Anthologies can be difficult to review because there is so much packed into one volume. This one was delightfully consistent with that premise. Women Writing on Family offers suggestions to advance your writing at every level. If you are a beginning writer, just noodling around with the idea of writing about your family you could start with "On Believing What You Have to Say Is Worth Writing" by Sheila Bender. If you have been writing for a while and are thinking about what to do with your work, there is "Identifying Potential Markets For Family Writing" by Rebecca Tolley-Stokes. Using writing to heal? Connect with "Using Writing as a Means of Surviving and Transgressing Family Violence and Trauma" by Anna Saini. If you are curious about self publishing there is "Self-Publishing from Manuscript to Finished Book: Eight Steps in Eight Months," by Anne Ipsen.
The authors are as diverse as the content. There are professional women sharing that writing about family can be seen as "soft" or something less than professional writing. These women explore the possible career repercussions of that perception and how to manage them. Some writers describe how journaling led to a book and how blogging can lead to more involved, lengthier works. Some articles are heavily referenced; some are straight from the heart. Many of the authors are well published, for others this is their first publication. The writing styles range from instructional to extremely personal.
The book is organized into eight parts: Personal and Legal Issues about Family Topics, Finding Time to Write With Career and Family, Making the Most of Your Family Experience, Writing Exercises and Strategies, Exploring Family in a Variety of Genres, Finding Your Writing Styles, Publishing, Marketing & Promotion, and Building Your Confidence. Each part has between five and nine selections that support and expand upon the title. There is something for every woman interested in writing about family.
Memoir writing groups could use this book for the professional growth section of their meetings. I would recommend it as a go-to resource for anyone writing about family for information and inspiration.
Carol Smallwood edited Writing and Publishing:The Librarian's Handbook. She was short-listed in 2009 for the Eric Hoffer Award for Best Writing. She is a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Award Winner.
Suzann Holland has served as an English Composition instructor, a public library consultant, and a public library director. She is a 2010 winner of Public Libraries Feature Award. She has secured permission of the Laura Ingalls Wilder estate to produce A Little House Literary Companion.
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