Use Your Words by Kate Hopper Review

Use Your Words by Kate Hopper.

Use Your Words by Kate Hopper.Use Your Words A Writing Guide For Mothers by Kate Hopper is a really good book for any mother who wants to learn how to write about her life and children.

Actually it is good for anyone who wants to learn to write. It is however, addressed to mothers, and is about writing about motherhood.

It doesn’t matter if you only want to write for yourself or for publication. If you have written before or never have. This book can teach you how to do it or how to do it better.

I liked it.

From the Press Release :

Award-Winning Writer Teaches Nuts and Bolts

of Writing Creative Non-fiction about Motherhood


USE YOUR WORDS: A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper is the first book to focus on the craft of writing using motherhood as the lens. According to an October 2011 article in Ad Age, there are 3.9 million mommy bloggers. Unlike other writing guides for mother writers that focus on journaling or how to fit writing into a busy life, USE YOUR WORDS is a writing workshop between covers. Each chapter contains a lecture, a published essay by a contributing writer, and exercises that will serve as jumping-off points for the readers’ own writing.

When award-winning writer Kate Hopper began writing about what she felt was the central experience of her life, motherhood, she found that some people weren’t taking her writing seriously. Through her years of blogging and teaching, Hopper discovered that mothers crafting memoirs and essays deal with issues of identity, loss and longing, neurosis and fear, ambivalence and joy. She found stories of transformation in how the authors see themselves in relation to the world in which they live.  As she says in her introduction, “Last time I checked this was the stuff of which real literature was made.”

Together, the chapters of USE YOUR WORDS teach the skills beginning mother writers as well as more advanced writers to hone their ability and turn their motherhood stories into art. Topics include:

  • an overview of creative nonfiction as a genre
  • the importance of using concrete details
  • character development
  • voice
  • humor
  • tense
  • writing the “hard stuff”
  • reflection and back-story
  • structure
  • revision
  • publishing

Essays and poems by a wide variety of mother writers including Cecelie S. Berry, Anne Greenwood Brown, Jill Chirstman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Chitra Divakaruni, Ona Gritz, Beth Kephart, and Catherine Newman illuminate Kate’s lectures, helping readers understand the art of creative nonfiction and to read and think like writers.

USE YOUR WORDS reflects Kate’s style as a teacher, guiding the reader in a straightforward, nurturing voice. As one student noted in a class evaluation: “Kate is a born writer and teacher, and her enthusiasm for essays about motherhood and for teaching the nuts and bolts of writing so that ordinary mothers have the tools to write their stories is a gift to the world. She is raising the value of motherhood in our society as she helps mothers build their confidence and strengthen their game as writers.”

Kate Hopper holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She teaches writing online and at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Kate has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her memoir, Small Continents, is about the power of stories and learning to live with uncertainty in the wake of her older daughter’s premature birth. Her other writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, The New York Times online and Literary Mama, where she is an editor.

For more information including an author interview visit Viva Editions.

Check out my reviews of other books published by Viva Editions including The Frugal Foodie Cookbook, Girlfriends Forever, The Gratitude Power Workbook, The Lazy Gourmet, and Lemons And Lavender.


  1. This sounds wonderful! I wish I had done more to chronicle my sons childhood. We have lots of pictures but a journal of some sort would have been nice.

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