Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Pro-tip: Write it Down

Between writing holiday cards and planning your New Year's eve menu, write down your ideas. Title for a new poem? Write it down. Plot twist for chapter five of the novel you've only written one chapter of so far? Write it down. New word you learned that makes you smile? Write it down.

The holidays are busy. Too busy. You may have a few days off from work, but suddenly family is town, the supermarket trip takes an extra hour and you still need to buy wrapping paper. Of course it is the happiest time of the year and you were looking forward to it, but it doesn't mean that you don't want to write, too. You're a writer, after all, and writers write.

Take the few minutes you have while the sugar cookies are cooling to jot down the notes you have been repeating so you can memorize them. You don't have to write in full sentences, but write enough so you'll remember what you meant on New Year's day when everyone else is sleeping and you're up early to fulfill that New Year's resolution to write daily.

Use your phone audio or video recording function. Email yourself. Text message yourself. Keep a notebook in your bag or use that paper napkin. But write it down before you forget. Stop worrying and just write it down.

And then give yourself a break to enjoy your visitors and this time together eating, laughing and wrapping the presents you spent so long wrapping. You can sleep soundly knowing you won't forget anything since you wrote it down.

Next: Post-Holiday Pro-tip: Read your notes. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Upcoming Classes at Politics & Prose Bookstore

Take a class this winter 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 and a single session Memoir Writing: Possible Moral, Ethical & Legal Issues, co-taught with Martha Ertman. I encourage you to register for both together, since they are connected (although you can choose to take only one, if you prefer.)

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: January 20, 27, February 3, 17; 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.

As a supplement to this course, I encourage you to register for Ethics ofMemoir: Possible Moral and Legal Issues, which I co-teach with memoirist and law professor, Martha Ertman.

Memoir Writing: Possible Moral, Ethical & Legal Issues
One Session: Tuesday, February 10, 1 – 3 p.m.
Politics & Prose Bookstore (Washington, D.C.)
For more details and to register through the bookstore, click here.

Writing about oneself inevitably impacts others. How do we morally, ethically and legally portray living or deceased people in our memoirs? Martha Ertman, memoirist, attorney, and professor and memoir writing workshop instructor Chloe Yelena Miller will discuss these issues. Come with questions for the Q&A session in the second half. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Early Bird Holiday Season Writing Coach Sale

Happy (almost) holidays! To celebrate, I am offering a Fourth Free Hour to writers who book three hours of private writing coach services by midnight EST, Sunday, November 30th.

During your four hours of private writing coaching, I will read your writing and discuss it with you. You are welcome to write something in response to a prompt or submit previous writing.

Beginning to experienced writers can benefit from my services as a writing coach. We will meet in-person in the Washington, D.C., area, on the phone or Skype video conference.

Email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com) before midnight, November 30th, and you’ll be eligible for a Fourth Free Hour!

The cost for three hours is $300.00. You are welcome to purchase the hours for yourself or a friend. You can also split the hours between yourself and a friend.

If you book by midnight EST, November 30th, and receive a free fourth hour, you are not eligible for the usual 10% discount on booking three hours at once. This sale ends at midnight EST, November 30th. Limit two discounts per customer.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Upcoming Reading @ Sunday Assembly

Thanks to a kind invitation from Laura Barcella, I’m looking forward to reading poems about wonder on Sunday, December 7th at the Sunday Assembly: A Global Movement for Wonder and Good.  I’ll be reading some poems by others and original poems, too.

Sunday Assembly: A Global Movement for Wonder & Good
2111 Florida Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20008
Sunday, Dec. 7th, 3:30
RSVP through Facebook

More about the Sunday Assembly: 
The Sunday Assembly started on a car journey to Bath when two comedians, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans (pictured), realised that they wanted to do something that had all the best bits of church, but without the religion, and awesome pop songs.
The first version of this was in January 6th 2013, and though they weren’t expecting many people, the entire place was full. At the next Assembly there were 300. Then they had to go to two services a day.  And then it went viral.
Now there are 28 Assemblies across the world, and it looks like there’ll be 100 by the end of 2014. It is the most exciting thing in the world.
People across the world were drawn to our simple values, clear message and excellent mission.
We are a godless congregation that celebrates of life.
We have an awesome motto: Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More.
A super mission: to try to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential.
An awesome vision: a godless congregation in every town city, or village that wants one.
We are dedicated to helping the people that attend, and the folk in the wider community, to make the most of this one life that we know we have. We harness fun and joy and wonder to build communities and to help others

Friday, November 7, 2014

Upcoming Class @ Georgetown University: Joining the Political Blogosphere

I'm excited to be co-teaching a short course this June at Georgetown University with my husband, Dr. Hans Noel. We'll be discussing and practicing political blogging. Details below. Register today through Georgetown University.

Georgetown University
McCourt School of Public Policy
Executive Institute Short Course

This course will provide you with the tools necessary to transition from a writer with great ideas to a connected, potentially influential political blogger. We will cover every step of the blogging process, from the creation of the blog, including buying a domain and choosing a platform, to the promotion of your blog with social media and through guest blogging. Extensive time will be spent on writing for the blog format. Blog posts are unlike other writing, and to be successful, they need to embrace the medium. Guest speakers will discuss the experience of blogging about politics in DC.

This course is designed for anyone interested in starting a blog. No prior experience is expected.

By the end of the class, students will be able to set up a blog, write posts that fully make use of the blog format, and promote their blog.

Dr. Hans Noel is an Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University. He is one of the founding members of "Mischiefs of Faction," a blog about political parties. He is also an occasional contributor to the award-winning "Monkey Cage" blog, published by The Washington Post. Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and writing coach who maintains blogs on parenting as a writer and writing. She teaches writing at Politics and Prose Bookstore and at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

June 1 (Monday) and June 3 (Wednesday), 2015
9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Melanie Figg's Upcoming Poetry Class in Silver Spring, MD

Attention D.C. area friends - my friend Melanie Figg is offering a poetry class that sounds fantastic. I hope you'll consider it. Details below.

Melanie Figg has been teaching creative writing for 25 years. She has won many awards and fellowships for her poetry including a 2014 grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Her poems, essays and reviews have been published in The Iowa Review, LIT, MARGIE, Colorado Review and other journals. Melanie also curates Literary Art Tours in DC galleries. She lives in Maryland and offers creative coaching to artists, and is a fundraising consultant for a variety of nonprofits.

Class details: 
I am developing a series of special poetry classes and workshops that I will offer in my Silver Spring home. The first class will be a four-week class on Mark Doty's great little book on craft called The Art of Description.

Four Wednesday evenings – Nov. 12, 19 & Dec. 3, 10
7:30-9:30pm in my home

Intermediate to Advanced writers are welcome

$150 for the course
Bring a friend and get half off!

Student bring a copy of the book to the first class

Register by Friday, Nov. 7

Full Seminar Description: In this flexible, ongoing series, we will use a series of slim, college-lecture-style volumes as our textbooks—six books about poetry from The Art of… Series (a series of books on the craft of writing from Graywolf Press, one of the country’s best independent publishers of award-winning poetry). The Art of… Series explores the craft of writing—written by writers, for writers. These tiny texts are smart, rich, and accessible. You’ll love this nifty addition to your bookshelf, and return to these books again and again for inspiration and guidance.

We’ll spend four weeks on each book—using the text to deepen our understanding of craft, study selected poems to see the magic in action, and inspire new work of our own with writing prompts. This seminar will run in blocks of 4-week sessions, each devoted to a book in the series (there are 6 so far published about poetry), that will run consecutively for a total of 24 weeks.

Location: I am pleased to offer a series of workshops and seminars in my home in Silver Spring, Maryland—2.5 miles from the Silver Spring metro, and just a mile from the beltway. Email for the address.

To Register for a Class: Email me (melanie.figg(at)gmail.com) to register and I will hold a spot for you. Once I receive your non-refundable deposit (check or cash only), you’re good to go!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Parents of High School Seniors During Application Season: You'll Make it Through

Dear Parents of High School Seniors During Application Season,

You and your child will make it through the application period. I promise. It may not seem like you will, but you will. You will.

I know, early applications can be due as early as Nov. 1st and you're nervous. You've been talking about and planning for college for years. You've visited colleges, talked to friends, reminisced and read everything you can online and in print. You've met with college advisors, your child's teachers and everyone else you can imagine doing.

You and your child will make it through. Wherever your child goes to school will work out. And while you may not want to consider the option, if the chosen college doesn't work out, your child can transfer. Every problem can be solved with some planning and forward thinking.

Hopefully your child will be accepted into his or her dream school. That is to say, presumably your child has a dream school. And a projected career and life path. But she may not and that's ok, too.

Every school can potentially work out. There are many classes, professors, clubs, sports, volunteer and internship opportunities that your child can try out as she learns about all of the various paths in life. In fact, she will (perhaps even mostly) learn outside of the classroom as a college student, too.

There are endless paths in life. And those paths can change, starting with high school dreams.

Many students enter college with an "undecided" major. The students take classes and try out disciplines that either weren't offered in high school or are now taught differently. Suddenly a student who thought she was an English major might fall in love with Chemistry. Or vice versa. Students should enter college with an open mind to discover new things. After all, college is the time to learn how to learn and what there is to learn. Learning won't end with a college or even post-graduate degree.

Many adults will change their career path a number of times throughout their lives (maybe seven?) Students should study many different things in college not only to discover what they love, but to learn facts and skills that can serve them in many fields. Remember that a post-graduate degree is time to specialize, but an undergraduate degree is to learn broadly.

Some parents say that their child is "different" because she wants to go to medical school or law school, so she doesn't have time to take a variety of classes. Some students indeed have a projected path and they continue to remain interested in that path throughout college. Remember that all people - regardless of fields - should be well-rounded in order to lead full lives (and, frankly, to be accepted into those specialized programs.) As a result, the students should still take a wide-variety of classes, in addition to the required or suggested pre-med path.

Today, take a deep breath. Take a break and go for a walk. Better yet, take your child on a walk under the trees changing colors this beautiful fall day. Enjoy nature and each other. Talk about something other than her applications. After all, next year she'll be away at college learning new things. Think of all the things you'll be able to talk about together in the near future.

Best, Chloe

To help with the application process, I'm available to help your child with his or her college application essays and short responses. For more details, please read more here and email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com).