Motherhood & Words

I have been reading Brevity for years and I’ve dreamt of being published there. The first two pieces I submitted (one in 2004 and one in 2005) were both excerpts of Ready for Air. In each case, I tried to condense a scene or chapter from my memoir into a 750-word essay. It didn’t work.

Then last spring I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading Brevity’s past issues, and I finally felt ready to submit again. I felt ready because my writing had improved immeasurably over the past years. I felt ready because I was armed with images that had been floating in my head for over a decade, images that I knew could hold together in one short piece. So I sat down and I wrote an essay, a very short essay. It was not something that I chopped and manipulated from long to short. It was something I wrote for Brevity.

I’ve posted before about patience and perseverance, which I believe are necessary if you want to be a writer. And I really do believe they are necessary. I believe that you should never let a rejection stop you. You shouldn’t even let fifty rejections stop you. You must—always—keep writing. You will get better. The market will change. And someday, you’ll get the thing you’ve been dreaming of. And then you’ll feel honored and you will have energy to write even more.

I am honored: Brevity #32.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Andrea on January 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Wonderful! I love it–I can taste the tortillas, smell the dust, feel the music…can't wait to read all those books you're writing!

  2. Betsy on January 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    WOOOOT!!! What an amazing piece.

  3. Joy Riggs on January 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Great essay! Congratulations.

  4. cath c on January 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    congratulations and wonderful essay! feel like i'm there.

  5. Elizabeth on January 20, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    It's so great — and your words of wisdom are wonderful, too…

  6. Mary on January 21, 2010 at 2:27 am

    wonderful Kate…I was transported!

  7. Mummy mania on January 21, 2010 at 11:38 am

    wonderful – and well done. And great advice too – in this world of quick fixes we often forget that it takes hard word and perseverence to get what we really want. As such… I will keep trying!

  8. on January 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Wonderful writing Kate! it speaks to all the senses. Let's get this entire book out there.

  9. kate hopper on January 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you, all.

  10. caro on January 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Congratulations, and thanks for the inspiring post!

  11. Melissa on January 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm


  12. Scheherazade's Den on January 22, 2010 at 1:48 am

    you're an inspiration is all i can say! you make me hungry to keep writing despite my multiple/countless rejections

  13. magpiedays on January 22, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Oh that's awesome, congratulations!! It's a wonderful essay, so perfect for the form.

    (I'm a Brevity fan too.)

  14. Toby's Mom on January 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Congratulations, Kate! Beautiful essay.

  15. Carrie Pomeroy on January 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Wonderful! The ending is perfect.

    What a different kind of adventure than the motherhood adventure you're having now–and yet it all connects, doesn't it?

    Thank you for sharing your breakthrough!

  16. 6512 and growing on January 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Congratulations on your perseverance and courage!

  17. unfinishedportraitofsam on February 2, 2010 at 10:13 am

    i actually just read your essay on Brevity this morning, which led me to your blog.
    what a gorgeous piece of writing that essay was. though i'm not a mother, i'm a daughter, and i'm friends with many mothers, including those who write. i'm passing this blog on, and i'll keep reading. your work is lovely.
    congratulations! : )