Giveaway: Use your words – a writing guide for mothers
When I had a baby and toddler—a baby who wanted nothing more than to squirm back into my soundproof uterus and a toddler who wanted nothing more than to live on a chugging, clanging steam train—I wondered, regularly, if simply remembering to floss my own teeth really counted as a sign of “coping well.”
Before children, I managed an herb shop and wrote for several regional magazines. Now, I was a stay at home mom, managing naps, deciphering poops and compulsively scribbling thoughts and observations on random scraps of paper. Recently, I found this note, from 2007, “Just went into Col’s room where he was supposed to be napping but was dismantling his shelves instead. He held up a board and said “Don’t let Rosie in! This is chokeable!”
It’s possible that I was a teensy bit depressed.
And, not surprisingly, it was writing that pulled me out of the trenches (or at least gave me something to do during nap time). I began writing a bi-monthly column just before Rose turned one, called Adventures in Motherhood, for my local newspaper (which, four years later, I still write). Dan would often ask, worried, “honey? You’re with the kids all day and then you write about them too?”
Giving my stories a voice frees me from being buried by them, helps me to unravel deeper meanings, and allows me to press pause on the fast-moving train that is our lives.
And today, I’m passing onto all you Mama writers, two opportunities to win a copy of Kate Hopper’s recently published book, use your words: a writing guide for mothers.
Kate Hopper teaches writing online and at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, Literary Mama, and The New York Times online. She is an editor at Literary Mama. For more information about Kate’s writing and classes, visit www.katehopper.com.
Use your words is a treasure for any mother who wants to write. Kate Hopper, who has taught writing classes for nearly a decade, guides her reader through topics such as Using humor as a tool, Writing the hard stuff, Keeping the momentum going, Publishing: from blogs to books. Each chapter contains practical tips, exercises and powerful writing examples from writers such as (my favorites) Beth Kephart, Catherine Newman and Anne Lamott.
Use your words meets you exactly where you are. If you’re just finding your voice and need help generating ideas and creating writerly habits; if you’ve published your work and want help refining and polishing; if you simply want to create some stories about life, now, that your kids can someday appreciate. There is something in this book for you.
To win a book:
1) Leave a comment on this post (okay, that was easy)
2) Write an essay (600 words or less) using this writing prompt:
Think of your child (or one of your children if you have more than one). Try to convey his personality by using dialogue, gestures, and facial features. Ground your writing in detail. It may help to think in terms of objects—what your child eats, what he likes to play with, his hobbies. What does her face look like when she is absorbed in a task? What does she look like when she doesn’t realize that you’re watching?
Note: Some of my students who have twins have found that they cannot write about one without writing about the other. If you have multiples and feel this way, go ahead and write them together in a scene. Think in terms of differences and similarities. When are they most alike, most different?
E-mail me your essay by May 3oth and I will choose my favorite, which will be passed onto Kate Hopper, along with the other winners from the use your words book tour. Kate will select a winner, whose essay will be published on Literary Mama, and who will also receive (in addition to the book), a 1-hour writing consultation with Kate via skype or phone.
Go forth and write!
WINNER of the book is # 18, Rachel: “OH! how exciting! I will probably have to buy the book even if I don’t win it! Next assignment… essay! =)” Rachel, send me your address and I’ll forward it to the publisher!
I am taking essays until Wed, May 30th!