Monday, June 29, 2015

You Are A Writer


Looking for inspiration? Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg 
is a great starting point with prompts and more. 


My emails to creative writing students begin with the greeting, "Dear Writers."

It may sound a little woo woo, but the first step to being a writer is thinking of yourself as a writer. That's right, I'm talking to you. The writer reading this writer's blog. You.

The next step is to introduce yourself as a writer. It may not be your day job, but it is something that's important to you. It is the lens through which you comprehend the world. Visual artists might focus on colors and shapes, dancers on movement and you, words. Because you are a writer.

You. Are. A. Writer.

You read, write, edit, and submit your work. You take the practice and business of writing seriously. You talk to other writers, attend readings, and think about your work throughout the day. Your writing and ideas build upon what you've read and experienced.

You write.

You write because you are a writer.

Honor your writing by making sure you fulfill the obligations of writing. Carve out space and time for your practice. Dedicate time and space to writing. That is all to say: Write, writer. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Continuing to Workshop After a Class @ Politics & Prose Bookstore


I encourage my Politics and Prose memoir writing students to continue to workshop their new pieces in small groups after the class ends. I was very happy to hear about a small group that formed after a recent class! Read more about their experience below.

Interested in taking a Memoir Writing Workshop with me at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.? The next class starts Tuesday, July 21. Click through for more details and register through the bookstore.

Continuing to Workshop After Class

Terry, Donna, Gil, and Iemi met during the February 2015 session of Chloe’s memoir class at Politics and Prose. The class was around 15 students and Chloe created small groups for critiquing and discussing pieces.

The afterglow of the last day of class kept going for this group. The group started off with the commitment of meeting every other week. Then, life started to happen. Now the group meets when the various schedules align.

Over tea and coffee at Bread and Chocolate, the group critiques the memoir pieces that started in Chloe’s class. Every once in a while, an individual member will lead a group discussion.

Chloe is a very inspirational instructor who provides her students with a sense of structure. The group is very happy to have carried on the excitement and commitment from Chloe’s class.


Participants: 

Terry Michael was a magazine editor and writer in New York City for ten years.  Prior to this Terry worked in Hollywood reading scripts and assisting wildly creative, difficult producers and directors.  Both environments were exciting but tough, competitive, and easy places to burn out or excel. Terry burned out.  Sometimes that’s a good thing.  It forces you to find what you loved doing in the first place.  Terry was nine when Terry started writing on a junior portable typewriter.  Using her Nancy Drew book, Terry typed each chapter word for word – adding a sentence of my own here and there. Terry loved doing it. That’s when she became a writer.  So recently, she brought out Nancy Drew’s The Clue of the Broken Locket and started typing it up, took a class in memoir writing, and became a writer again.

Donna Marshall Constantinople was born in Boston, Massachusetts and resides in Washington, DC and Blue Hill, Maine.  She studied at Northwestern University where she received her Bachelor of Arts majoring in economics and political science. She was a founding partner and president of KMA Communications, a Washington, DC based management consulting firm providing counsel to non-profits and corporations both national and international. In addition to serving on Boards, she is currently both an artist and a writer working on a memoir of her experiences living in the DC area.

Gil Kline has almost 40 years experience in the following roles:
       Created four film/broadcast documentaries (topics range from Machu Picchu to Alcoholism, to rural health care to water use);
       As media consultant, created and implemented many national public education campaigns, largely for public interest organizations in areas of criminal justice reform, health reform, education reform, population issues, etc
       Wrote/edited op-eds, book reviews, educational publications, various other formats. 
Gil Kline lives in Washington, D.C.  with his goldfish, “Harry.”


Iemi Hernandez-Kim’s first name is pronounced as yeh-me. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She went to NYU. She spends a lot of time and money on comic books. Her first love is animation. She lives in Washington, DC.



Starting your own writing workshop? Click through for some tried and true tips. 




Monday, June 15, 2015

Get in Shape for Summer: Muscular Verbs

Your verbs push and pull the action through your writing. I think of them as the muscle. As you edit and revise your work, underline each verb. Then review them to test their strength as individual and a collection of verbs woven through your piece.

Each verb should give as much information as possible. For example, if I write, "She enters the room," the reader only knows that a female was outside of the room and is now inside the room. If I write, "She skitters into the room," or "She skips into the room," an image and emotional understanding of this character grows. The reader gains insight into the character herself, as well as her movement in space.

For more on verbs, visit my post Strong Verbs: Hefty, Hefty, Hefty.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer Memoir Writing Workshop at Politics & Prose Bookstore



Take a class this summer at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (and stay to shop like President Obama!) I'll be offering a four week Mixed Level Memoir Writing Workshop starting on July 21. I'd love to see you in the class!

Don't hesitate to email me with any questions about the classes (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.) The memoir writing workshop does fill up quickly; I encourage you to register today.

Class details below:

Mixed Level Memoir Writing Workshop
Four Tuesdays: July 21, 28, August 4, 11, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Politics & Prose Bookstore (Washington, D.C.)
For more details and to register through the bookstore, click here

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.
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.

No homework is due for the first day of class. Please bring paper and a pen (or charged laptop) to every class. You will be writing in-class and at home after the first session. In-class writing prompts will change every session; you are welcome to take this class more than once.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Reading @ DC Public Library


Attention: DC Readers of all ages!

The DC Public Library is hosting summer reading challenges and prizes! Click through to read more details. Our two year old looks forward to the reading log activities, including reading a wordless book and attending a library program this summer. Visit your local branch today to pick up your age-appropriate reading log!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Writing Prompt: Summer

Lily pads at Georgetown University the other morning

Applying suntan lotion to my son the other morning, the smell reminded me of last summer and how small he was. Senses are powerful and offer many memories in quick succession. 

For this writing prompt, describe a summer morning while paying particular attention to your five senses. Summer, in the city or by the sea, has a particular smell. What does that morning air taste like? How does the sunlight change your vision? What does the landscape look like through your sunglasses? How does the heat feel on your skin? What are the sounds you hear first thing in the morning?

Set a timer and write for ten minutes. Don’t worry about spelling or writing in complete sentences. Just jot down ideas as them come to you. If you can’t think of anything, write, “I don’t know what to write” until you get bored with that and start to think about something else.

The prompt might lead you in a different direction and your result might not have anything to do with the five senses or even summer. But that’s the idea – it is a prompt to get you started.


I’d love to hear where you end up, if you’d like to share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer Writing Plans?



What are your summer plans? Hopefully you’ll rest … and write these next few months. Use your calendar to block off time to write, revise, submit, read and, perhaps, research your subject. Set specific goals and tasks for each week. 

When you think of writing as a job, you’ll make time for it. Block of specific hours or days to work on specific tasks. Turn off your phone and maybe even the internet, too, in order to focus.

If you tend to get swept into one aspect of your project, like researching or brainstorming, set a timer to make sure you reserve time for other aspects of the creation of your work.

You are a writer. You will be an even better writer if you write regularly and take your writing seriously. Make the time and take yourself seriously. 

This is your summer.

If you need some extra support and guidance, I’m available to work with you as your writing coach. Click through for more information.