THE GIFT WITHIN Workshop at Omni Middle School

Interview with WordHustler…

Inside the Writer’s Heart: Capturing Creative Passion with Author Corin Wiser

by awalls

Who is more passionate than a mother about her children? Only a mother who is also a writer! Meet Corin Wiser, mother, wife, and successful author of the book Matters of the Heart: A Guide to Living and Loving Your Teen Years. As Corin puts it, her book “offers simple and straightforward tools to help the reader connect with her inner voice, or ‘internal guidance system,’ and to overcome negative influences on the way to reaching her full potential.”

Well, it’s definitely working. After publishing her book, Corin has seen it snapped up by mothers and daughters everywhere! A series of workshops have sprung up to accompany the book, and it’s even been embraced as required reading in some forward-thinking schools! Not bad for a mama with something to say, huh?

WordHustler sat down with Corin to get her opinion on what to do when the drive to write overtakes you, how to market yourself as a new author, and why sometimes breakfast for dinner is the best solution. Read on to find out more about this amazing mother/writer! Also, stay tuned – at end of the interview if you answer a fabulous trivia question correctly, you could win a FREE copy of Corin’s book!

WordHustler: You have a background as a speaker and have your Masters in Education- what made you decide you HAD to write this book?

Corin Wiser: That’s precisely how I felt – I felt that I HAD to write this book. A few years ago, I was drawn to my old journals, journals that I’d kept since I was nine years old. I sat on my bedroom floor for two days and just read, reconnecting with my younger self. What I discovered in those journals was a young adolescent who had a pretty good childhood, but who also experienced self-doubt and insecurity, feelings of uncertainty and insignificance, and plenty of unanswered questions and regrettable mistakes. Looking back, I wish I’d had a roadmap – a guidebook – to help me discover and focus on the things that really mattered to me, and to help me develop the strength and courage to live by those things.

As the mother of three daughters, I realized that I had a responsibility to help them on their own imminent journey through the challenging teenage years. And so I began writing what was originally intended as a book for my three daughters, Rebecca and Leah (12 ½ year-old twins) and 8 ½ year-old Hannah. Several months into my writing, I realized that I simply had to share my message with as many teen girls as possible, and that realization fueled my passion even further! I felt inspired and “guided” in my writing, and I loved every minute of it! The result was Matters of the Heart: A Guide to Living and Loving Your Teen Years.

Looking back now, I can clearly see what was taking place. I believe that we all have a deep-rooted need to contribute and to leave the world a better place than we found it. Some of us become aware of this need and live a life filled with meaning and purpose. Some of us go through life searching and searching, not really understanding why we don’t feel fulfilled. But the moment we connect with this need and commit to contributing to others, we feel purposeful and joyful, even when things don’t go our way. And that’s what writing Matters of the Heart became for me: my purpose and my contribution.

WH: How long did it take you to write this book? Then how long until you decided to publish it?

CW: I’ll never forget the day I started to write… I honestly had no idea that what I was writing would eventually become a book, and that I would publish it! I just started writing and, as strange as it sounds, the words literally began to flow through me. I became so immersed in my writing that I had time for very little else. I took my daughters to school, came back home, and did nothing but write until it was time to pick them up from school. I skipped meals – eating them and preparing them (thank goodness my family had grown accustomed to eating breakfast for dinner!), and I sometimes went days without speaking to close friends and family. I just wrote – six days a week.  At that pace, I was able to complete the book in about five months.

Then it was time to edit… My husband is an amazing editor, and he was committed to helping me get my message out there. After he had edited the book, I sent the manuscript to Joyce Sweeney, an acclaimed author and editor. Joyce was tremendously helpful in pointing out things that my husband and I had overlooked. Once the final edits were complete, I sent the manuscript to the publishing firm that, from day one, I had envisioned publishing my book. I had seen it in my mind’s eye, and I was absolutely certain they would publish Matters of the Heart, so when I received their very polite rejection letter several months later, I was absolutely crushed! I consulted with a friend of mine, a successful author who had become my mentor, and discussed the self-publishing option. And the rest is history!

WH: Do you see this book as part of a series? Are you interested in bringing this message to different groups like teenage boys, etc?

CW: Even as I was writing Matters of the Heart, I knew that my next book would be written from the perspective of Nicki, the book’s fictional teenage character. You know, it’s amazing to me that any time I speak to an audience of teen girls, they always ask about Nicki. They want to know whether she’s real or fictional. I think my audience connects better with the book’s message when it’s presented from the perspective of a teen girl. I’d love for Nicki to “write” the next book, but she hasn’t started that one yet! I’ve been asked by a number of people to write a Matters of the Heart book for teenage boys, and while I know that boys would benefit tremendously from the book’s message, I’m not sure I’m the right messenger. Put it this way, I’ve been blessed with three daughters for a reason – I was meant to write a book for teen girls!

WH: What for you is the most challenging part of writing a book for teens? Convincing prose? Educating without talking down to kids? Etc?

CW: Matters of the Heart was initially intended for my three daughters, as a guidebook for them, and so my voice was the voice of a mother offering advice to her daughters. Once I made the decision to share this book with as many teen girls as possible, I became more aware of the importance of not speaking down to my audience – of speaking from a place of honesty and integrity, without sounding too preachy. After all, I wanted my message not only to be read but to be heard.

What’s interesting is that I think I was able to accomplish that by presenting two distinct voices in my book – mine and Nicki’s. Mine is the voice of the caring, loving adult who made her share of mistakes as a teen. Nicki’s is the voice of a 16-year-old girl who openly shares her struggles but who is still a good role model – someone the readers can learn from.  Incorporating Nicki helped me to create a balance between the “motherly” voice and the teen voice with which teen girls can easily relate.

But the book was not intended to “sound” like the teenage girls portrayed in the media. I wanted to speak to teen girls based on who they can become, not on how they’re perceived by the media. And keeping it real (literally) is what I think allowed me to create more convincing prose: For the most part, every story in the book is a true story – something I experienced first-hand (or someone close to me experienced first-hand).

WH: You are doing a fantastic job of marketing yourself and your book since self-publishing it last year, especially in conjunction with all the workshops you teach. What advice do you have for other writers out there who are looking to market themselves?

CW: Networking is a must. Being out there in the community, getting involved with groups that share similar interests, and volunteering to speak at a variety of events is always helpful. You’ll never know with whom you’ll eventually connect. Just recently, my twin daughters were asked to speak to a group of women about the work they’re doing for the Give a Girl a Chance organization. I was there to hear my daughters speak, and at some point someone mentioned that I had written a book for teen girls. After the talk, a woman walked up to me and took down my contact information. She was the very same person who put me in touch with WordHustler!

I’ve discovered that teens benefit greatly from reading my book within a group setting, where topics can be discussed and insights shared. Consequently, I’ve begun conducting as many workshops as possible for schools and mother-daughter groups. Actually, doing these workshops is really what it’s about for me. I love seeing someone’s face light up when they have an “aha” experience! Last year, through The Ophelia Project, I gave a talk at several Tampa schools. One of these schools decided to incorporate Matters of the Heart into their middle school curriculum this Fall.

Another school, in Puerto Rico, made my book required summer reading for their middle school girls. I recently had an opportunity to visit with these girls and to discuss, in a group setting, what they gained from reading the book. It was an awesome experience for me! My dream is to continue marketing the book through my workshops so that it’s read by girls in a group setting and by mother-daughter groups all around the country!

WH: What are a few of your favorite books out there today (besides your own, of course!)?

CW: I love to read – and I frequently find myself reading several books at a time. I just finished reading The Rabbi and the CEO, by Thomas D. Zweifel, Ph.D. and Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin, an excellent book on leadership. I’m also re-reading The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. And I’ll never get tired of reading Og Mandino’s books.

WH: What is your preferred writing method? Do you have a certain writing spot/technique?

CW: I rely quite a bit on my laptop (a gift from my husband to encourage my writing!) and I do best when I can write in a peaceful, natural setting with few outside distractions. What’s interesting, though (and I’m sure other writers have experienced this) is that most of my ideas come to me in the middle of the night. When I wrote Matters of the Heart, I kept a journal on my nightstand and jotted down ideas that came to me during the night. It’s as though my mind takes a break at night, allowing my more creative nature to emerge. I love the steady flow of ideas, and I welcome it, even if it means not sleeping very much!

WH: What are three things you’d advise aspiring writers to do?

CW: First, I’d advise them to just start writing. Don’t postpone writing for a calmer or more “inspired” day. It’s easy to put things off; but if this is your passion, then go for it now! I would also encourage them to connect with other successful writers – learn from them! Ask about and read about their trials and errors; grab what speaks to you and let go of what doesn’t. And following this, I would encourage writers to discover and stay connected with their own unique voice, especially when writing a book that reveals elements of their own personal lives. Although Matters of the Heart is a self-help book written for teen girls, with a fictional teen character, the book is an accurate reflection of who I am, of my values, and of my vision for teen girls.

WH: What are three things you’d advise aspiring writers to NEVER do?

CW: Never force the writing process. Let it flow and come from a place of inspiration. Although I believe that one should not wait for conditions to be perfect before beginning to write, I also believe that it’s important not to force the process. Be committed to writing regularly and consistently but also know that there will be days, months, or even years where you may need to take a break from your writing. Never be afraid to express through your writing what feels right to you, even if you think it won’t have a mass appeal. And finally – and I know it’s been said before by other authors, but I’ll say it again – never, never, never give up. No matter what.

WH: Do you think WordHustler is a valuable resource in helping writers successfully get their work out there, professionally and effectively?

CW: Absolutely. I only wish WordHustler had been around to guide me on my journey. As a first-time published author, a true novice, I could certainly have used your help! Yes, I was committed to getting my book published, but WordHustler’s resources and support would certainly have made the process smoother and more effective. Maybe my next book?

Mothers and Daughters, Connecting Here and Now

A MUST watch video for girls all ages


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My Visit To Puerto Rico

With an amazing group of girls from Saint John's School

With an amazing group of girls from Saint John's School

I just came back from visiting two schools in San Juan, Puerto Rico – Baldwin School and Saint John’s School – and giving a total of seven workshops! It was amazing, intense, exhilarating and so much fun! I met with a total of about 200 girls and they all had something important to share, something deep and inspiring, and at least during our short time together, they gave themselves the gift of connecting with their inner voice. Let me share a True Story with you.

During my workshops, the first thing we always talk about is the inner voice and how it speaks to us, sometimes loud and clear and sometimes softly and not so clearly. I asked if anyone had heard their inner voice, and if so, whether they had listened or turned it off. Immediately one girl shared a story, and it went something like this…

“I was at a friends house and we were talking about another friend of ours who wasn’t there. We were talking a lot. We were gossiping and when I got home, I felt terrible because a lot of what we had said and what I agreed with about this friend of mine wasn’t true. I felt really bad. I told my mom and she said that I had to decide what I was going to do. The next day I went up to the girl whose house I had been at and told her that I regretted all that I had said, and that it simply was not true.”

So far so good, right? I congratulated this girl for sharing this story with us and for not only listening to her inner voice but allowing her courage muscle to grow by confronting her friend with the truth. All the other girls in the workshop seemed very supportive as well and congratulated her for doing what seemed like the right thing, but this girl still did not seem happy. I asked her why and this is what she said….

“I still feel bad. I think I need to tell my friend, the one I spoke negatively about, what I did and apologize to her. But I’m scared she will be upset.”

Again, her inner voice was speaking loudly, telling her that there was still unfinished business and there was more to do. I don’t know whether she will tell her friend the truth but in that moment, I felt so proud of her for sharing this story with us, and for hopefully inspiring others to also listen and pay close attention to the inner voice – it always wants to be heard. When the workshop was over, I took a few minutes to sign books. When this girl came up to me, I said, “For you, I will write something different in your Matters of the Heart book…” I wrote…“Continue listening to your inner voice.”

I hope she does, and I hope all the girls I was so fortunate to meet with will also commit themselves to listening and honoring their inner voice. It’s not an easy task, trust me, I know… But ultimately, if we do listen, we will feel empowered, allow our courage muscle to grow and live a life reflective of who we really are and of what matters most…

Matters of the Heart Testimonials

Every teenage girl should read this book. It really spells out the issues teen girls face and offers practical advice, hope and inspiration on how to get the most out of those tough teen years and prepare for a great life ahead. I love the way the chapters are organized, how one girl’s story is woven into the text and most of all I love the exercises that are offered to help girls know themselves, sort their values and make informed decisions about the life they want to lead. Never preachy, always direct and informative. Parents, buy it for your kids…kids, buy it for yourself!

Joyce Sweeney, author, “Picture Book Lover”

“Corin Wiser has her finger on the pulse of teen girls. Read her book along with your daughter and you will create bonds or transcend the bond that you already have. Motherhood is very important to Corin and it is obvious after hearing her speak that she is passionate about the physical, social, and emotional wellbeing of all girls.”

Jodi Knowles, MPH, Director of Training, The Ophelia Project & Boys Initiative-Tampa Bay (OPBI)

Through her book, Corin Wiser author of Matters of the Heart: A guide to living and loving your teen years had the wisdom and the passion to produce an educational and integrated approach that provides our teenage girls with the tools needed for self discovery and empowerment. As a school counselor of an all girls’ high school, I was delighted to find a resource that has creative exercises and discussion topics that encourage my students to recognize their talents, gifts, love for themselves and others. What an amazing way to provide our teenage girls with the foundation they will need to deal with the challenges they will face in the world we live in.

Debra S Lubrano, Guidance Department for Academy of Holy Names

There are numerous self-help books on the market, and a surprising number of them are for teens and young adults. Most have a way of telling you what to do to improve your life. MATTERS OF THE HEART: A guide to living and loving your teen years, however, doesn’t tell you how to live your life. Instead, author Corin Wiser offers practical tips, real-life examples, and ideas to help you brainstorm so that you can live the type of life that you want to lead.

The book covers several issues, all of them important, that deal with things that truly matter in life: you, your thoughts and feelings, your words and choices, your family and friends, your body, and even the world around you. MATTERS OF THE HEART is interactive, with lists, snippets of true stories, and even journal space and fill-in-the-blank areas that the reader can use to make notes or jot down important points. This isn’t a book geared towards giving you a perfect life. In fact, one of the strongest points of MATTERS OF THE HEART is that perfection is a goal that can never be attained. But with the right attitudes, goals, and mindset, teens really can transition into adulthood with confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect. If you’re the parent of a teen or pre-teen, or even know one who could benefit from a little nudge during the difficult time of life known as adolescence, hand them a copy of MATTERS OF THE HEART. Although the “feel” of the book definitely seems geared toward girls, I believe that guys, too, would benefit from the useful information inside this book.
Jennifer Wardrip,

This is a must read book for teenage girls. Readers get to know themselves better as they work through “ten matters” (such as “You Matter,” “Words Matter,” and so on) to help them become better individuals. This book will affect everyone differently, but is helpful to all. It has the potential to be life-changing for all readers. It also provides an excellent avenue for communication between teenagers and adults. It gives girls tools that may help them through and/or get out of difficult situations. Highly recommended for book clubs for girls (especially middle school clubs, but high school ones work very well too). This book was well received by my high school book club.

Valerie DiLorenza, Media Specialist, Naugatuck High School, CT.

Dear Ms. Wiser,
My name is Emma and I’m a student in the Naugatuck High School book club which is reading your book Matters of the Heart, and Mrs. DiLorenzo has encouraged me to write to you with my comments and thoughts. First of all, I would like to say I have very much enjoyed what I’ve read so far. I think this is a wonderful book for young girls forming their self image to read and remember while going through the moments in life which will define them. One reference in chapter four (Words Matter) about Masaru Emoto’s water experiment particularly caught my attention… There are lots of ideas out there I must get to mulling over, thank you for contributing to the collection of authors who really make me think.

Finally a book that speaks to teenage girls at their level. A much needed guide in today’s world. The author really understands the challenges girls are faced with and offers them a very solid and excellent road map of self-discovery. I only wish this book had been written earlier and been available to my generation. Should be required reading for all teenage girls.

Tania K.

This book should be read by every teenage girl around the world. Its theme is universal. While growing up in South America, I wish I could have had this book to guide me during my teenage years. Although the book’s subject matter is profound, it’s written in a light-hearted manner. It is easy for teenage girls to understand the significance of the messages reflected throughout the book and to incorporate them into their daily lives. I also LOVED the fact that the reader “teenage girl” gets a chance to co-author her own book. I plan to give this book as a gift to all of the teenage girls that I know.

Ida A.

I am a mother of a tween girl and I was looking for all the help I could get. The cover was so warm and friendly that I decided to get this book. It was inciteful and put so many things in perspective. I immediately bought one for each of my 13 year old nieces for their birthdays. In fact, after I started reading the book I ran right over to my niece’s house and gave her the book rather than wait the few weeks until her birthday. The author really captures the essence of what it feels like to be a teenage girl and I wish I had this book when I was going through those tough years. A must read for moms and their teenage daughters.
Elise G., Boca Raton

Finally! A book that teen girls can really use to get in touch and stay in touch with who THEY are, instead of succumbing to powerful, outside influences which constantly bombard them with negative, unhealthy messages and role-models. This book not only gives girls ideas about how to navigate the difficult teen years, it enables them with the ability to explore who they are and identify what matters most to them personally. It offers tools for self discovery that builds self-esteem and assurance. A sure-fire way to avoid the pitfalls of peer pressure, this book is a treasure! A must read, particularly for young teens to establish their own beliefs and values, before making a lot of dumb mistakes! I bet every mother who reads this book wishes she had it when she was growing up. The best gift you can give to your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or special teenage girl!

Phyllis M

Although I am in my mid-20s, I have three younger teenage sisters who are currently facing the many challenges that I once dealt with when I was their age- boys, friends, school, alcohol, drugs etc. Nowadays, I believe the pressure and negative influences are even stronger than they were when I was in high school. I am so thankful to the author for writing this book. I think its a wonderful guide to these confusing years- and my sisters love it! They love that the book is interactive and allows them to jot down their thoughts as they read. I would recommend this book to any parent who is looking for a great way to reach out to their daughters or to anyone looking out for their younger sisters. It makes a great gift.

Michelle A.

Mothers and Daughters, Connecting Here and Now

Mothers and Daughters,

Connecting Here and Now…

With Corin Wiser, M.Ed.

Corin brings her experience as a mother of three daughters and as a child and adolescent mental health therapist to life as she reveals simple principles in a realistic, fun and empowering way. She has an uncompromising commitment to helping mothers and daughters strengthen their connection and deepen their understanding of one another. Most significantly, Corin believes that a strong mother-daughter connection empowers young women to better meet and overcome the unique challenges of the teen years.

At this seminar, mothers and daughters will:

  • Strengthen the bond and deepen the connection between mothers and daughters
  • Learn how past experiences are currently influencing their “mother-daughter” relationships
  • Identify new and powerful ways to connect and flourish
  • Understand the gifts inherently found in the mother-daughter connection (A challenge in a world in which the importance of this connection is minimized!)
  • Become aware of the multitude of conflicting messages from the media and learn to differentiate reality from myth
  • Identify the goals in their “mother-daughter” relationship
  • Leave feeling empowered, inspired and with a new-found appreciation for the mother-daughter bond!

This is a two hour workshop for moms and daughters who value the importance of having a healthy Mother -Daughter connection and are committed to strengthening this very special bond. This is also a workshop for mothers who desire to see their teen girls reach their full potential through the turbulent and often times painful teen years.

Giving Girls A Chance…

Universal Memory Bank…

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve written… I took the summer “off” to be with family and friends but summer is over and things are happening. Let me share a couple…

This fall, a wonderful private school in Tampa is implementing Matters of the Heart into their middle school curriculum. An amazing school in San Juan, Puerto Rico made Matters of the Heart required summer reading for their middle school girls and I will be visiting this school (and hopefully others as well) and Borders in San Juan in the beginning of October.

On another note, I want to share some other exciting news… Even though, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, newspapers often times depict what is wrong in the world, there are times when the news can be inspirational and create a stream of positive events. This past Sunday was one of those times…

As part of her bat mitzvah project, my daughter Leah took on an amazing program called “Give a Girl a Chance.” This program raises funds to help educate young women in Africa and offer them a way out of what often times are cruel and terribly depriving situations. Throughout a series of amazing events, Leah had the great opportunity and honor of being interviewed by a fabulous reporter from the Sun Sentinel. Although we thought the article would be “short” and published during the week-day, the article was actually very extensive and was published this past Sunday and on the front page of the local community section!!! It’s true that the article is great – it’s incredibly well written and it depicts Leah doing something wonderful for others. But what is truly phenomenal is the response this article has produced in just a few days. We have gotten emails, calls from “strangers,” orders online for the bracelets that Leah is selling to help raise funds, invitations to speak at local groups to help spread the word about “Give a Girl a Chance.” It’s all simply amazing but I’m not surprised. One positive action leads to another…

Imagine that our world, the universe for that matter, has a collective memory bank that stores all of your actions from the past, present and from the future. And what if these actions (whether positive or negative) had an impact on you and the well-bring of others – how would you conduct yourself? What actions would you be taking? You can take it a step further – what if your thoughts were also permanently recorded in this “universal memory bank” – what would your thoughts be? And as I presented in Thoughts Matter, your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings often times create your actions… What thoughts are you creating? How can you create more powerful thoughts, fueled with all that you want for yourself and for others? Let’s all commit ourselves to depositing empowering, life-affirming thoughts into our “Universal Memory Bank!”

And like we learned in “Our Choices Matter,” it’s all up to you…. As always….

Open Your Heart to What Really Matters ….

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