Sunday, September 15, 2019

If you write, you are a writer


Telephone Conversation (Telefonisch Es Gespr├Ąch), 1907, Moriz Jung Austrian

We each feel imposter syndrome from time to time. Don't let it stop you from embracing the fact that if you write, you are a writer.

When my students in writing classes introduce themselves, they often say something like, "I'm not good at this. I write in my journal, but I'm terrible" or "I want to write stories one day, but what I'm doing now isn't writing."

If you are writing and communicating something, you are a writer. Own the term and believe in yourself. Give yourself permission to draft something, edit and revise it. Give yourself permission to believe in yourself. 

Believe in yourself even if other people don't understand. At a kid's party once, I asked a father what he did. He answered with a vague, Washingtonian answer that included the words "policy" and "consultant." He didn't ask me what I did, but I offered anyway. "I'm a poet." He looked down at me (he was very tall) and said something like, "You're right! I am a poet at work! I never thought of it like that."

Hell, if he can embrace calling himself a writer, you who are writing certainly can. (We'll discuss the patriarchy another day, wink.)

Happy writing!







Monday, September 9, 2019

Writing = Communication

Shadows of Leaves on Rock

Writing is a form of communication. Sure, I teach for-credit, undergraduate writing courses and grade students on their use of punctuation and molding of crisp thesis statements. But in the end, what is most important about a piece of writing is that it communicates something to the intended audience.

Our first grader is intrigued by reading and writing. He wrote a birthday card to a bilingual friend half in Italian and half in English. He sometimes sends text messages that include both emojis and words. He mixes languages, images and words - spelled 'correctly' and phonetically. Sometimes he shows us words he's learned in American or Australian sign language and sometimes he acts out his own "picture language." Based on his friends' responses, all of these marks, images and gestures are effusive forms of communication.

Sometimes we adults need to be reminded that we don't have to spend all of our time flipping and flopping a comma around in a sentence; we should instead focus on communicating. Sure, we need to be understood. Sometimes that means following the rules, but sometimes that means creating new rules or catching rules as they morph into new ones.

Give yourself a pass today to write freely. Let the words flow. Focus on grammar and punctuation later when you edit and revise your work. Maybe you'll learn something new and maybe you'll communicate that thought well, too.

For more, link through to some of my writing prompts. You might also watch these Ted Talks on how language changes over time.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

There Are Things We Can't Say published by Jellyfish Review



Thank you to Jellyfish Review for publishing my piece, There Are Things We Can't Say. This short piece of prose considers what is said and what is unsaid, as well as who has permission to tell what story. While you're on their site, I hope you'll stick around to read more!


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Washington, D.C., Fall Workshops

I'm excited to be offering three workshops this fall in D.C. Follow the links to register today through the hosting organizations!

If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

Remington Standard Typewriter Number 2


Creative Memoir Writing Workshop
Five Wednesdays: Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2
10 a.m.  - 12 p.m.
hosted by Politics & Prose bookstore (5015 Connecticut Avenue NW)
Click through for the course description and to register.

Point of View: Who? You? Me?
Tuesday, October 8 (one evening workshop)
6:30 - 8:30 pm
hosted by Moonlit
Click through for the course description and to register.

Write & Illustrate a Picture Book (For Kindergarteners and their Grownups)
Saturday, November 23 (one morning workshop)
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Click through for the course description and to register.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Poem Almost Seven Months published in Crack the Spine Literary Magazine



Thank you to Crack the Spine for publishing my poem Almost Seven Months. I hope you'll click through to read the full issue!

Our child turned six this spring. I wrote the first draft of this poem when he was almost seven months old. This is all to say, keep writing, parent-writers! It might take even longer than the long time it took to write and publish before becoming a parent and that's ok. Just keep writing.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

If You Give a Mom Some Wi-Fi… published in Mock Mom (Sammiches & Psych Meds)


Thanks to Mock Mom (Sammiches & Psych Meds) for publishing my latest piece, "If You Give a Mom Some Wi-Fi..." And, of course, thanks to the amazing children's book author Laura Numeroff for her series, "If you give a ...", which inspired the piece.

Here's to a summer of continued laughs and writing! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Publication - Infant Girl Photo Shoot on Soft-focus Blanket in Defenestration today


Thanks to Defenestration for publishing my piece Infant Girl Photo Shoot on Soft-focus Blanket today.

It begins:

You wanted to see pictures of my infant girl swaddled in soft-focus, white blankets, right? I’ve posted my top fifty outtakes on my Facebook page. I don’t see that you gave the post a heart yet and you probably want to.

Once you see the photos, you won’t forget that our baby is a girl. We stretched that purple ribbon over her head to help with that. Boys don’t wear purple, right? We’d never dress our boy like that because you might think he was a girl. (He’s not. Remember his infant pictures with a football and crisp focus blankets?)

I wonder when my baby girl will learn how to put on a bra. Then it will be even more obvious that she’s a girl. She might need a padded bra at first, but that’s a good start.

Click through to read the rest and, I hope, laugh!


For more on raising your child - rather than a defined boy or girl - read 10 Science-Backed Tips for Raising Your Child Gender Neutral (Forbes) and check out Let Toys Be Toys.