I was contacted last month by publisher Viva Editions asking if I would be interested in reviewing (and giving away!) several of their books. I used to be a voracious reader and I'm working to put myself back into that category, so I was delighted to receive a package with several books. Each book looked wonderful, but I was particularly drawn to Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper. I am both a mother and a writer. Most of my writing occurs here on my blog, but I have secret dreams of one day writing a book. When I found out I was pregnant, I imagined that I would blog about motherhood and my baby, but I didn't realize how all-encompassing motherhood would be. I never set out to write a "mommy blog" but that's largely what this little space has become.
I certainly have room to improve my writing and this book is a huge step in that direction. While practice is crucial to enhancing one's writing skills, more formal training is valuable as well. Each chapter of Use Your Words includes several suggestions for writing exercises and I hope to share some of my attempts here so you can follow my journey through this book. I have quickly read through this book in the last few weeks, but look forward to going back through it and pausing to contemplate the passages and complete the writing exercises (Christmas break seems like the perfect opportunity to do this).
You may wonder why I didn't pace myself and complete the exercises during my first time through the book. The answer my surprise you: The book was just too entertaining to read slowly. Each chapter contains examples from a variety of mother authors. These examples - short essays or excerpts of longer works - are excellent, not only for portraying the writing strategies Hopper wants the reader to learn but also for pure reader pleasure. In fact, I would suggest that any mother read this book regardless of her (lack of ) writing aspiration because the passages are some of the best about motherhood that I have ever read. Who knows, you may even find yourself bitten by the writing bug.
Aside from the wonderful examples, there are two aspects of this book that I found refreshing. First, the book seeks to validate women who write about motherhood. The author directly addresses some of the negative stereotypes she's seen, in her own life and in society at large, regarding writing about motherhood. I loved hearing the message that my experiences as a mother are valid and worthy of being considered literature. Second, the book has a very encouraging tone. It does not assume that you have writing experience nor does it assume that only a few readers are truly capable of writing well. That said, it isn't a book for only the novice either. I believe seasoned writers and new writers alike can benefit from it.
You can get your own copy of Use Your Words on Viva Editions website. There is always free shipping on orders over $25, so you might as well check out the other books in their collection. Or enter to win one as part of my Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event.
As part of the Happy 1st Birthday, Baby! giveaway event,
enter to win a copy of Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers!
Giveaway runs November 25-Dec. 2. Enter here.
I received a copy of Use Your Words to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. Opinions are 100% my own. See Disclosure Policy.