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May Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 16, No.5 May 2016
© 2016 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Do You Sabotage Your Stories?"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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Life-writing topics arise every day. Think of the columnists, Erma Bombek and Dave Barry for two, who made careers writing about daily experiences and sharing their take on what happened. Many of their topics have happened to all of us, proof that it doesn't take an exotic life to entertain and inform readers. In fact, the more universal your life stories, the more valuable they are as learning tools for your readers to apply to their own lives. May hosts two holidays that provide great topics: Mother’s Day and Armed Forces Day.

A gift only you can give your mother is a personal essay about a special moment you've spent together or a lesson you've learned from her. Even if you're relationship has been rocky, you have thoughts to share that mom may not realize impacted your life. And even if you don't give her the essay, you will be helped by exploring your feelings and memories.

Do you know anyone in the military? Most families have at least one member who would love to learn what you think about their service, how you feel when they are deployed. Encouraging them to write about their experiences can benefit them as well. Expressive writing serves as an adaptation tool for many returning from combat zones and fighting PTSD.

Share your stories with the world and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Find paying markets on the tab above.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote:"The more you include elements of the world outside your personal howl, the more opportunity readers have to align their own experience with yours." Lisa Dale Norton, author Shimmering Images: A Handy Guide to Writing 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...

"I could access the information on my own and work independently. I liked this method and I thought that the content of the lectures was helpful in expanding my knowledge of essay writing."

"Thank you for your helpful comments and the great course material."

"This course has been very therapeutic for me and I would like to take the next one."

"Your comments were very constructive and valuable."
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ARTICLE - Do You Sabotage Your Stories?
Writers of all genres often hear warnings that editors and publishers look for reasons to reject our work. Readers expect the same courtesy, perhaps even more than editors. Typos and other errors often cause readers to turn to another source of information or enjoyment. We all have limited time to spend on reading and a mammoth amount of choices. It doesn't take much to knock us off track.

You put effort into exploring and sharing your deepest self, don't you want readers to stick with you to the end? A critical element in memoir is trust. Lazy errors, in addition to irritating readers, make them wonder how reliable you are and jolt them out of the story.

We owe it to our readers and ourselves to provide a reading experience that will keep the pages turning, or the mice scrolling, and it takes more than a good story to do that. It takes clear, well structured, grammatically correct, non-repetitive writing to hold interest. Readers notice typos (which sometimes appear to be a lack of knowledge or care by the writer instead of mistakes of the fingers), strange words, confusing word arrangements, peculiar punctuation and grammar, and other writing errors. Those writing slips make readers' attention drift away from your story and into your flaws, perhaps toward someone else's efforts.

pos occur in increasing numbers in every type of publication: in best selling books by top publishers, in magazines and newspapers with long-standing reputations, on websites of every inclination. Many things beyond our control can impact reader response to our work, but many others we do take blame or credit for. Readers look for reasons to reject our stories but we can avoid giving them reasons caused by our own lack of attention to our work. Let's fight reader rejection by not sabotaging our life stories.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about the most touching act of kindness you have witnessed.
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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: Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2005), vol. 11, 338–346, "Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing," by Karen A. Baikie & Kay Wilhelm. "Expressive writing results in significant improvements in longer-term physical health outcomes such as illness-related visits to the doctor, blood pressure, lung function, liver function... Expressive writing has also produced significant benefits in a number of measures of immune system functioning."
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Book Review ~ Not Now, Voyager by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
The purpose of this book was to write "about the world inside my head; you can't get any more private than that," author Lynne Sharon Schwartz tells us in the preface. For a subject, or theme, she chose travel, not a travelogue, but an exploration of why we do it, should we do it, what we get out of it. As Schwartz journeyed further into the manuscript, she found it had become more memoir than travel.

Although she had traveled a good deal, at that oment in life she had no desire to go anywhere but she found another variation on the memoir genre, expanding its versatility. She discovered that by recalling travel memories she could take a trip without going. She chose only three locations to explore from different times in her life but wound them around her philosophies, with emphasis on the Tao te Ching which she quotes often. Several pages are devoted to this text and various translations of it which had little to do with her theme, but did get into her head in the form of analysis. The influence the book had on her life was equally unclear. Although she quotes the book often, she seldom offers how it impacts her life.

More than a narrative, Not Now, Voyager is a collection of essays that doesn't always bring logic to the theme, much the way our minds do not always follow a logical path. Perhaps Schwartz does have more of an "inside my head" book than a memoir. She promotes going into the wider world in order to get to know it, but says to make sense of it "requires staying at home and being quiet," the one clear reference to,i>Tao te Ching

A good part of the book deals with the authors influencing her writing and thought but sometimes not with a coherent link to who she became. At times the book feels like mini-biographies because of the detail she relates about other people. In the end, Schwartz presents a dual trip: the actual travel to different lands and a mental journey of self-discovery. The former, she says, interrupts the latter yet is essential to it. What she learned most from her meanderings through this manuscript was that whether on the road or in her mind, she felt a need to be in motion. She ends by saying that although she felt no urge to travel while writing the book about not traveling, once the book was finished she was ready to move on, somewhere. She does't say if she plans to move physically or mentally.

Themes are important to memoir and, while chronology isn't, so is logical flow. Watch for these elements in your work. Publishers will take a chance with much from published writers and overlook certain flaws. If you don’t fit that group, they won’t be lenient.
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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.
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Talking Writing Prize offers $500 and publication to the winning personal essay on the topic of mental illness. Entry fee, $15. Deadline May 23. Suggestions for themes and submission instructions found at Talking Writing Prize.

Creative Nonfiction magazine plans an upcoming true story issue on the theme of "Joy." Word max of 4,000. Deadline May 26, fee $20 per entry. Free entry for current subscribers. For $25 you get one entry plus a subscription of four issues to US addresses only. Pays $1,000 and $500 to top two. All entries considered for publication. Check helpful details a at Creative Nonfiction. Also seeks essays on theme "Exploring Boundaries" with June 30 deadline. Same word count and fees. Learn more at Creative Nonfiction.

McSweeney's Quarterly has no rules. That means you choose your subject and word length. Takes nonfiction. Pay varies. Submit online only. Find more details at McSweeney's Quarterly.

New Millennium sponsors its 42nd writing contest taking all types of nonfiction up to 6,000 words. Deadline June 19, fee $20 per entry. Pays winner $1,000. Some published works may be allowed. Check the details on that, submission instructions and more at New Millennium.

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