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July Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 14, No. 7 July 2014 © 2014 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Stick to Your Story"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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June has ended and that means we are beginning the final half of the year. How are you coming with meeting your writing goals? What, you didn't set any goals? Well, it's never to late to start writing.

Several years ago at a meeting of writers, the speaker told of her career which involved publishing one novel a year for 30 consecutive years. That's excellent output for anyone, but the inspiring thing about this speaker is that she was 90 years old and still writing. For novels that is remarkable. For life stories, at that age and beyond we have acquired so many experiences our challenge is to keep our memories and ourselves alive and actively writing those memories. We have plenty of material.

Once you get started you may find several stories blending into one essay. That confuses readers but fear not, the article on page 2 gives some tips on how to stick to the story you are writing. All those blended stories will not be wasted. They provide you with future stories to relate with the full attention each of our memories deserves.

If you aren't taking a writing course at the moment (it's not too late for that, either) the book review may help you start your life-writing project with a process for organizing your thoughts. But, no matter how much you read about how to write your stories, you have to get started for all that instruction to do any good. And we all benefit from feedback.

Look for paying markets for your work on this below and on the Paying Markets menu.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "In a way, your memoir is your scrapbook." Susan Carol Hauser, author You Can Write a Memoir .
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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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WRITING TO SELL Writing to Sell.
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WTH,WTG writers say...

"The course gave me more than I thought possible for the little investment she [Carol] asked for her time and attention. The return is priceless."

"I enjoy all I am learning, thank you."

"I appreciate having an assignment to focus on and to draft, write and re-write. It's therapy for me and with the way things are going, it's much needed therapy."

"I think writing is an amazing way to not only cope with the battles life presents you with but to help others do the same."

"Thanks for the good critique. I see and understand your suggestions."
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ARTICLE - Stick to Your Story
Every life overflows with stories, yet tackling a complete autobiography dealing with an entire life up to the present, or even a memoir focusing on one aspect of that life, intimidates many would-be life-writers. If that describes you, consider a personal essay. The shorter form and limited subject matter should relieve any anxiety about putting your stories into written words.

But limited space requires special attention in the writing. With longer works we can afford to stray from the topic a bit without losing readers. In short works, however, sticking to the story is crucial.

The opening sets up readers for what's to come and that's what they expect. Leading your readers astray drags them right out of the story perhaps never to return to any of your writing. What we exclude is as important as what we include to keep readers tuned in. But tightwriting takes thought. Mark Twain has been quoted as saying that given more time he would have written less.

Details play a major role in sticking with your story. The details we include should give readers enough description to form their own accurate picture, but not so much that they cast us aside or wonder what the point is and if it's worth discovering by reading on. Details should enhance your story and draw readers into your life. Here are some things to consider.

• Use details that focus on the theme.
• Include what readers need to know about you and the event and omit what they don't.
• Select only one or two details that capture the core of a place, person or event. That will
   stimulate readers to create a reasonably accurate picture.
• Choose details that convey your feelings about the theme.

Carefully selected details keep readers in the story, where you want them. So, once you decide on a story stick to it.
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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 gave up on and wish you hadn't. Explore why you didn't see it through.
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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: Handbook of Low-Cost Interventions to Promote Physical and Mental Health, various contributors, Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin. "An increasing number of studies indicate that having people write about their deeply felt emotions and thoughts can result in healthy improvements in social, psychological, behavorial, and biological measures."
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Book Review ~ Shimmering Images by Lisa Dale Norton
In Shimmering Images, author Lisa Dale Norton's writing guide of just over 100 pages is divided into three parts: "The Ideas Behind the Process," "The Process" and "The Tools to Craft the Process." Norton focuses on a writing process she discovered based on what she calls the technique of shimmering images, hence the title.

The opening section deals with the concept of memoir and the elements Norton says it should contain. Things like finding your voice, truth and honesty, and the transforming experience. Honesty involves including your real self, not omitting critical issues or slanting your own or another person's actions to either whitewash or tarnish reality. Norton says, "Your job as a memoirist is not to protect other people…. Neither is it to blame, point fingers, or savage other people." We must recognize that memory can be faulty and that our truths may not agree with someone else's truth about a given event.

The middle section discusses the actual process of memoir writing touted by the author. This process will not give instant gratification. A series of exercises begins with capturing shimmering images of memory and noting a few descriptive words about each that comes to mind as you go about life. You need a good supply of these images so be prepared to make notes any time or place. Eventually, Norton wants you to draw a snaking river on which to enter each event with a short description, a graphic list that may require butcher paper since it will be a long river. Norton wants you to tack that river to a wall near your writing area for handy and constant reference.

This section also contains questions to answer about each event to help you find the Heart of the Story (author's caps): how they make you feel and why they are important. Know you may uncover things you didn't know about yourself. This is hard work but crucial to memoir writing. Norton tells us, "only from a place of personal clarity will you have access to the Heart of the Story, and only when you access that Heart will you find a structure that can best house it."

The final section defines some tools to use in crafting your memoir. Norton explains the difference between narration and reflection and how to use both. She gives advice for writing from the appropriate age and situation perspective for the characters, tells how to create scenes like movies and how to create word paintings while avoiding cliches. Her parting advice in Shimmering Images is to "remember that the primary importance is making narrative…not whether you do or do not publish a book."
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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 cut and paste the URL into your browser or search for the title.
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Good Housekeeping's All About Love Writing Contest takes 2,500 to 3,000 word essays about love or romance. Top prize of $2,000 and possible publication in the print and/or online edition of GH. No Fee. Deadline Sept. 1. Must be 21 or older and a legal resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec.) See more at: Good Housekeeping.
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The Sun magzine takes memoirs up to 7,000 words. Pays $300-$1,500 for nonficton (that’s what your memoir should be). Read the magazine before submitting is always recommended but especially with this pub. Send complete manuscript. Check details at The Sun .

The New York Times places personal essays in two sections. Lives takes true stories up to 800 words. More at: Lives. Modern Love items run 1,500 to 1,700 words. More at: Modern Love. Pay not mentioned. Check this site for tips on boosting your acceptance chances: NYT Personal Essay Tips takes personal tales in the Life section. Pay and word length not mentioned in guidelines, but examples run from 2,000 to 2,500 words. Learn more and read published pieces at:

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