Friday, December 18, 2015

Setting Writing Goals for 2016: Trust Your Calendar

Winter sunset over the Potomac River in Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

The new year can mark a fresh start. Rely on your calendar to find time to write in 2016. What do you want to accomplish? More importantly, what steps do you need to take to accomplish those goals? Schedule it all in your calendar and make it happen. 

Just as I schedule time to meet paid work deadlines, I schedule regular blocks of time to write, edit and submit writing. Give your projects the time and respect they deserve by focusing on them regularly. Even if your creative writing is unpaid, as it often is, think of it as a job that requires you to literally put in the required hours. 

Start by getting organized in early January. Make a list of your goals and mark deadlines in your calendar. Then, schedule regular time - daily, weekly or monthly - to focus on your project. You know from earlier accomplishments that small steps towards the goal will result in meeting your goal. 

If I didn't make the time, the time simply wouldn't be there. It is easy to avoid writing, as there's always more laundry to do. Of course, sometimes an emergency comes up and it isn't possible to write. Give yourself the space to be flexible as necessary. But if you are putting off your writing for too long, go back to step one and reassess your plan. What needs to be moved to make it possible to write? 

Be reasonable about your schedule. What times of day do you have available to you? Where can you work? When do you have the clearest mind? Some people will go to a writing residency for a month every summer, others write on the weekends and other write in the early or late hours when their children are sleeping. Use your answers to craft a schedule that works best for you. 

If you need feedback on your writing, deadlines and writing prompts, I have time available in 2016 to take on some new writing coach clients. You can read more about my services here. We can work together to address the needs and questions you have. I primarily teach online and have a flexible schedule to work around yours. If you are writing memoir, you might be interested in my weekly memoir writing workshop in February at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

For more new year motivation, here is last year's post on setting writing goals.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Upcoming DC Reading on December 10th

I look forward to reading with friend and co-teacher at Politics and Prose bookstore, Martha Ertman, author of Love's Promises, on December 10th. I hope to see you all there!

Optional, free RSVP on the Eventbrite page.


Wellesley and Smith Alums who Write (and read!)
Come to a reading & discussion with 
Martha Ertman (Wellesley ‘85) and 
Chloe Yelena Miller (Smith ‘98)
Comments from Ellie Blume (Wellesley ‘06)

Love’s Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families by Martha M. Ertman

Unrest by Chloe Yelena Miller

DC Public Library | Tenleytown Branch
4450 Wisconsin Ave NWWashington, DC 20016 

Free and open to the public

Hosted by The Washington Wellesley Club and The Smith College Club of Washington D.C.

For more: 
Read more about Love's Promises

Read more about Unrest, a poetry chapbook

Books won't be available for sale at the library, but you can buy your copy ahead of time at Politics & Prose Bookstore and have it signed at the reading.

Share the word with our Facebook event page.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Memoir Essay Writing Prompts from College Application Essays

I particularly enjoy working with high school seniors as they draft and revise their college application essays. The best questions are simultaneously narrow and broad. If you think about molding your own essay to reveal something about yourself, they can be a healthy and fun exercise.

I encourage memoir writing students to use these essay questions as prompts for their own essays.

Here are two favorites from the University of Chicago (with a few more here):

Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced?

“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” –Maxine Hong Kingston. What paradoxes do you live with?

One of Stanford's short essay questions asks, "What matters to you, and why?" Broad, yes. But also good to think about as you hone your essay to address one particular issue. Read more of their questions here.

For even more, here are this year's Common Application essay questions

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chloe Reading in Wilmington, DE

I'm excited to be reading in the 2nd Saturday Poets reading series in Wilmington, Delaware on November 14. I'd love to see you there and hear your work during the open mike, too. Here are the details:

Featured Reader
Chloe Yelena Miller
November 14, 2015 5-7 p.m.
Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and teacher living in Washington, D.C., with her husband, son and their many books. Her poetry chapbook Unrest was published by Finishing Line Press. Her work is published or forthcoming in Alimentum, The Cortland Review, Narrative Magazine, Poet’s Market, and Storyscape Literary Journal, among others. She is currently on the Folger Poetry Board for the Folger Shakespeare Library. Chloe has worked for Toadlily Press, The Literary Review, Portal del Sol and Lumina. She has participated in the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center residency and the A Room of Her Own Writers’ Retreat. Chloe teaches writing at the University of Maryland University College, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Politics & Prose Bookstore, as well as privately. She has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Contact her and read some of her work at

Established time limits (20 minutes if you are a featured reader, and 3 or 5 minutes if you are an open mic reader) must be observed. The allotted time limits include your introductory statements. Since we have one featured reader this month, open mic readings must be limited to 5 minutes.

2nd Saturday Poets meets at:
The Jackson Inn, Inc.
101 North DuPont Road, Wilmington, DE 19807-3105
Phone: 302-652-9972

Open mic to follow the featured readings! Bring your own poetry or short prose to read.
Please time your reading beforehand and limit your reading to 5 minutes or less.

The Jackson Inn is located at the corner of North DuPont Road and Lancaster Avenue, across the street from the Lancaster Avenue entrance to the Silverbrook Cemetery and facing the large sculpture on the corner of North DuPont Road that fronts the Cab Calloway School for the Performing Arts (the old Wilmington High School). There will be the usual $5 cover, which gifts the featured readers. Free parking is available in the parking lot that surrounds the Inn. The food is tasty and reasonably priced! NOTE: The Jackson Inn holds a tavern license, and while it serves food, it is restricted to the limitations of a tavern for serving alcohol. That means Second Saturday attendees MUST BE 21 or older to attend readings at the Jackson Inn. Hope to see you there! 

Facebook event page here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Before A Writing Coach Session

My writing coach sessions are writer-led. Unlike a class in which you are given an assignment, in a writing coach session you tell me what you are looking to accomplish.

This open-ended quality of a writing coach appointment can be inspiring or paralyzing. It is meant to be inspiring, of course.

Here is a list of things to think about before our first session. We will discuss most, if not all, of them:

What is your writing experience? 
What is your academic, professional, familial, linguistic and geographic background that might influence your writing?
What are your goals (short and long term)?
Why are these your goals and/or what motivates you?
Who is your audience? (Are you looking to publish in literary journals, sell your book or self-publish a book for your family and friends?)
How much time do you have to work on your project? 
What kind of feedback are you looking for? (Overall, line-by-line, or somewhere in between?)
How much direction do you want? (Should I be offering you prompts or do you already have an outline to follow?)
What do you like to read? 
Are you looking for a reading list? 
Do you attend readings, conferences, festivals, etc.?

I like to get to know my clients and understand them. My goal is to help them to intensify their own voices and, ultimately, find readers.

Click through for more on my services as a writing coach.

Monday, October 19, 2015

College Application Season: You'll get it done

High school students are starting - and finishing early! - their college applications and personal statements.

Ok, many are waiting until the last minute and are still frozen with anxiety.

Deep breath, folks. It will all get done. It must and it will.

Early applications are due as early as Nov. 1st. If you haven't started drafting your personal statement yet, start brainstorming now. What experiences in life influenced you? What would you love to do next?

Here's a three part starter prompt for almost any essay prompt: 
Take out a piece of paper and write down your most important moments. Then, write another list of what you wish to have happen. Finally, think about how experiences in college might be able to connect the two. This final step, in which you analyze and draw conclusions about your experiences and goals is the most important part of your essay.

Are you expected to know exactly who you will be in college? Of course not. (If you knew everything, why even go to college?) Do the college essay prompts suggest that you should? Unfortunately, yes. Focus on doing your best to present yourself clearly and fairly. It is expected that the classroom and campus learning experiences during college will change you, but you should have some insight into your experiences up to this point.

Believe in what you write and think at this point in our life. Try your hardest not to second guess yourself. No one at graduation will hold up your application essay and demand to know why you changed your mind after four years.

Give yourself some time each day to brainstorm, write and then edit and revise your essay. Read it first thing each morning, return to work on it in the afternoon and then read it again before you go to sleep. The time between drafts and the time thinking about it both actively and passively will help you to develop a clear essay.

You might also be interested in these posts:
Brainstorming Identity for your Personal Statement: Who are you?
College Application Essays: Think Inside Your Box
Valuing the Creative Side: Thoughts from Harvard Admissions

Need some one-on-one help? I'm available to work with you on your personal statement as your private writing coach. For more about my services, please see this link

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Presenting & Reading @ IASA in Washington, D.C.

I'm looking forward to presenting on two panels at the Italian American Studies Association's (IASA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., this Friday. Stop by and say, "ciao" if you're at the conference! More details here on IASA's website.

Added Value: Food as Symbol in Italian-American Writing
Participants: Chloe Yelena Miller and Rose Solari

Memoir in Contemporary Italian-American Poetry: Balancing Family and Values
Participants: Chloe Yelena Miller, Joey Nicoletti, Rachel Guido De Vries

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quotation & Creativity

I've always liked this quote by the painter Georgia O'Keeffe:

I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.
    - Georgia O'Keeffe

I've come back to this quote as it relates to writing. Yes, you should always read. But you should also write the book you want to read. That is to say, fill the blank pages.

In or around Santa Fe? Visit the museum dedicated to her work.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Semester: Time Management?

I teach college writing classes online to (primarily) adults. Each school has varying schedules, with their semester and course start dates, depending on the length of the class. Classes at two schools started on Monday and while I love the fresh, new start, it can be overwhelming, too. Juggling a number of classes, schedules and students can be confusing at times.

The adult students I teach are also busy. They are usually fitting school between professional careers and family responsibilities. Time management is a concern we address during the first week.

My go-to problem solving idea is to use an electronic calendar. When I teach online, I mark down not only the days the class is meeting, but when work is due, when class discussions are happening and when I plan on grading assignments. Without my trusty calendar, I might not remember to check-in on classes during the non-grading days or forget to grade longer assignments in a timely fashion.

What advice do you follow when you are juggling many responsibilities? 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Attention: Adjuncts!

Are you reading Adjunct Commuter Weekly yet? News, poetry, events, games and more for the on-the-go adjunct. Maybe start with the interview with "platinum commuter" Sam Messer.

Read more about the publication's beginnings on Slate, including an interview with founder (and my former NYU in Florence colleague), Dushko Petrovich. Here's the beginning of the interview:

What made you decide to dedicate an entire publication to commuting adjunct professors?

As you know it’s a huge—and hugely underserved—demographic, and a growing one. [Adjuncts] might not have much disposable income, but I did think it was a community that could stand some more visibility and respect. I wanted to provide them with content that reflects the realities of their lives, products that serve their needs, and a way of forming a kind of community.

I think the adjunct commuter has the potential to be an incredibly influential demographic. They are well-educated and talented, and they are the ones doing most of the teaching at American universities. I think they are the only people who will be able to save the American university from itself. But first they have to recognize and respect themselves as a group, so they can come to terms with the conditions of their employment and do something about it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Memoir Writing: How to Start Writing a Life?

Friends tell you, "You should write that story down!" You've had experiences that changed you. You want to share them with your friends, family and strangers.

But how do you start writing your life story? Telling your grandkids a story over the holiday table is a very different experience from sitting alone with a blank pad of paper.

My memoir writing students at Politics and Prose ask me this question every session. (Click through to register today for the next class that starts Nov. 3.) This is how I answer it:

Start by writing one scene. And then the next and the next. But start small with just one scene. You don't have to start in the beginning. Write the moment that moves you the most. You know the moment: the one you are drawn to telling friends over and over. The one you understand the most or the least, but try to understand it better each time you retell it.

Resist the urge to start by explaining the long backstory. Avoid summarizing your life, every person in it and every place you've been. Trust that the scenes you build will be informed by those details and that many, many details can be left out. Your goal is to hone in on one particular story line from a life well-lived and still being lived.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Writing Prompt: Dialogue

Dialogue can show the differences or similarities between characters. Your goal is to use the right words, emotion and even pauses to reflect a character's background, personality and relationship to the other characters in the scene. This isn't to say that you should rely on stereotypes, but rather your knowledge of that character's unique background, including regional affiliations, education, class, aspirations, politics, gender identification, sexuality, and more.

Nope, that's not easy to do in a short dialogue. And not all of those things will come out in every conversation. But your goal is to know your character so well that you could hint at various aspects of her personal history in a dialogue.

For today's prompt, write an inner monologue for a character. Set a timer for ten minutes and make sure you continue to write for the full ten minutes. You can use someone you are already creating in a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction. You might set that character in an extreme or calm situation. Maybe that character is looking out at the ocean's rising tide and thinking about a loss. Or maybe that character just got off of a crowded subway train, but her friend didn't. Let the character think to herself and go on any tangent that feels right. See what happens.

After the ten minutes are up, read through what you've written and underline any ideas or sentences that you could build on.

Happy writing!

Click through for more writing prompts.

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

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)

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. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Read Like a Writer

As you read through those delicious books you saved for summer, slow down and read like a writer. Here are a three tips: 

1. Be a critic. Notice what you like and don't like. 

If you like something, return to the text and notice how the moment was created. Was it the verbs? Description? Suspense? You might outline the section or the entire piece in order to uncover the skeleton behind the writing. How did the writer create that moment? Learn craft from the text. 

And if you didn't like something? Do the same. Then avoid recreating the same structure in your own writing. 

2. Read the work, all or part, aloud. Listen for the music in the sentences. Reading aloud will slow you down so that you can savor the beauty, rather than just the plot, of the writing. 

3. Study the grammar. Notice where the author used long sentences and short ones in order to alter the pace. What kind of language did the author use? Did she break rules in order to grab the reader's attention? Is she writing more formally or using colloquial slang? Grammar offers guidelines, but it changes with usage. The author is potentially a part of that larger change. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Writing Prompt: Deep Breaths

Even Union Station, D.C., can be peaceful 
if you look up and take three deep breaths

We encourage our son to take three deep breaths when he's frustrated. The purposeful act of pausing, breathing in and breathing out changes your emotions and sense of being, as mediators know well.

For today's prompt, sit in a quiet, cool and dim space. Move away from the hectic work/work/sunshine/rainstorm excitement of summer and take three deep breaths. Notice where the breaths take you physically, emotionally and creatively.

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 know where you end up, if you'd like to share your thoughts in the Comments section below. 

Click through for more writing prompts

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.


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.