Friday, August 28, 2015

Back to School Sale!


To celebrate the new semester, I am offering a Fourth Free Hour to writers who book three hours of private writing coach services by midnight, September 6th.

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. I can also help you or your child draft and revise a personal essay for a college or graduate school application. 

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, September 6th, 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 the deadline and receive a free fourth hour, you are not eligible for the usual 10% discount on booking three hours at once. Limit two discounts per customer. The sale cannot be used towards a group class. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

New Season, New Writing Plan


I love new seasons and new semesters. The fresh start is invigorating. Regardless of whether you are an enrolled student, take the changing weather as a signal to look at your writing and long term plan. Decide when you can write, revise, research and submit your work over the next few months. Schedule time regularly (daily, weekly or monthly) to work on your project. Block off time when you won't be multitasking (no email, laundry or anything else.) And then follow that plan.

Write. Carve out time, even in fifteen minute increments, to write.

If you don't have time to write one day, give yourself at least five minutes to read through your most recently writing. Then, give yourself permission to think about the piece during the day (any time - at a stop light or waiting for the elevator.) If a resolution or next scene comes to you, jot down a quick note to yourself or leave yourself a voice mail (I tend to email myself notes throughout the day.) Then, before you go to bed, make sure the note is clear and try to get back to writing the next day.

The goal is to live with your work. Come back to it regularly and let your mind sort through the tangles as they appear.

Distance between drafts works, but so does intense attention to a piece. Whatever you do, keep writing and trying different approaches. Whatever worked on the last project might work again, or it might not. If it doesn't, switch it up and try something new. You can always revert to earlier drafts and try another approach.

There's no right or wrong way to write. But you do need to write.

Looking for individualized help? I'm available to work with you as a private writing coach. Click through to learn more


Monday, August 17, 2015

College Application Essays: Think Inside *Your* Box

Your personal statement fills out your college application. It is your opportunity to present yourself as a thinking and feeling person, rather than simply a high school transcript and list of activities. In the essay, you can display your writing, critical thinking and analysis skills. It is your chance to stand out and show the admissions officers who you are as a person.

And that's not easy to do. Your instinct might be to think outside the box and write something wacky, but instead, you should think inside your own box. That is to say, write the essay in your own voice.

You are different from your peers because of your experiences and how you've woven them together. Instead of thinking outside of the metaphorical box, let the reader into your mind.

I know, that sounds really vague. Good advice, but how to pin it down into a series of words, sentences and paragraphs? Think about written communication you have with friends. Even without hearing their voices or reading their names, you can probably recognize each person's distinct way of choosing words and putting them together. That's all to say that you recognize their written voice.

In your personal essay, work on creating your own individual voice. No, don't use internet shorthand as you write, but think about your own way of seeing the world and how you usually transcribe that into words. And write that. Write your own personal response to the question. Finally, edit and revise those words to make sure that they are as precise and concise as possible.

Looking for more individualized guidance as you work on your personal statement for college applications? I'm available to work with you as a private writing coach. Click through for more information. You might also be interested in these earlier posts about writing your personal statement

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Upcoming Classes at Politics and Prose Bookstore


I'm excited to be teaching memoir workshops again this fall at the independent bookstore Politics and Prose, in Washington, D.C. Classes fill up quickly, so register through the bookstore today!

MIXED LEVEL MEMOIR WRITING WORKSHOP (1590)
At Politics & Prose on Connecticut Ave: Four Tuesdays: November 3, 10, 17, December 1, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

It's never too early or too late to start writing your memoir. This four-session workshop will help you 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. The class 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. In-class writing prompts will change every session; you are welcome to take this class more than once.

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.

We will rely on email for communication and distribution of student writing after the first week, therefore it is necessary to have an email account that you check regularly.

Register through the bookstore here.


MEMOIR WRITING: LEGAL, ETHICAL AND MORAL CONCERNS (1591)
At Politics & Prose on Connecticut Ave: Thursday, November 19, 10 a.m. - noon

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 issue.

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.

Register through the bookstore here. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Self-publishing? Hire An Editor and Copyeditor

Are you considering self-publishing your manuscript? I recommend that you hire an editor and a copyeditor to comb through your manuscript for mechanical or punctuation errors, clarity and consistency.

You might think that you are "only" writing for your child or grandchild. While that person might be your immediate audience, you want your hard work and insight to be readable to a future audience, too (think of your grandchildren's grandchildren.) An editor and copyeditor can help you to do that.

The cost of hiring a editor and copyeditor will depend on your particular project and writing experience. Find sample rates for these and related projects through the Writer's Market's article How Much Should I Charge? and The Editorial Freelancers' Association list of common rates.

Not sure about the difference between an editor and a copyeditor? Read this article for more on the difference between copyediting and proofreading.

H/t to Amy Bucklin of Clear Sky Writing and Hila Ratzabi of the Red Sofa Salon for sharing the above resources. I strongly recommend both of them for your upcoming editing needs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On Editing & Revising: Read Your Work Backwards

Yes, you read the title correctly: Read your work backwards. Start with the last sentence and then your next to last sentence. This editing and revising trick will allow you to focus on the punctuation and grammar, rather than the content.

Anything you can do to slow down your re-reading of a draft will help you to better edit and revise your work. Read your work aloud, too, as you read your manuscript backwards. We all tend to skim a bit when we read and reading aloud doesn't allow you to do that. If you stumble as you read, look closely at your syntax, word choice, grammar and punctuation. Maybe you simply stumbled or maybe something in your sentence is unclear.

You might also be interested in reading posts about strong verbs and editing vs. revising

Looking for more individual help as you draft, edit and revise your writing? I'm available to work with you one-on-one as your private writing coach. Click through to read more about my services and email me today: ChloeMiller(at)gmail.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Keep Your Drafts

Stop! Don't throw your draft(s) into the electronic or metal trashcan. Instead, save each draft. Devise a method (with dates, numbers or letters) to organize your drafts. You might make changes and then decide to return to an original approach.

I particularly love how you can make major changes to your writing and then undo them by returning to an earlier draft. The act of making large changes, like shifting a first person narrative into a third person narrative, might teach you something about your characters. You might find that a piece works better in the new voice or you might bring some lessons about the characters back into the original approach. Not only have you not harmed the piece, but you've learned something.

So, stop deleting and start saving.

For more, see my post How to Save Poetry Drafts Electronically.

Do you save your drafts? What kind of organizational system to do you use to save your drafts? I look forward to reading your Comments below.