Posts Tagged ‘ Use Your Words ’

Writing About Motherhood

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Funny thing about motherhood—we’re all having totally unique experiences doing the exact same thing. My post about the Time breastfeeding cover earlier today further highlights that often discordant commonality.

It’s a paradox that, to me, illuminates the compulsion many of us feel to read the experiences of other mothers and to get our own experiences down.

If you’re in the latter camp, do I have the book for you. Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers just came out last week. It’s by Kate Hopper, a writer and writing teacher with an MFA in creative writing, who specializes in helping moms write about motherhood. The book addresses various parts of the writing process (chapters include Getting Started, Using Humor as a Tool and Publishing: From Books to Blogs), with exercises and example essays from seasoned writers including Anne Lamott and Catherine Newman. It’s meant to be explored at your own pace; to be dipped in and out of as inspired. Smart, no?

Full disclosure: I agreed to feature Use Your Words because I love the topic and often get asked about it. After doing so, I happened to run into Kate at an event here in the Twin Cities. Turns out our families are rooted to the same small Minnesota town. We gabbed like long-lost cousins, but I have a feeling that’s just how it happens with Kate. Her writing knowledge and accessible nature mingle comfortably in the book.

Check out this realistic pep talk (excerpted):

“My hope is that you will get started on a number of pieces as you work your way through this book, and that when you finish it, you will have enough momentum to keep going. It’s wonderful if you can write a little bit each week, but I don’t believe you need to write every day to be a writer, and as a mother, I know that writing can be difficult to fit into your day. But as you begin this journey as a mother writer, think about when and where you can squeeze writing into your life. Maybe you have one hour every Friday morning. Maybe you have 20 minutes three times a week as you wait to pick up your children from preschool or soccer practice. If you work outside the home, maybe you can go somewhere quiet on your lunch break and write twice a week. Be realistic about planning your writing time and be flexible. If you miss a day or a week, don’t worry; there’s always tomorrow.”

In other words, you can do it. And Kate can help.

If you’ve ever wanted to write about the mothering experience, or if you already do and crave a little fresh insight to your craft, I highly recommend checking Use Your Words out. Also: I fully intend to post about a writing contest where you can win the book, and possibly a consult with Kate and publication at Literary Mama, but have to get a few things ironed out. Check back if that piques your interest.

Happy Friday, all!

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