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December Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 16, No.12 December 2016
© 2016 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Life-writing Struggles"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "Gift Ideas for Life-writing"
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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Personal Essay courses make unique and loving gifts. Order online then email the recipients' names and emails to and a greeting will reach each one with news of your thoughtfulness.

          Follow writingtoheal on Twitter

Another year comes to a close. What does your calendar hold for 2017? It’s up to you to fill in the blank squares. I hope you will scheldue writing time, every day if possible but certainly every week. If you need a boost, a built-in deadline, consider the benefits of a personl essay course from Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow. In addition to a deadline, you reap the health benefits of writing while you compile life stories to share with family, friends or the world. As noted above, writing classes make wonderful, appreciated gifts that no one will get from anyone else, most likely.

In this issue, an article offers other ideas for gifts that inspire life-writers or those considering becoming one. Your gift could be the start of a meaningful relationship. If one of them appeals to you, leave the article where your loved ones will see it and your choice may end up in your stocking.

When the writing is done, share your stories with the world. When the writing is done, share your stories with the world. Check the paying writing markets on the tab above and at the end of this newsletter. Perseverance is the key to publication.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "It seems to me a productive personal endeavor…to see where you began and where you have got to." Penelope Lively, author Dancing Fish and Ammonites
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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...

"Thank you for the critiques. They have been insightful and helpful to me."

"I really did learn a lot about my writing skills and my emotional well-being."

"Thanks for all your feedback. I'm finding it really useful."

"I've had a desire to write but was afraid; I think you've helped me get over that by the way you critique the writings."
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ARTICLE - "Gift Ideas for Life-writers"
Finding gifts for life-writers may stump you. Whether you want to enhance the efforts of an active writer or want to encourage someone to get started, these sugestions may include the perfect gift to accomplish your purpose. Don’t forget to put your own name on the list, either to buy for yourself or as a hint to others.

For engaged writers (active or with some experience) at any level:

A writing class not only teaches, it motivates and provides a deadline for procrastinators. Any level of writer can benefit from more study.

A writers conference, if you feel like splurging for someone special (yourself perhaps?) especially one focused on memoir or other personal writing. Conferences are great motivators and provide networking opportunities thay may lead to critique groups or online connections for writers at a distance.

Books, both how-tos on personal story writing or actual memoirs as examples of the many angles that life-writing can adopt. Books or online market directories are also great gifts for anyone interested in publishing.

Membership in a writing group. Nothing inspires writing like networking with other writers. Groups that meet regularly can be even more inspiring than a conference and usually occur in your area so you can get together more often.

For those needing encouragment to get started (and all writers):

Subscriptions to writing magazines. General writing magazines give many tips for good writing of all types and frequently include articles on various aspects of personal writing.

Journals with empty pages to fill with experiences that make potential themes for later essays or more. These may be simple lined notebooks or fancy bound volumes with enticing cover designs to inspire your friends to schedule writing time.

Try one or more of these gifts to encourage more life-writing and make your gifting easier and joyous, for you and your recipients.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

If you had no money for gifts, what skill of yours do you think would be most valuable to give to others?
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ARTICLE - "Common Stuggles with Life-writing"
Over time I find that certain aspects of essay writing trouble many students. Most apply to all types of writing, some stand out in life-writing work. To end the year, here's a round up of the areas of struggle I see most often. They appear in no order of frequency and not all apply to all students. May they focus your writing as we move into a new year.

Structure: The order in which you present the content to readers makes a difference in how they respond, or if they even finish reading. If you hear comments about your work not flowing, it's probably due to poor structure. It is structure that makes one thought glide effortlessly into the next, giving readers a clear path through your story. You don't have to present scenes chronologicaly, but they must follow a logical order to keep readers engaged.

Theme: Long works have room for multiple plots. Short works will lose readers if they attempt to cover more than two themes, and even then the two must tie together. Lacking a clear theme, readers won't know where the story is heading and may not care to find out.

Openings: The opening paragraph sets up the rest of the story, lets readers know the theme and what to look for as they read. They expect the opening promises to be met by the end of the work. If you change themes as you get into the writing process (that often happens), be sure to change your opening to match.

Backstory: This involves information about your past that readers need in order to understand the events of the current story and it presents two challenges. One is to provide all that readers need, the other is to omit anything they don't need for the particular story.

Tangents: First drafts should contain everything the writer wants to say. Edits, or rewrites, eliminate what's unnecessary for reader comprehension. Frequently, writers include information that sends readers on a detour from the story, leaving them lost or looking for a new destination, something else to read. Make sure you include only content that relates to the theme. That's another reason to identify a clear theme at the start.

Endings: This is where you leave readers satisfied that the opening promises have been met. A recap of the opening often accomplishes that task, but only if what comes between delivers the promise.

Writing about our lives takes our thoughts in many directions. If we can get off track when we know where we're going, imagine how easy it is for readers to lose their way through our stories. You want your message to reach the readers and lapses in these areas pose obstacles to that occuring. As you work on your life-writing, pay attention to structure, theme, openings, backstory, tangents and endings. Your work will deliver what you and readers expect from your work.
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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: The Mayo News, "HEALTH The power of therapeutic writin"” by Jannah Walsh, 03 November 2015. "Often the immediate impact of therapeutic writing is a short-term increase in negative emotions and physical symptoms...due to increased awareness and expression of the negative emotions that are already present. However, in the longer-term, the benefits include emotional clarity and understanding, fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, improved immune system functioning, reduced blood pressure, fewer days in hospital, improved mood, feeling of greater psychological well-being, reduced depressive symptoms, fewer post-traumatic symptoms, reduced absenteeism from work, quicker re-employment after job loss and improved working memory."
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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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Lucky Peach magazinepays $.25 to $.67 per word for personal essays and more. The length up to you. Send complete articles only online. Learn more at Lucky Peach.

Afar The Experiential Travel Guide has a section for personal essays of between 500-1,000 words on a variety of travel topics. The Wayfarer is online only and claims competitive pay. Find detailed guidelines at Afar.

Motherwell Magazine looks for evocative first-person narratives that have a unique focus, or take a novel angle, on a slice of the parenting experience and conveys something fundamental about its writer. Up to 1,200 words. Pay varies. Find samples and more at Motherwell.

Nowhere Magazine Travel Writing Contest prints nonfiction essays from 800 - 5,000 words that have not previously won a contest. Winner paid $1,000 and publication. Up to ten finalists will also be published. Deadline January 1, fee $20. See samples and submisson rules at Nowhere.

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