational and sharing enough but not too many details of the secret of your trade. I´m sure those young minds were spinning after it and I imagine all those faces looking up at you or writing down every word you spoke. The pens are such a lovely gift – I know if I were one of those students, I would have pressed it to my heart and thought: I want to be a writer just like Annika! ❤ xxx

    • Annika Perry says:

      Bless you, Sarah for your wonderful comment … your last sentence has me in tears of joy! 😀❤️ They adored the pens, and luckily the teacher reminded me as I was so wrapped up in my discussions with them that I’d totally forgotten about the pens and they were rushing off to catch their buses. Phew! I’m glad you found the speech balanced … I know there was a lot of practical advice but also inspirational tips for writings! I couldn’t believe how much they remembered in the discussion afterwards and I gave the teacher a few copies of the speech for which she seemed most thankful – I thought she might want to go through some of the points at a slower speed, with examples etc. My mind was spinning afterwards … came away with my mind a whirl of horror/gothic, cute children’s book, split personality mystery amongst some of their myriad of ideas!

  25. Iris@poetsmith says:

    Such a lovely and inspiring read, Annika! What a wonderful time the children must have had and your encouragement to them… really beautiful and motivational. I’m so happy for you and keep inspiring! ⚘ ♥️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Warmest thanks, Iris! 😀 It’s odd as before this talk I never imagined I’d be out there inspiring young people. They were so keen and full of enthusiasm that I came away inspired! I had a brilliant uplifting time. It feels amazing! ❤️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Brigid! 😀I worked hard on the speech to try and pitch it at the right level and include as much inspirational and practical advice as possible without being laborious. They seem to have been fired up afterwards with lots of new projects planned – just wonderful!

  26. Khaya Ronkainen says:

    Wow, what an inspiring speech! School talks are fun, and a great way to engage young minds. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Annika!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Khaya, thank you so much…I had a wonderful time and just wished time hadn’t flown by so quick! 😀 Since my visit I heard one 11-Year-old girl has been inspired to turn her story into a novel! Wow..makes me feel all tingly!

  27. PeterR says:

    What is the phrase,Annika? Ah, yes; “That Rocks”.

    An inspirational speech, and I’m not surprised it went down well. I’m sure there will be many ideas spinning about in those young heads, and who knows what will spin out into the world.

    I can see the day when a famous author will say “When I was at school, Annika Perry gave a talk, and it changed my life”

    • Annika Perry says:

      Ahh…thank you so much, Peter!! 😀😀 The feedback from the school was excellent and the students were very inspired and a young girl is starting her first novel as a result!! Amazing to hear and who knows where it will lead! Theirs were not the only heads spinning by the end of the afternoon…my mind was a buzz and I felt a renewal of creative energy from these students as they were absolutely brimming with enthusiasm!

  28. delphini510 says:

    Wow Annika, what a wonderful bouquet of flowers they gave you. No wonder you felt like a film star……or a treasured authour.😊 .
    I love your clear and inspiring speech. You have pitched it so right, not talking above the pupils head nor making it childish. Respecting their intelligence and understanding. I find your
    words flow like a fresh spring water; encouraging and creating more love for their projects. Even love for it.
    Congratulations Annika and the pens are a brilliant present.
    miriam 🦋❤️

    • Annika Perry says:

      Miriam, the flowers were an amazing surprise and yes, I did feel like a ‘treasured author’!!

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my speech- I worked hard to try and pitch it right, keeping in mind my audience all the time. It is a large age gap between the youngest and oldest so I wanted to put in details for all! Their enthusiasm and love for the craft of writing was exhilarating and infectious … I came away enthused. The pens were happily received and luckily the teacher reminded me at the end as I was so carried chatting away to the students I forgot!

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