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February Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 17, No.2 February 2017
© 2017 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

CONTENTS
* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Why No Essay Writing Group?"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "Memoir or Creative Nonfiction?
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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CAROL'S COMMENTS
          Follow writingtoheal on Twitter

February 2017 celebrations include days to honor ground hogs, love, past presidents, the start of Lent, and a slew of silly and truly bizarre things to proclaim. There is even a Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

While great reading for kids, fairy tales are not what readers expect from life-writing and do not help writers heal or grow. So what does the creative nonfiction genre, where personal stories are usually categorized, entail?

The term is often used and more often misused even by industry experts. Everyone probably agrees that nonfiction is comprised of material that is factual. Most consider creative as dealing with stories that are created, the product of imagination. These definitions work fine for each word separately, but what do they mean when joined? Defining creative nonfiction is the topic of an article below.

The other article answers a question some students have asked about writing groups. Both articles pertain to the area of personal writing which you will surely be busy with as this year moves along. Make writing part of every day. You don't have to complete an essay in one day, indeed it probably won’t be very good if you do, but even a short journal entry puts your mind in life-writing mode.

Then share your stories with the world. Find paying markets for your gems on page 4 and posted on the website at www.writingtoheal.com Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
carol@writingtoheal.com
www.writingtoheal.com
www.twitter.com/writingtoheal
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Memoir Quote: "A memoir is a true story, a work of narrative built directly from the memory of its writer, with an added element of creative research." Bill Roorbach, author Writing Life Stories
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COURSE OFFERINGS ~
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, Writers.com=$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:
* * * * *
WRITING PERSONAL ESSAYS Personal Essays
* * * * *
WRITING PERSONAL ESSAYS--ADVANCED WPE Advanced.
* * * * *
YOUR LIFE IN ESSAYS Your Life.
* * * * *
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WTH,WTG writers say...

"Thanks for creating this course for everyone to enjoy writing no matter what their skill level is."

"I liked the insights and suggestions from your critiques, and the motivation from the deadlines."

"The experience was enriching and I loved receiving the comments on my essays and felt comfortable writing about personal issues. I'm a better person and better writer for it."

"I loved receiving the comments on my essays and felt comfortable writing about personal issues."
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ARTICLE - "Why No Essay Writing Group?"
Some students in the writing courses taught at Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow express interest in forming in-person groups to share and discuss their writing. Involvement in writing groups offers a valuable service, if you find the right group for you. But online writing courses like this one aren't conducive to such a group.

First, is the matter of timing and logistics. Online courses serve an international market and getting together in a local cafe just won't happen. An online forum is a possibility but not all students want to join a chat room setting so there could be times when only one student was present.

Second, students have varying degrees of experience writing in general and in personal essay writing in particular. Not all comments will help all writers. As in all groups, some people join for validation rather than for constructive advice and take offense when they don't receive the feedback they expect. Some members tend to see more value in their opinions than is warranted.

Most important, the nature of work that students submit ranges from light-hearted, humorous anecdotes, to serious inner exploration and revelation. The latter usually are not life stories that the writers want to share with strangers, even in a private forum. When you register for a course you are promised confidentiality. That is why no identification appears with the testimonials posted in the website and newsletter. Honesty is crucial to obtaining the healing benefits of life-writing and we all hold back when we suspect a larger audience will view and judge our work. This is true even among experienced writers. The first stage of personal writing is self-exploration. If we plan to publish or share in any way with others, we edit for, among the mechanical and clarity elements, content that we want to keep private.

I don't share anyone's name or work with others and I don't judge the actions or opinions exposed in students' work. The comments deal with writing techniques and making the content more impactful for readers. In-person groups just don't work in this setting.

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PERSONAL ESSAY TOPIC
Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about the most romantic event you've experienced and how it impacted your life.
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ARTICLE - "Memoir or Creative Nonfiction?"
Many of the resources listed in the Paying Markets section of this newsletter call for creative nonfiction submissions. The term creative nonfiction confuses many writers, even industry insiders, especially when associated with personal essay writing. Our life stories are expected to be nonfiction, while creative writing is expected to be whatever a writer imagines

It certainly sounds like an oxymoron to describe something pledged to be factual as a creative work. Many have tried to clarify the genre of creative nonfiction over the years, a term that has become widely used even though no one seems to fully understand its meaning. Clearly it encompasses personal essay writing which is why markets that take it appear in Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow and The Writing Well. Given that I list places where the genre is desired, I decided to do more thorough research than I've done in the past to learn when and where this term came to life and what it really entails. The latest answer may surprise you. I say latest because after a great deal of searching, several starting points emerged, each earlier then the previous. There may still be earlier mentions of the term and definition that remain undiscovered.

Many discussions about creative nonfiction as a genre claim it began with what was also called new journalism in the 1960s and 1970s. Some journalists felt the facts weren't always exciting to read and many readers would not read the whole story once they learned the gist. The remedy for this was to begin with a sensational event written like a fictional scene with action and description that would captivate readers and draw them into the rest of the news.

The beginning of creative nonfiction came long before this century according to the best definition I found which I'll get to soon. A variety of articles credit different people with coining the term in various years. One of the most often speculated is Lee Gutkind who founded the magazine Creative Nonfiction in the mid-1990s (from which contests appear often in this newsletter). That sounds reasonable since he used the name for his magazine and also used it as the name of a writing course he taught in the 1970s. But one source credits earlier uses to the term as a prize category awarded by the Canadian Authors Association in 1942 and 1943. However, the CAA site calls those the Governor General's Award for Nonfiction, no mention of creative, in the listings for recipient books. So the real beginning remains uncertain.

A definition from William Bradley seems to work. He describes creative nonfiction as "the real world as its author perceives it, but the execution is artful, not merely informative." That includes memoir, essay, literary journalism and any personal experiences you write. The creative part refers to writing technique, the nonfiction part to true stories about people, yourself or others.
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BECOME A LICENSEE!
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: Dallas Morning News, June 02, 2015, "Doctors recognizing that reading, writing can be therapeutic”\"by Elizabeth Hamilton."Some doctors have also begun to see storytelling as a way to improve emotional well-being. A movement called narrative medicine has grown from the idea that both writing and reading literature can help doctors and patients communicate better and discover meaning in the illnesses they battle.... 'If you have an experience and you sit down and write about it, you can pour that emotion out,' [Dr. John] Harper says. Purging these thoughts and emotions helps to find meaning in what happened."
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MARKETS FOR PERSONAL ESSAYS
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.
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Penelope Niven Award in Creative Nonfiction gives $1,000 to the winner and, at the judge's discretion, a $150 honorable mention. Work up to 5,000 words must be unpublished. Deadline Feb. 15, fee $15. Learn all the details at: Penelope Niven Award.

Generation Faith Contest is open to full-time high school and college students. Seeks personal essays from 800 to 1,200 words on the joys and challenges of living out (or struggling with) one's faith. Wining entry receives $1,000 and publication in America, a publication of America Media. All entries may be published.Deadline March 3. Find all the rules and submission info at: America Media.

Your Turn Essay Contest sponsored by The Writer Magazine pays $1,000 and publication to the winning essay about any aspect of the writing life. 2,000 words max. Accepts online submissions through submittable only. Deadline Feb. 25, fee $2 Additional entries for $15 each up to five total. Must be 18 or older to enter. Check the pertinent details, and there are some, at: The Writer Magazine.

Share personal essay markets you know about. Email them to carol@writingtoheal.com and I'll add them to the website list.
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To receive the newsletter by email, subscribe at carol@writingtoheal.com and type Subscribe in the Subject box. Your email address will not be sold or distributed to others without your advance permission. Thank you for reading. To unsubscribe put unsubscribe in the Subject box.


 

January Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 16, No.13 January 2017
© 2017 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

CONTENTS
* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Why Resolutions?"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "Look Forward, Look Back"
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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CAROL'S COMMENTS
          Follow writingtoheal on Twitter

Most media fill end of year space or air time with a rehash of the year's highlights. We hear the lead stories from the closing year, or the most controversial or humorous or emotional ones, instead of new content. It's far easier to search through archives and select a few choice offerings from the past year than to spend time creating new content. It's a tradition that serves many media well during a time when people, including program managers and other employees, are overloaded with personal chores and many are on vacation. This is an easy way to fill space and the temptation is great to follow the media notables.

This practice has long irritated me although I sometimes do it, but this year I gained a different perspective. Personal writing is all about the past, reflecting on what has happened. Reviewing the past is what I encourage readers and students to do with their lives in order to produce meaningful, healing essays. Don’t stop that practice and don’t confine it to year end. Write what moves you as you explore your life.

Then share your stories with the world. Find paying markets for your gems on page 4 and posted on the website at www.writingtoheal.com Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
carol@writingtoheal.com
www.writingtoheal.com
www.twitter.com/writingtoheal
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Memoir Quote: "When the past is securely nailed to the page, we can use it as an anchor while we adventure into the rest of our lives." Susan Carol Hauser, author You Can Write a Memoir
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COURSE OFFERINGS ~
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, Writers.com=$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:
* * * * *
WRITING PERSONAL ESSAYS Personal Essays
* * * * *
WRITING PERSONAL ESSAYS--ADVANCED WPE Advanced.
* * * * *
YOUR LIFE IN ESSAYS Your Life.
* * * * *
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
WTH,WTG writers say...

"I felt comfortable writing about personal events without being judged."

"I looked forward to receiving your comments, and I went back to every essay to make improvements right after I got your critique."

"The feedback from your course was always positive yet constructive."

"The critiques got to the essence of my writing, and you encouraged me to reveal my thoughts and feelings more fully."
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ARTICLE - "Why Resolutions?"
Two questions plague me at this time of year. Why does the start of the year seem the time to set a new course? and Why do we persist in making resolutions at all?

First question, first. Why do we feel obligated to make resolutions at the start of a new year? Every year is filled with starts. That much-heard reminder that "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" attests to the abundance of new opportunities for change. We have 365 beginnings each year (many more if we consider hours) so why focus on day one? This led me to my never-fail delaying tactic of researching the history of New Year's resolutions. I found many answers but the most prolific one placed the practice in ancient Babylon when promises were made to pagan gods at the start of a new year. Other cultures adopted similar actions over the centuries. Like everything else on earth, resolutions have changed over the past 4,000 years. They began as promises to gods, and eventually to God, but today they are much more likely to be promises to ourselves. Today, some religions forbid resolutions, others hold resolution prayer services on New Year's eve. But they are essentially secular in nature. Probably we persist from a tradition the origin of which is long forgotten.

The scond question is more difficult to explain. For me, birthday is a more apt time to rethink life and consider changes, but that only alters the timing, not the practice. And it doesn't make the resolution any more successful. We really should pay attention all the time, every day, and if something needs changing take action as soon as we realize it rather than waiting until the next January 1. Most resolutions don’t last past February, so why bother or wait a whole year of dealing with a situation that needs change now?

If you realize the need for change January 1, then don't wait to act. And if spending more time writing your personal stories and reflecting on your life is a change you aspire to, this is a good time to make a plan. But any time is a good time for life-writing. It doesn't take a promise, it just takes a desire and discipline. Why not start now? No resolution required.
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PERSONAL ESSAY TOPIC
Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about why you do or don't make New Year's resolutions.
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ARTICLE - "Looking Forward by Looking Back"
When the year turns, pundits of all variety make predictions for the coming year, but first, they recap highlights of the year past. Often those highlights form the basis of predictions. They look forward by looking back.

The resolutions we make at New Year's time, if we make any at all, tend to stem from past mistakes, omissions or unrequited desires. We look back at things we did right and try to improve further. We look back to projects gone wrong and avoid repeating those or look for ways to make them work in an encore effort. We look back at the things we failed to realize and add them to next year’s list.

We build our futures on the lessons learned from life experiences. By reflecting on the results of life events and writing about what they meant to us and how they shaped us, we learn how to construct a better future.

Who we are today and who we are on the way to becoming, result from our pasts: what we've done, what we've not done; where we've been, where we haven't been; what we've learned, what we've ignored. All the experiences we’ve enjoyed, dreaded or avoided contribute to how we will conduct our lives in the future.

We can't go back and make different decisions in our past, but we can learn what worked for us and what didn't work and use those experiences as guidelines as we go forward.

A new year makes us think ahead to better times and better habits. But our personal writing material comes from experiences already behind us. Although the turning of a calendar page from one year to another has become a traditional time for renewal, every day offers a new beginning, a new opportunity to write about events from pages turned long ago. So don't forget to reflect on the past as you make resolutions and choose your future writing topics.

Use your reflections on the past to build a better future. Look forward by looking back. Here are some reasons to write about your reflections.

• It's healthful. Writing reduces stress which leads to many health problems.
• It's therapeutic. Writing has presented psychological and physical gifts to people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses, unemployment, rape and other adversities.
• It's educational. We learn about ourselves from our exploration and analysis of the feelings and motivations that have made us who we are.
• It's fun. Personal essays aim to entertain, as well as inform. Humor communicates all messages better, no matter how dark the topic seems to us.
• It's a way to give of yourself. Nothing connects relatives like the sharing of family and personal memories. From today forward, make personal writing a habit.
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BECOME A LICENSEE!
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: Numerous studies and clinical trials on therapeutic/expressive writing. Studies show strong positive results with these conditions and others: • Lung functioning in asthma • Disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis • Pain and physical health in cancer • Immune response in HIV infection • Sleep-onset latency in poor sleepers • Diabetes • Stress reduction • Working memory improvement • Depression • Immune system efficiency • Post-traumatic symptoms reduced and many more physical and emotional conditions.
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MARKETS FOR PERSONAL ESSAYS
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.
* * * *
Narratively magazine seeks submissions and pitches for first-person stories from 1,000-2,000 words. They want unique and incredible stories that illuminate universal ideas that go beyond your own life so ramp up your craft to meet all the best elements of personal essays. Payment promised but they don’t say how much. Learn more at: Narratively.

The Funny Times wants funny stories and not much is off limits. Pays $60 for accepted work of 500-700 words. They mean funny so make sure someone other than you laughs at your work. Poking fun at the human condition is encouraged. Editors like 3-5 stories submitted together. Check details at Funny Times.

Green Prints magazine focuses on the human side of gardening, not the how-to side. Pays up to $150 or 2,000 words max. Must be true and thoughtful, humorous, angry, contrite, flippant, searching, witty, observant, sad, inviting or whatever human attitude or emotion you express. Learn more about what the magazine calls a good story. It fits the personal essay model and offers good advice for any personal writing topic. Find details at: Green Prints.

Share personal essay markets you know about. Email them to carol@writingtoheal.com and I'll add them to the website list.
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To receive the newsletter by email, subscribe at carol@writingtoheal.com and type Subscribe in the Subject box. Your email address will not be sold or distributed to others without your advance permission. Thank you for reading. To unsubscribe put unsubscribe in the Subject box.