Monday, May 16, 2016

New Poetry Workshops @ The Spa Room

I'm very excited to announce that I will be leading poetry writing workshops at The Spa Room in Washington, D.C. (Tenleytown.) During each drop-in session, I will offer writing prompts connected to your physical experience of the world.

I look forward to writing with you during the next one: Tuesday, June 21 from 7:30 - 9:30 pm. You can register through The Spa Room (click through to the right date.)

Classes are limited to eight students. Register for each evening workshop separately. More details below, including future dates. Don't hesitate to email me with questions: chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com

Writing the Body: Poetry Writing Prompt Workshop
In this monthly workshop, we will write in response to prompts. The prompts will begin with our bodies (muscles, five senses, physical memories) and may bring us anywhere. As we can slowly stretch our body to allow an opening, we will focus on our physical experiences and related memories in order to understand them better. Writing, which includes naming our experiences, is part of how we understand and navigate our world.

Our time together will be spent generating writing in response to prompts. Writers will be invited to read their in-class writing, if they choose to. The focus will be on the creative process (rather than editing and revising the work.)

Writers of all levels welcome.

Please come with a writing surface (clipboard or book) and paper or charged laptop.

You are welcome to register for one or more classes. Each one will be unique and stand on its own.

Chloe Yelena Miller, author of the chapbook Unrest (Finishing Line Press), teaches writing workshops at Politics and Prose Bookstore and privately. She also teaches college-level classes online at the University of Maryland and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She received her BA in Italian language and literature from Smith College and an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. You can read more about her here:

$30.00 each individual session (a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the DC Rape Crisis Center after costs are covered)
Next class: Tuesday, June 21
7:30 – 9pm
Class limited to 8 students

Future dates:
Tuesday, July 5
Tuesday, August 16

The Spa Room
4115 Wisconsin Avenue: Suite 102, Washington DC, 20016
(Click through for parking and Metro details.)

Do spend some time looking around The Spa Room's website. I first received a massage at The Spa Room while I was pregnant. This wellness studio has a holistic approach that I quite love and trust. 

Monday, May 9, 2016


1. We write to understand. 
2. Our discoveries are our readers' discoveries. 

These two statements have become cliches because they are true.

There is often a line or idea that haunts me, but I don't write it. And then I stop writing because that something is all that I can think about.

Maybe I'm hesitant to write because I don't yet understand the emotion, maybe I feel ashamed or maybe I feel as though I shouldn't reveal a certain secret.

When I'm stuck like this, here is what I try to remind myself: No one has to read early drafts. I might need to write something in order to move past it. This early work might be more therapeutic than craft-oriented. Maybe my readers wouldn't even understand what I was writing anyway.

If I later spend time revising and editing the original piece, I might come closer to something that is ready to be submitted to literary magazines or belongs in a book manuscript. Maybe that original idea, even if it is somehow shameful, can be masked behind a metaphor. I can share the emotion, one that others have likely felt, without disclosing my deepest secrets. This isn't to say that I can't share certain secrets, of course, but there might be times when it isn't necessary for the piece or a larger truth.

This is all to say that you should write whatever it is that you feel compelled to write. See where it takes you. And then revise, revise, revise. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thursday is Poem in your Pocket Day

Print out, copy or write a poem to keep in your pocket on Thursday, Poem in your Pocket Day. Then  share the words with your friends, family and colleagues throughout the day.

The Academy of American Poets has put together a great PDF with poems you might download and print out (or store on your mobile device.)

You might look for inspiration in Split this Rock's Quarry, a social justice poetry database.

Have a verse in mind, but you don't remember the author or title? The Library of Congress has put together some great resources for Lost Titles, Forgotten Rhymes: How to Find a Novel, Short Story, or Poem Without Knowing its Title or Author.

You might try Columbia University's free trial access to Granger's World of Poetry Online in order to find that perfect poem.

Whatever you do, give yourself a few extra moments to read through some poems and then read one or two aloud with someone else. Give the poem new life with your breath. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month! I hope you'll celebrate by reading a new poet or two and writing some poems, too. Here are some ways to get started:

Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 21. Print out a poem or copy a poem down and carry it around for the day. Share it with your friends.

Sign up for a poem a day emailed to you by the Academy of American Poets or the Poetry Foundation (with audio.)

Write in response to a prompt a day from Robert Brewer at Writers Digest.

Listen to poets read their poems at Fishouse or watch video poems by Motionpoems.

Shop independent bookstores for poetry. Washington D.C. based Politics and Prose bookstore is featuring poetry collections on their website.

Read and support (subscribe!) a poetry literary magazine. Find one through Poets & Writers' database.

If you're in D.C., hear Malachi Black, Laurie Ann Guerrero, and A. Van Jordan read their original sonnets at the Folger Shakespeare Library on April 11th and attend Split this Rock's Poetry Festival April 14 - 17.

If you're in NYC, visit Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop or Poets House

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Finding Time

The endless cliches about time slipping through our fingers are cliches for a reason. Our time each day is finite.

If we only have short bursts of time to write, revise, submit and read each day, how can we make those few minutes count?

Reading my current piece each morning and at night helps me to work through it even when I'm not technically writing. If I choose a particular "problem" or, more positively, "challenge," to sort out during the day, then I can attempt to focus on that during down moments (laundry, washing the dishes.) I might even email myself a copy of the piece so that I review it on the phone at any point in the day.

How do you best use your time for writing?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Amy Bucklin's Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why You Need an Editor for Your Memoir

Are you submitting your memoir to small presses or agents? Considering self-publishing? You want your ideas and writing to shine. Amy Bucklin, an editor and writer, outlines the benefits of hiring an editor below. I encourage you to visit her company website, Clear Sky Writing, for more.

5 Reasons Why You Need an Editor for Your Memoir

Finishing your memoir is a tremendous accomplishment. You’ve crafted your story and revised and honed your manuscript. Now you’re done! Or are you?

There is one more step you should consider: hiring an editor.

All writers, from first-time authors to published pros like Stephen King and Elizabeth Gilbert, benefit from the objective eye and professional expertise of an editor.

A professional editor can make your manuscript more:

1. Focused – Is that scene with Aunt Mabel at your third birthday party integral to the story? No one knows your life better than you do, but that makes it hard for you to spot areas where the narrative digresses or contains too much detail. A professional editor will help you shape your memoir and remain focused on your central theme.

2. Clear – An editor can make suggestions on word choice and sentence structure, help you trim unnecessary words and phrases, and identify where you need more — or less — detail.

3. Readable – An editor can assist you with the flow of your writing and transitions between paragraphs and chapters. He or she will also help you pinpoint and cut dense paragraphs, clich├ęs, and overused words and phrases. This will result in a piece that is easier and more enjoyable to read.

4. Accurate – Editors make sure you use consistent spelling, capitalization, nicknames, place names, and facts. They also correct grammar and typos. While these may seem like trivial details, inconsistencies and inaccuracies can be distracting to a potential publisher and your reader.

5. Professional – Working with an editor before you send your manuscript out can help catch the attention of a publisher. If you plan to self-publish, it will result in a memoir that is more likely to be read, treasured, and shared for generations to come.

Amy Bucklin is an editor and writer with 18 years of experience helping individuals and companies make their writing more clear and effective. She works with clients across the nation on a variety of projects, including editing and proofreading manuscripts, articles, blog and social media posts, brochures, and website content. 

You can learn more about Amy’s services and experience at

Monday, March 7, 2016

Upcoming Spring Memoir Writing Workshops (D.C.)

I’m excited to announce my upcoming spring classes. I’ll be teaching memoir writing workshops at Politics and Prose Bookstore and a one time session at the Guy Mason Recreation Center in Glover Park, D.C. Details below. You’re welcome to take one or all of the courses.

Looking for private writing coach sessions? I can tailor a course that fits your interests and needs. It can include prompts, reading assignments, feedback and more. Read more about my services here.

Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com)


At the Guy Mason Recreation Center, I’ll be teaching:

Memoir Writing Workshop: Crafting Scenes
Wednesday, March 23, 2-3:30 PM
Free and open to the public
3600 Calvert Street, NW (there’s a large parking lot next to the building)
Class description:
Make your memoir lively, descriptive and plot driven, just like a good novel. In this workshop, we will discuss how to write scenes, rather than relying on summary. We will do some writing during the workshop. Please bring a pen and paper or a charged laptop to class. Writers of all levels welcome.

At Politics and Prose Bookstore, I’ll be teaching:

Mixed Level Memoir Writing Workshop
Four Tuesdays: April 19, 26, May 3, 10, 10:30 a.m. – noon
**If you’ve taken this class before, you might consider taking it again. There are usually 1-3 returning students in the group. The format of the class remains the same, but the discussion varies greatly, depending on the current participants.
Class description:
It's never too early or too late to start writing your memoir. This four-session workshop will help you write a memoir by breaking it down into a collection of linked personal essays. Participants will respond to writing prompts, workshop one essay draft, and discuss on-going projects. We will consider issues of editing, revising, organizing research and chapters, and publishing. Students will receive feedback from peers and the instructor.
This class is for you if you are thinking about starting a memoir or have already begun writing. You are also welcome if you simply want to try a new writing genre.

Publishing Your Memoir: Submitting to Journals, Presses and Agents
Single Session: Tuesday, April 19, 1 – 3 p.m.
** This is a new class that I will be co-teaching with Cynthia Kane, an author, development editor, and the lead literary agent with Capital Talent Agency in D.C. We went to graduate school together and she continues to be an inspiration. You can read more about her here.
You might also be interested in her forthcoming book, How to Communicate Like a Buddhist.
Class description:
Done with the difficult work of writing and -- having celebrated a piece you are proud of -- are now ready to tackle the submission process? We can help! Whether you are submitting personal essays or have a full manuscript ready, this class, led by a published author and literary agent, will teach you how to put together a successful proposal and give yourself the best chance for success. Creative non-fiction author and literary agent Cynthia Blair Kane and writer Chloe Yelena Miller will discuss the steps toward getting published. Topics will include submitting smaller pieces to magazines and literary journals, the do’s and don'ts of cover letters, what to include in your proposal, myths about publishers and agents, where to find literary agents and what agents and publishers are looking for. Participants are encouraged to bring questions.

Memoir Writing: Legal, Ethical, and Moral Concerns
Single Session: Tuesday, April 26, 1 – 3 p.m.
Class Description:

Writing about oneself inevitably includes others. How do we legally, morally, and ethically portray living or deceased people in our memoirs? If you are thinking about writing memoir or have one in progress, this class will provide guidance on these issues. Memoirist, Attorney, and Professor Martha Ertman and memoir writing workshop instructor Chloe Yelena Miller will discuss these issues, followed by a Q&A session in the second half.