Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Been There, Done That – June 2019

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In our "Been There, Done That" series, Literary Mama editors and readers share their experiences  at conferences, workshops, classes, writing festivals, and residencies. Christine Bernier Lienke reviews Kate Hopper's Motherhood & Words online course.


What program did you attend?

Kate Hopper's Motherhood & Words online course.

The course will be offered from September 18 to November 25, 2019.

2. Where was it and what was the time requirement?

Motherhood & Words is a 10-week online course taught by Kate Hopper. Kate has written Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, which is the book used as the guide for the course. She’s also the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature MotherhoodThe course required about two to three hours of my time each week to complete the reading and writing assignments.

3. What were the course offerings?

The course encompasses written lectures, reading assignments, and writing exercises that help participants focus on character development, fine-tune details, strengthen reflective voice, and work on revisions. The weekly sessions are broken into the following:

Week 1: Welcome and Getting Started
Week 2: First Drafts – Models of Motherhood
Week 3: Character Development
Week 4: Voice
Week 5: Finding Humor in Everyday
Week 6: Mother Fear and Writing the Hard Stuff
Week 7: Reflection – What Shapes Us as Mothers
Week 8: Parenting and Partners
Week 9: Structure and Revision
Week 10: Wrapping Up

The course description says, “Whether you are a new mom or a veteran, whether you gave birth to or adopted your child, in this online class you’ll learn how to take birth and motherhood stories and turn them into art.”

4. How did you spend your time? 

Motherhood & Words is the perfect balance of reading from Kate’s book, studying the form of experienced writers, writing new pieces, and giving and receiving feedback.

Each week the class is assigned reading from Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers and additional reading by chosen authors or specific to the weekly topic, and there are weekly writing exercises. Class participation also involves active discussions about the chapters and assigned reading for that week as well as providing feedback on writing that is shared in the class.

The course is designed so that each writer will leave the class with the start of at least five creative nonfiction pieces.

5. What did you take away from the experience?

I was really impressed with Kate’s book full of rich, well-written prose and useful writing exercises and with the way the course was designed to cover many different aspects of writing to help advance the skills of the class.

I was also truly blown away by the writing of my classmates and was inspired by their experiences. Reading my classmates’ submissions triggered my memories so I could delve deeper into the detail needed for my own writing.

In this safe and positive environment, I became more confident in sharing my writing with others.

6. Did you have the opportunity for a writing critique? Was it helpful? 

Yes, Kate and the class participants offer feedback to the weekly writing submissions. Kate also accepts a longer piece up to 10 pages and the revision of that same piece for review and feedback. Kate provided a thorough, insightful, and encouraging critique that inspired me to continue writing and continue refining that work for publication.

7. Would you attend this event again? 

Absolutely! I plan to take this course on a recurring basis to continue to work on the craft of writing.

8. Share some helpful tips for a writer considering this experience. (Tips may include transportation, lodging, food, classes/instructors, or anything you think future attendees would benefit from knowing.) 

Motherhood & Words is offered online, which is beneficial to all writers (no matter where they’re located) but most especially to those juggling writing, family care, and careers. The online nature of the course allows you to participate alongside writers from other countries – one of my classmates was from Ireland.

My best advice is to invest in your writing by taking this course and carving time for yourself to read the materials carefully and to write thoughtful pieces. The writing completed in this course creates great jumping-off points for longer, publishable pieces. Kate’s experience as a writer and writing teacher/coach provides the guidance needed to improve your writing.


Have you attended a conference, workshop, writing festival, residency, or class? We'd like to hear about your experience. Email us at lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com.

The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editor is Rudri Patel; read her bio here.

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