Who said these words?
- Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins.
- I have a dream.
- I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.
- A democratic and free society… is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
- It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens.
- We take our stand for freedom.
(Scroll to the bottom to find the orators of these famous lines, and the year they were spoken.)
For most of us, at least one of these famous lines rings like a familiar bell, reverberating across time and space. Speeches like these are burned into our collective memory. They have the power to catalyze social change, inspire movements, and spark courage. Words that are written to be spoken aloud are charged with a particular power—crafted to come alive when delivered to an audience.
This month, dear writers, compose a speech of your own. Join WtW and the EMK Institute
in celebrating the power of the spoken word. Read the tips below and then submit a written and/or recorded entry.
Speech Writing Tips
How to Record and Submit an Audio File (optional)
- BEGIN WITH A PURPOSE. Before you start writing, ask yourself what it is you really want to communicate. What are you passionate about? What cause or position do you hope others will join you in promoting? What is the message you hope to convey, and why is it so important?
- IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE. Who are you speaking to? What you say in your speech will vary depending on whether your listeners are familiar with the topic, and aligned with your purpose already or fiercely against it.
- BE HUMAN. Your audience wants to connect with you, personally, and understand why the subject at hand is important to you. Consider telling a story, or sharing experiences and emotions that reflect your connection to the topic.
- WRITE THE WAY YOU TALK. Your speech need not be composed of perfect grammar and complete sentences. Your audience wants to hear your voice ring true.
- CONSIDER LITERARY DEVICES. Remember that all your favorite elements of creative writing are still in your toolbox, so use them! Great speech writers rely on devices such as alliteration and metaphor to make their words all the more memorable.
- CONSIDER REPETITION. Because your audience is hearing your words instead of reading them, repetition can serve as a powerful reminder of your message. Write with rhythm that catches the ear.
- READ ALOUD… OFTEN. Words make a different impression when spoken aloud. Make sure to read your speech aloud as you draft and revise.
- START WITH A BANG. We’ve all zoned out when listening to a hum-drum public speaker. Pique the interest of your audience early with a thought-provoking statement, anecdote, or question.
- CLOSE WITH A BANG. Rather than repeating your main point, build on the foundation you’ve already established, and end your speech with a call-to-action or a new idea that inspires listeners to join the cause.
- READ ALOUD… AGAIN. Make sure to read that final draft aloud, practicing with pauses, emphasis, and body language.
This month, we'll award a prize for the best spoken delivery as well as one for the best written speech. If you’d like to create an audio/video version, you may use any platform of your choice—simply copy the link within the text of your submission. Some options to consider:
Please note that these are public platforms and are not affiliated with WtW. If you need assistance getting started, please contact email@example.com
Who is Eligible?
Young writers ages 13-18
600 – 1,000 words
Best Written Entry: $100 (winning piece + author interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)
Best Audio Entry: $100 (winning piece + author interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)
Runner up, Written Entry: $50
Best Peer Review: $50 (reviewer interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?
Prizes: The winning entrants (one written and one audio) will receive $100; the runner-up for written and the best peer-reviewer will receive $50.
Professional Recognition: The winning entries, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.
Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday October 8th and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.
October 1: Competition Opens
October 8: Submit written draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)
October 12: Reviews returned to Writers
October 16: Final Submissions Due
October 26: Winners Announced
Our Novel Writing Competition opens Monday, November 5th.
Stay tuned for more details!
Famous Speech Lines
Edward M. Kennedy: August 11, 1980
Martin Luther King Jr.: August 28th, 1963
Malala Yousafzai: July 12, 2013
Nelson Mandela: April 20, 1964
Susan B. Anthony: 1873
Winston Churchill: October 5, 1938