Color bar
Color bar

June Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 17, No.6 June 2017
© 2017 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Write Away Your Baggage"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "How Many People/Story?"
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/

          Follow writingtoheal on Twitter

If you're having trouble deciding what to do with your summer here's an idea. Start a life-writing project. Since you are reading this, you have some interest in life-writing. Perhaps you have many personal stories in print, or have tried to write but don't feel satisfied with the result. One of my many flaws is to start with something complicated. The result is never satisfactory but I continue to do it.

My advice for those beginning to write, whether for therapeutic reasons or to produce publishable work, is this. Don't follow my example.

Start slowly with daily accounts that include your feelings about what happened and concentrate on pleasant events. Then graduate to deeper self-explorations about heavier topics.

People seem to be natural voyeurs. We love to read about other people. Other peoples' stories inspire us, entertain us, intrigue us. They teach us about other times and cultures, other opinions and philosophies. And they make us delve within ourselves. Writing our own stories takes us even deeper into understanding ourselves than reading others’ tales.

The article on page 2 shares some tips on ridding ourselves of baggage that weighs us down and the article on page 3 helps us know who belongs in our stories (and maybe our lives) and who doesn't. That's a worthy summer project, isn't it?

Share your stories with the world. Find paying markets for your at
Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
Memoir Quote: "The point of personal story is to make a truth that resonates for you, that closes the experience around a narrative and brings it to completion." Lisa Dale Norton, author Shimmering Images: A hand Little Guide to Writing Memoir
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
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:
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
WTH,WTG writers say...

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

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

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

"I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. In a way I feel like it opened a new world to me. It made me look at my experiences and begin to understand myself better."
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
ARTICLE - "Write Away Your Baggage"
Have you ever ventured into the realm of decluttering? Ridding our homes of unused things, brings a sense of freedom and leads to new beginnings. The same happens when we part with emotional baggage.

Psychologists say we struggle to part with useless things because we form emotional attachments to them. Once we deal with the emotion, we can dispose of the item.

Life-writing, in addition to telling our stories, lets us declutter our minds and emotions. It helps us shed the personal baggage that prevents us from discarding useless behaviors and ideas and makes a good companion project for decluttering the things we no longer need.

Forgotten relics from a joyful past give us a momentary surge of pleasure. Relics from unhappy events deliver the opposite effect. Both give us writing topics that aid self-exploration and a better sense of self. Writing about the things we can’t part with helps us make sense of our clinging and teaches us something about ourselves in the process.

Writing away your baggage involves exploring why you want to hang on. In your writing, search for the deeper grasp those worthless physical items hold on you. Ask yourself:

- How you acquired it.
- What you think of when you see it now.
- Who it reminds you of.
- If it brings you good thoughts or drags you down.

We hold on to things even when they bring bad memories if the connection involves someone we cared about or a relationship we miss. Writing our life episodes helps us unload the heavy gear. Travel light, we are always advised, and that applies to emotional as well as physical freight. Life writing leads to a healthier, happier world for those who write away their emotional burdens while telling their life stories. Do you carry extra baggage? Start repacking right away.
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about a trait you inherited from your father and how it impacts your life..
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
ARTICLE - "How Many Characters Does Your Story Need?"
A recent article suggested that many novels have too many characters, some of which are reader distractions because they serve no purpose to the overall story. Personal essays can also overdo the character count.

Of course, there is no single correct number of characters that applies to every story. Only those characters who contribute to the main theme deserve a place in your story. The shorter the work, the fewer people can comfortably fit in the space available. Just as fiction writers must make every character contribute to the story, so must we consider who deserves a spot in our life-writing but the job is harder because of the length.

Yes, your story should have a theme. Long works can sometimes allow nonessential people to join their cast without too much reader disorientation. Short works cannot afford extraneous inhabitants without losing readers. Many people share your space and your life events. I suspect very few people share every moment with all the same characters. So carefully consider who in your life played a vital role in each tale. Only those should make up the cast.

This may be harder than it sounds for many of us. Being human, certain tendencies overcome our ability to resist including everyone we know. Here are some people to exclude from a story.

Your favorite people. You have best buddies you may wish were part of everything that happens to you, but it's a rare life for which that is true. If your best friend wasn't involved in the story you are writing, don't let her in. If your favorite uncle begs to be mentioned in your writing, don’t let him in where he plays no part.

Uninvolved livewires. You may be tempted to add one or more scenes with a person you consider interesting, exhilarating, likeable, but who was not part of the story. That might jazz up the tale, but it violates the main expectation of readers-honesty. Save those people for stories that involve them and find other ways to heighten interest in the tale of the moment.

Present but inactive. Avoid using characters to convey formation that you want readers to have just to give that person a role. That is obvious padding and irritates readers. Find another way to convey essential information. If someone was present but only observed, don'include him. Personal stories only have room for the key players in your theme event. You, of course, are the main player and might be the only one in some essays.

It's tempting to include everyone we know in our stories, especially if they were there. But if they didn't influence the outcome, they only make readers feel like you're padding the word count. Every word must count and every character must count, too.
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
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.
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
Therapeutic Writing Fact
From: JAMA, April 14, 1999, Vol 281, No. 14, "Effects of Writing About Stressful Experiences on Symptom Reduction in Patients With Asthma or Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Trial" by Joshua M. Smyth, PhD et al. "Patients with mild to moderately severe asthma or rheumatoid arthritis who wrote about stressful life experiences had clinically relevant changes in health status at 4 months compared with those in the control group. These gains were beyond those attributable to the standard medical care."
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
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 Magazine a new monthly from Creative Nonfiction , showcases one story per pocket-size issue. Word length from 5,000 to 10,000. Must be true and author's original work. Pays $300 and 10 copies. Learn more and find published samples at True Story.

Ploughshares takes nonfiction of fewer than 6,000 words. Pays minimum of $90 per title, $450 per author. plus two copies and one year subscription. Reading period June 1 through January 15. Find submission details at Ploughshares.

Bugle Magazine seeks personal essays by women of its Women in Elk Country column. Prefers narratives that evoke emotion and connect to larger themes. Topics include elk, hunting, wildlife encounters, conservation and land-use issues from a woman’s perspective. The guidelines state, "Share your perspective on how being a woman, a mother, a wife and/or a daughter impacts the experiences you have in the field." Published by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a nonprofit conservation group. Pays $.20 per word for 1,000 to 3,000 words plus three copies of the issue containing your article. Check more details at: Bugle Magazine.

Share personal essay markets you know about. Email them to and I'll add them to the website list.
-/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/ -/
To receive the newsletter by email, subscribe at 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.