Saturday, March 26, 2016

Finding Time

The endless cliches about time slipping through our fingers are cliches for a reason. Our time each day is finite.

If we only have short bursts of time to write, revise, submit and read each day, how can we make those few minutes count?

Reading my current piece each morning and at night helps me to work through it even when I'm not technically writing. If I choose a particular "problem" or, more positively, "challenge," to sort out during the day, then I can attempt to focus on that during down moments (laundry, washing the dishes.) I might even email myself a copy of the piece so that I review it on the phone at any point in the day.

How do you best use your time for writing?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Amy Bucklin's Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why You Need an Editor for Your Memoir

Are you submitting your memoir to small presses or agents? Considering self-publishing? You want your ideas and writing to shine. Amy Bucklin, an editor and writer, outlines the benefits of hiring an editor below. I encourage you to visit her company website, Clear Sky Writing, for more.

5 Reasons Why You Need an Editor for Your Memoir

Finishing your memoir is a tremendous accomplishment. You’ve crafted your story and revised and honed your manuscript. Now you’re done! Or are you?

There is one more step you should consider: hiring an editor.

All writers, from first-time authors to published pros like Stephen King and Elizabeth Gilbert, benefit from the objective eye and professional expertise of an editor.

A professional editor can make your manuscript more:

1. Focused – Is that scene with Aunt Mabel at your third birthday party integral to the story? No one knows your life better than you do, but that makes it hard for you to spot areas where the narrative digresses or contains too much detail. A professional editor will help you shape your memoir and remain focused on your central theme.

2. Clear – An editor can make suggestions on word choice and sentence structure, help you trim unnecessary words and phrases, and identify where you need more — or less — detail.

3. Readable – An editor can assist you with the flow of your writing and transitions between paragraphs and chapters. He or she will also help you pinpoint and cut dense paragraphs, clich├ęs, and overused words and phrases. This will result in a piece that is easier and more enjoyable to read.

4. Accurate – Editors make sure you use consistent spelling, capitalization, nicknames, place names, and facts. They also correct grammar and typos. While these may seem like trivial details, inconsistencies and inaccuracies can be distracting to a potential publisher and your reader.

5. Professional – Working with an editor before you send your manuscript out can help catch the attention of a publisher. If you plan to self-publish, it will result in a memoir that is more likely to be read, treasured, and shared for generations to come.

Amy Bucklin is an editor and writer with 18 years of experience helping individuals and companies make their writing more clear and effective. She works with clients across the nation on a variety of projects, including editing and proofreading manuscripts, articles, blog and social media posts, brochures, and website content. 

You can learn more about Amy’s services and experience at

Monday, March 7, 2016

Upcoming Spring Memoir Writing Workshops (D.C.)

I’m excited to announce my upcoming spring classes. I’ll be teaching memoir writing workshops at Politics and Prose Bookstore and a one time session at the Guy Mason Recreation Center in Glover Park, D.C. Details below. You’re welcome to take one or all of the courses.

Looking for private writing coach sessions? I can tailor a course that fits your interests and needs. It can include prompts, reading assignments, feedback and more. Read more about my services here.

Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com)


At the Guy Mason Recreation Center, I’ll be teaching:

Memoir Writing Workshop: Crafting Scenes
Wednesday, March 23, 2-3:30 PM
Free and open to the public
3600 Calvert Street, NW (there’s a large parking lot next to the building)
Class description:
Make your memoir lively, descriptive and plot driven, just like a good novel. In this workshop, we will discuss how to write scenes, rather than relying on summary. We will do some writing during the workshop. Please bring a pen and paper or a charged laptop to class. Writers of all levels welcome.

At Politics and Prose Bookstore, I’ll be teaching:

Mixed Level Memoir Writing Workshop
Four Tuesdays: April 19, 26, May 3, 10, 10:30 a.m. – noon
**If you’ve taken this class before, you might consider taking it again. There are usually 1-3 returning students in the group. The format of the class remains the same, but the discussion varies greatly, depending on the current participants.
Class description:
It's never too early or too late to start writing your memoir. 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.
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.

Publishing Your Memoir: Submitting to Journals, Presses and Agents
Single Session: Tuesday, April 19, 1 – 3 p.m.
** This is a new class that I will be co-teaching with Cynthia Kane, an author, development editor, and the lead literary agent with Capital Talent Agency in D.C. We went to graduate school together and she continues to be an inspiration. You can read more about her here.
You might also be interested in her forthcoming book, How to Communicate Like a Buddhist.
Class description:
Done with the difficult work of writing and -- having celebrated a piece you are proud of -- are now ready to tackle the submission process? We can help! Whether you are submitting personal essays or have a full manuscript ready, this class, led by a published author and literary agent, will teach you how to put together a successful proposal and give yourself the best chance for success. Creative non-fiction author and literary agent Cynthia Blair Kane and writer Chloe Yelena Miller will discuss the steps toward getting published. Topics will include submitting smaller pieces to magazines and literary journals, the do’s and don'ts of cover letters, what to include in your proposal, myths about publishers and agents, where to find literary agents and what agents and publishers are looking for. Participants are encouraged to bring questions.

Memoir Writing: Legal, Ethical, and Moral Concerns
Single Session: Tuesday, April 26, 1 – 3 p.m.
Class Description:

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 issues. 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.