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July Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 19, No. 7 July 2019
© 2019 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Sure-fire Memory Stokers"
* Course Offerings
* "Share Memory and Skills"
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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We all have days, week, months and maybe even years, when nothing seems to go right. Serial mishaps often involve common things that we take for granted because they usually go right. How we deal with these events make perfect topics for personal essays to share.

Don't think your life is too common to produce valuable life stories. Every life is unique yet we all participate in the human experience. The experiences we share help others identify with our plight and give them tips on how to handle their next such episode. People like to learn how others handle the common events that turn lives into centrifuges. That's why the personal essay genre continues to thrive.

If you struggle with topics from your life, consult the article "Sure-fire Memory Stokers." You’ll find ways to identify lessons you've learned that will help others in similar situations.

To share more than personal reactions to events, consider the article "Share Memory and Skills." Personal stories can blend well with information about jobs, hobbies or other areas where you have expertise. You can expand readers' knowledge about areas they may not know about while they learn from your life lessons.

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: "Stories are how we find meaning in this often confusing world; our hunger for meaning is a basic instinct that makes us human.. Chuck Leddy, National Book Critics Circle member
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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...

"You have a wonderful style of giving constructive criticism--that is, being kind but honest."

"I liked the convenience of getting the lecture and assignment at home"

"I have learned a lot that will help me focus in order to some day write my own book."

"The lectures were helpful, the assignments gave me real direction in how to begin, and the critiques were useful and encouraging."
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ARTICLE - "Sure-fire Memory Stokers"
Once we start up the memory train, one recollection leads to another. If you sometimes have trouble choosing a topic, try some of these techniques to budge your memory train out of the station.

Sort through pictures from various times of life to prime your memory locomotive. Think about who you see in a photo and what happened right before and right after the picture was taken for a more complete narrative. Pictures make good reminders of travel tales and so do travel documents. While looking through photos, take a look at the visa stamps in your passport.

Photos may lead to reminiscing about holiday rituals and daily habits. Try to remember how the routines began and why. Recall stories from older relatives about family rituals as well as your own memory for daily habits.

Rituals usually involve food. Do you still insist on your childhood favorites or have you discovered new menus for special occasions? What memorable meals do you recall from your favorite restaurants and how have they impacted your life?

Food brings aromas and the scents of a place or time or person stir vivid memories. Kitchen aromas from earlier in life recall the events that surrounded them. What feelings do you recall when exposed to the scent of a woman’s perfume or a man’s after shave from your past, or present? What track do those feelings travel?

Music often accompanies food events. Check the Internet for lists of songs from different times of your life. Do you hear the steam hissing from your memory engine yet?

Books, weather events, collections, journals, and chats with elders can all stoke your memory engine. Once it starts rolling, you may be surprised at the where it takes you.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.
Write about your most cherished freedom. What does it mean to you?
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ARTICLE - "Share Memory and Skills"
Recently I reread a book that blended memoir with career in a unique way. The career was limnology, the study of lakes and other inland bodies of water. The book is called Water, Ice & Stone: Science and Memory on the Antarctic Lakes. Author Bill Green shared a record of one of his trips to study the properties of lakes in Antarctica. But he gives us much more than a record of that particular trip. He blends memories triggered by events experienced during the journey. This book is a model for mixing personal stories with educational material, the past with the present, the personal with the academic.

This resonated with me because I became obsessed with Antarctica and related (on a much smaller sale) to some of Green's thoughts and concerns about a truly unique experience. You don't need a theme as unusual as Antarctica to engage readers with your talents and skills or to provide information and entertainment your readers might not find elsewhere. You can share the parts of your life in ways that readers can relate to and learn from whether your subject is rare or common. Your perspective is new to others, even when dealing with a well-known event or situation.

If you wonder what topic to focus on for a tantalizing memoir, read the article in this issue about ways to trigger memories. Once you get started, you may be surprised at how readily one memory starts a domino string to action.

To follow Green's format, think about a part of your life that may be unusual or unknown by most people. What jobs have you had that new acquaintances find interesting or surprising? For instance, long ago I had a job that involved promoting an auto racing team. To this day, when people learn about this part of my past they are intrigued. They just can’t see me hanging out in the pits and talking car talk. Have you done something that is unusual for your personality type, gender, or another trait?

Hobbies can be just as uncommon as careers. What do you spend free time on that readers might wonder how you became interested in? This type of narrative blends personal stories with general learning for readers. Your story is unique no matter the topic because it is yours alone. Share yourself and learn about you while you inform others.
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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: "How Does the Act of Writing Affect Your Brain?" "Writing can serve as a calming, meditative tool. Stream of conscious writing exercises, in particular, have been identified as helpful stress coping methods. Keeping a journal, for example, or trying out free-writing exercises, can drastically reduce your levels of stress."
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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.

True Story Contest welcomes writing that shares a moment, an object, a feeling, etc. Does not have to be a profound memory, but should allow readers insight into your feelings, observations and/or thoughts. It can even be short but at least 100 words. Winner receives $100. All submissions will receive feedback. Deadline July 30. No fee. Submit your entry at True Story Contest.

Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards seeks book projects. If you have one ready to go hurry.Deadline July 15, reading fee $30. No page limit. That means short or long, whatever it takes to accomplish your writing goal. Open to all writers (assume in English though not stated). Fiction and creative nonfiction eligible in any genre. Past winners include flash fiction, essays and complete books or excerpts. And the prize? Winner gets $1,500 and two runners up get $500. All three are offered no-obligation book contracts. Work must be ready for publication with this time restraint. Learn more and submit at Santa Fe Writers. Nonfiction Contest closes September 2. Fee $15. Winner receives $500 and publication. Finalists also published and receive small honorarium. Takes personal essay, memoir, creative nonfiction and more. Cover letter required. Submit online. Learn more at

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