Friday, January 13, 2017

Books Alive! 2017

I'm excited to be participating in the upcoming Books Alive! conference as a panel moderator. Register today to hear agents and writers talk about their craft April 28 & 29th in College Park, MD.

I will be moderating this panel on Sat., April 29th:

2:50-3:40 p.m.: The Twilight Zone: Between Memoir, Fiction, and Family History 
Moderator: Chloe Miller, a memoir-writing instructor at Politics and Prose
Tom Shroder, author of The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived: A True Story of My Family (named a Best Memoir of 2016 by the Washington Post)
Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and author of Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books 
Jenny Yacovissi, author of Up the Hill to Home

Books Alive 2017

5th Annual Washington Writers Conference

April 28-29, 2017

Presented by the Washington Independent Review of Books

Join the DC literary community and successful authors, agents, and publishers from around the country for the 5th Annual Washington Writers Conference at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, MD. See why this inspiring and instructive two-day conference has quickly become a leading literary event in the DC area.
It kicks off on Friday, April 28th, with an informal meet-and-greet (cash bar), followed by a "how to pitch an agent" session.
On Saturday, April 29th, the schedule includes:
  • Agent pitch sessions throughout the day. (All participants will have the chance to sit face-to-face with up to three agents for five-minute sessions and pitch their ideas. You might even sign with an agent, as past participants have.)
  • An exciting line-up of panels and conversations with authors and other industry professionals.
  • Lunch with keynote speaker Judith Viorst.
  • And much more.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Great Day Washington TV Segment

This morning may have started off with a little one's feet under my chin, but then it progressed to the set of Great Day Washington, a morning show on the local CBS affiliate. I spoke with co-host Markette Sheppard and special guest Darrell Green about journal and memoir writing, as well as Politics and Prose bookstore.

You can click through to watch the full clip here and read the follow-up article, with recommended books to get you started, here.

Great Day viewers and new clients, mention the show for a free writing coach consultation. Email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com to set up your consultation and first appointment. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! Ok, Now It Is Time To Write

Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely holiday that included some rest, treats, and time with loved ones.

Now is the moment to shake off the holiday cookies, keep the joy and settle into your writing spot. You can be your own administrative assistant who organizes and encourages you to meet your goals. Here are some tips:

What are you working towards? When do you want to accomplish those goals? Do you want to write, edit and submit an essay? Write a full manuscript and submit it to agents? Start a writing practice by journaling every day? Write your goals down. Give yourself a final deadline. Know that you can and will reach that deadline step by step.

If you sit down to work on your long term goals and only see, "write my book!' written in cursive at the top of the page, you are more likely to finish your laundry than start working on your book. Break down the large project into small chunks with deadlines. For example, maybe you want to complete some research this month and finish the outline and the opening chapter by the following the month.
List the actual steps that it will take to reach your goals. Read this post for some tips on what to short term goals to include.

At the start of last year, I wrote about trusting your calendar. If you schedule the time you have to write, you will be more likely to leave those hours free and focused on writing.

Dedicate the last ten minutes of each writing session making a very short term to-do list. Do you need to research a city? Does a particular scene need more dialogue? Is there a contest you want to submit work to? This list will help you to use shorter periods of time more effectively and to better jump into your writing project.

The beginning of a new year is a natural fresh beginning. I recommend checking-in to see how you are progressing every three months. Here are some tips on how to do a self-evaluation of your writing process.

Many writers are balancing a day job - or juggle a few day jobs - and a personal life with a writing life. You will need to say, "no" to things. This piece, "How to Say No to Taking on More Work" offers some great times. One friend recommends keeping a list of all the things you say, "no" to during the year to review at the end of the year.

I'm a big fan of using my computer's calendar program to block off time to write. I also regularly update a word processing document titled, "Writing To Do List" which lists both the large and small goals.

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm interested in the Bullet Journal, which helps you to prioritize and see the different categories your (overall) to-do list might include.

If you are looking for individualized help setting goals and meeting them, I am accepting a few new clients this February. You can read more about my writing coach services here. Email me to discuss our first appointment (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Spring Workshop at Politics and Prose Bookstore Open for Registration

I’m excited to announce that my spring 2017 writing workshop at Politics and Prose bookstore, Washington, D.C., is open for registration. You’ll find a link to the full description below. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions. Do register with the bookstore as soon as you can, as classes tend to fill up quickly.

If you’ve taken my memoir writing workshop before fall 2016, you’ll notice that I’ve restructured the class. Following student recommendations, it will be five weeks long and we will be workshopping student writing as a large group (rather than a four week class in which we split into small groups for workshopping.)

Are you looking for customized help on a particular project? I have a few spots open for new clients this winter starting on Jan. 23. I can read your work, offer feedback, give reading & writing suggestions and meet with you at a convenient time. Email me to schedule our first session together (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com).

Here’s to a generative and productive new year!

Politics and Prose bookstore class details:

Five Tuesdays: March 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11, 10 a.m. to noon

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy (Literary) Holidays!

The Zoo Lights Mark the Holidays Annually in D.C.

As you purchase gifts this season, consider a giving a literary magazine subscription or donating money to an organization that supports writers in someone's name. Don't forget to buy books for your loved ones at your favorite independent bookstore. Support journalism with a subscription, print or electronic, to a newspaper.

If someone you know is looking to work with a writing coach, contact me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com) to arrange a Writing Coach Gift Certificate (which can be used in person or via video conference.)

And don't forget to give yourself a break this holiday season. If you're like me, you have a dangerously tall pile of books on your nightstand. Take some time to read, take notes in the margin and think outside of the usual rush of people and sweets. Find that journal that burrowed itself under a pile of time-sensitive papers and start drafting again. 2017 will thank you.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Resources for Adult, Professional Writers

As a writing coach, I sometimes work with adults who want to write more easily and clearly at work.

To encourage writing through prompts, I always recommend one of my favorite books, Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

Thanks to Amy Bucklin of Clear Sky Writing for these additional resources that they - and you! - might find helpful:

Hemingway Editor: An editing program that helps you to write better through color coding errors, adverbs, etc.

Find quick and clear writing tips from Entrepreneur and Inc. Here are some more tips from Publication Coach.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter. 

This morning we, two white parents, got ourselves and our son, a white three year old, ready for school.

We didn't worry about his getting shot today.

We fed him, dressed him, got him into the car, drove through our neighborhood, got him out of the car and walked him into his classroom without worrying about him getting shot. We didn't look over our shoulders or worry about what he was wearing. My husband walked to his office without worrying about getting shot, too.

We will pick up our toddler this afternoon, maybe go for a walk, feed him dinner and then go bed without fearing bullets and other people's fear or anger.

We will repeat this routine every weekday throughout the academic school year. We will not fear his getting murdered today or when he's older because of his skin color.

He will go to elementary, middle and high school without this fear. He will not carry the fear with him to college. He will not look for his first full-time job while being afraid. We won't stay up late at night afraid.

Parents of black children should not have to live daily with the fear their boys and men could be shot and killed. Children should not have to live with the fear of getting killed or their loved ones getting killed.

Black Lives Matter. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Black Lives Matter.

Do your part as parents: 

We, including white people, have to talk about race with our partners, family, friends and children. Studies show that talking early and openly with your children about race makes a positive difference.

Find books with diverse characters on Black Children's Books and VideosThe Brown Bookshelf and  through We Need Diverse Books' resources.

As a white woman, I asked myself, "What kind of white person do you want to be?"