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  • Writer's picturehelenryghpedersen

Dropping the inspiration b*mb

I did something today that I haven't done since leaving my job as a teacher six years ago...

I stood in front of a group of 10 -13 year olds and tried to impart some wisdom, tried to inspire them.

I did my first school visit as an author.

Now, I am not going to lie, when I was suddenly called up last week and asked to do an author talk as part of the local school's Book Week, I said yes straight away....and then immediately questioned that decision. Why? I was terrified. Let's just say that me and teaching didn't exactly see eye to eye.

As I planned my talk and my PowerPoint, I did have some flashbacks of lesson planning into the wee hours for them to fall on deaf ears, but I pulled up my big girl pants and swallowed my nerves. All I had to do was remember how inspired I was when we were lucky enough to have author's visit my school when I was younger.

True, it was possible that the story of my journey would fall on some deaf ears, but even if it inspired one child...then it is worth it.

So, how did it go?

Well, I don't know what I had been so worried about. My teacher training kicked in automatically as I went through my talk, getting the students involved and answering their questions. They did seem genuinely interested in my publishing journey.

I knew beforehand that this week these children would be sitting down to write their own stories, so I felt rather than just stand there and talk about myself for 30 minutes, I would try to give them some tips and advice when it comes to writing their own stories, especially for those who may find it challenging. So we went on a trip up story mountain and planned our "route" on a map using The Hobbit as an example. I wanted to try and show them, not only how we can split up the story into the three acts, or as we all learnt at school, a beginning, middle and an end, but also that if they get stuck when they are writing, they need only check back with their "map" to get them back on track.

I was also pleased to see their teachers making copious notes at this point of the presentation!

My first author visit to a school went much better than I could have expected as they all seemed to listen and genuinely care about what I was talking about and I spent the rest of the day on a cloud of adrenaline.

I wish them all the best with their books this week and hope that I was helpful in some way.

If you ever get the chance to do an author visit, I highly recommend that you do it. While it may seem scary, just remember you are inspiring the next generation of writers.

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