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January Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 20, No. 1 January 2020
© 2020 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Life-writing for Good Morale"
* Course Offerings
* "Help Readers With Your Essays"
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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This issue comes with wishes for a productive New Year of life-writing for you. Reading January 2020, Volume 20, above jolts me into realizing how long I've been putting out this newsletter. I took over Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow in 2005 so I'm starting 15 years of The Writing Well and giving online classes. During that time I've enjoyed reading student essays and helping people explore their inner selves along with improving the craft of writing. I hope you have gained insight into the benefits of writing personal essays from reading this newsletter, and even more from taking a course.

Many health issues have been proven to find relief through personal essay writing and so have other aspects of life. One article in this issue considers how such writing improves morale, just one of the areas of well-being that tests have found arise from expressing our thoughts and feelings in the written word.

Sharing our life-writing with others does more than benefit us as writers. It helps readers, as well. That is why memoirs and personal stories are so popular. In exploring our lives, readers learn about themselves as you'll find in the other article.

Don't keep your growth hidden inside. Be sure to check out the paying markets for your gems at

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "Writing becomes a personal forensic. Experience, not belief or intellectual conviction turns prodigal and indecent and subliminal. Vance Bourjaily, novelist, playwright, creative writing teacher
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All courses are conducted by email and begin every Friday. Compare the prices to other online personal essay courses and you'll realize the value offered. Meidabistro=$499, Gotham Writers Workshop=$395,$295 and up, Truby's=$449 to name a few. Don't wait another day. To register now or order a course as a gift visit Writing Courses.
These courses are now offered:
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WTH,WTG writers say...

"My favorite aspect of the course was your feedback, Carol. I've worked with other instructors, coaches and your evaluations are honest without being demoralizing."

"I feel like I have made great progress in writing essays. I now have little hints to make them even better."

"I like the well-written, clearly-explained, abundant information that arrives with each assignment."
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ARTICLE - "Life-writing for Good Morale"
The single most researched arena for the therapeutic value of writing about personal experiences is probably cancer, but studies abound on other conditions and continue to explore still more. Clearly there is interest in identifying the benefits of writing that our life stories provide. Trials and studies cover such an expanse of situations it seems likely that writing honestly about anything will prove helpful. Many benefits relate to various health issues, both physical and mental. Others relate to relationships, habits and moods. A relatively new area of investigation is morale.

Interest in life-writing and morale was stirred by an informal study that didn't seek to test how writing affects morale, or anything else for that matter. The morale effect was a by product of a study designed to examine how living in extreme environments impacts people. Anthropologist Jack Stuster used diary writing as the method to explore how people react psychologically to surroundings uncommon for humans. The environment studied was the International Space Station. From our earthly vantage point, that's as extreme an environment as we can find, for the moment.

When Stuster analyzed anonymous diaries kept by space station inhabitants he spotted the morale connection. Astronauts noticed improved attitude after putting their daily chores and feelings into words. They revealed moments of thrill, boredom, irritation and humor. Sounds like life on earth, doesn't it? While the physical aspects of space living differ greatly from those on earth, the human mind and attitude maintain their orientation.

We may think of space travel as an exotic, fantastical event, but to astronauts it equates to a job or lifestyle with the same issues as those on earth. Studies on employee morale show journaling helps many earthbound workers improve outlook, self-confidence and attitude. So, the next time you feel gravity dropping out of your morale, boost your spirits with a journal break and try launching your stories into the publishing universe.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.
Write about something you've left behind.
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ARTICLE - "Help Readers With Your Essays"
So much is written about the healing powers of personal essays, we may think that the writers are the only ones who benefit from expressing their lives in words. In fact, some time ago I wrote an article here called "Your Stories, Your Health." The focus of that piece was the biological, psychological and behavioral benefits of expressive life-writing to those who practice it. Boosting your own health is clearly a good reason to write your stories and how they shaped your life.

But health isn't the only area of life to benefit from life-writing. You may find other results, like resolution to problems that seem to avoid solving, learning more about your inner self and motivations, uncovering pesky parts of life you didn't realize need resolving. But writers are not the only beneficiaries of these results from their writing. Others benefit, too.

Readers learn from our stories, just as we learn from reading stories about other lives. Readers want to know how you felt and what you thought about the situation you describe so they can become part of it and relate it to their own circumstances. Writing your stories is a way to guide adults who face similar situations to ours to their own resolutions. It even teaches life lessons to children who may encounter in their futures what we face now.

Our readers gain the same rewards from reading our work as we do from reading about someone else's life. Other people's stories inspire us, entertain us, fascinate us, let us escape from ourselves, and teach us about ourselves. They show us other times and cultures, other opinions and philosophies. They let us experience lives we'd like to live and appreciate the lives we do live.

Writing our life stories lets us offer the lessons of our experiences with readers while we heal and grow ourselves. Let your memoirs take people to places they'd never know, some of them as deep within themselves as we go into ourselves while we write.
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Looking for extra income while you help people Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow licenses let you set your own hours as a workshop facilitator. All instructions provided. Individuals, facilities and associations may lead these easy-to-conduct therapeutic writing workshops.

Individuals, facilities and associations may license and conduct these easy-to-lead therapeutic writing and discussion programs:
* Writing for Wellness - Why wait until a specific condition strikes to write to heal? Writing helps maintain good health. This four-week expressive writing and discussion course is designed to help adults maintain good health by: reducing stress levels, improving immune system function, working through negative emotional issues, and increasing working memory. Clinical studies indicate that those who are coached in expressive writing show the greatest improvement in stress levels and memory function. Learn more at: Wellness.
* Writing About Cancer - promotes healing and growth for patients and survivors. Visit Cancer to learn more.
* Writing for Personal Caregivers - contributes to stress reduction and coping. Visit Caregivers to learn more.
* Writing for Health Care Professionals - may be eligible for CEUs in your area. Visit Care Professionals to learn more. You do not need to have special education to be a successful facilitator. What you do need is compassion for people, a desire to help others face their demons and heal, and the ability to talk to others in a group setting and market the workshops. All courses promote personal healing and/or growth. Each license comes with lecture material, a step-by-step facilitator guide, handouts and an evaluation survey. Begin your new career helping others. Email Licensing for details.
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Therapeutic Writing Fact
From: Journal of Affective Disorders,Volume 136, Issue 3 , Pages 310-319, February 2012, "Expressive writing and positive writing for participants with mood disorders: An online randomized controlled trial," by Karen A. Baikie"The expressive writing, positive writing and time management control writing groups all reported significantly fewer mental and physical symptoms for at least 4 months post-writing. When expressive and positive writing groups were combined, the resulting 'emotional writing group' showed significantly lower scores on the DASS (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale) subscale than the control writing group at all time-points."
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Contact the source listed for details and to request guidelines. An extensive list of paying markets for personal essays appears at Markets. Writing to Heal,Writing to Grow does not screen or endorse these listings. Submit at your own risk and always check guidelines first. Good luck! If a link doesn't work search for the title or type.

Accenti Writing Contest is open to international writers in English. Topic open, word max 2,000. Three prize levels in Canadian dollars are: First prize $1,000, two runner-ups of $100, and a popular vote prize of $100. All winners published.Deadline Feb. 3, fee $30. The fee is a bit steep but the first prize is generous. Learn all about it at Accenti.

Caregiver's Home Companion focuses on children taking care of elderly parents. "How I Cope" first-person column features challenges facing the caregiver linked to tested solutions, preferably experienced by the writer. Learn submission details at: Caregiver's Home Companion.

True Story Contest , welcomes a true story from your life. Easy requirements: at least 100 words, covers a moment, feeling, an object or... you decide. Winner paid $100. Prose only. Great for beginners since all entries will receive feedback, a rare offering from contests or publishers. Deadline Feb. 13. Find out more at True Story.

Share personal essay markets you know about. Email them to and I'll add them to the website list.
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