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April Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 17, No.4 April 2017
© 2017 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Favorite Memoir Quotes"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "Value of Writing Classes"
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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          Follow writingtoheal on Twitter

Twelve Aprils ago I acquired Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow. The opportunity came at a time when I needed something I could do on my own schedule in order to deal with aging parents and some unexpected snags in that relationship. If you've clicked the book tab on my website you know what I mean but this isn't the place to elaborate. The acquisition was just what I needed. Not only was it a chance to help others, it proved very helpful, even therapeutic, for me.

Before committing to the acquisition, I researched the field of writing for healing and therapeutic purposes as well as for personal growth. I thought I knew how writing contributed to those areas of life, having been writing for most of my life, but I didn’t realize to what degree it helped or the range of people and circumstances benefiting from writing personal stories. My students are proof of the variety of people who seek self-exploration through writing their stories. Some want to keep it personal, for their eyes only, others want to produce work of publishable quality. I feel blessed to be approached for guidance by writers with different end goals.

The articles in this issue deal with some of the things I've learned from coaching personal essay and life-writing courses the past twelve years. Feedback from students figures in the article on writing classes and I share my own favorite comments about the benefits of life-writing.

Share your stories with the world. Find paying markets for your at
Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "When we write about things that people everywhere share-hard times, tender times, despair, delight-the code goes out, a kindred spirit intercepts it and that essential connection is made." Marilyn Pribus, contributor Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul
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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 given me so many things to learn, to rewrite, to look over, and understand, I am very impressed. Thank you for taking time to give me such a detailed response."

"Thank you so much for the excellent feedback. I'm enjoying this class and am learning so much."

"When I re-read the edited essay, I see exactly how your tips made the essay better, it's a great feeling--like “Wow! Why didn't I think of doing that?"

"I really value your critique and advice! I find you have been very helpful!"
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ARTICLE - "Favorite Memoir Quotes"
One feature of The Writing Well has been the memoir quotes on page one. I find these quotes in books and articles, at conferences and other presentations. They come from people who engage in personal writing in some way and express feelings about different facets of life-writing, mostly the emotional, therapeutic value it provides for writers and readers. Here are some of my favorite quotes. Most, but not all, have appeared in issues of The Writing Well. I hope some of them inspire you in your own personal essay or memoir endeavors.

Marge Piercy & Iran Wood. "Our urge to read memoirs and autobiographies stems from…the desire to understand a life. We believe that by looking at the lives of other people we can better comprehend our own…"

Irving Wallace "…there was never anyone on earth before you who was exactly like you and who saw love and hate exactly as you see them through your eyes."

Lisa Dale Norton "The more you include elements of the world outside your personal howl, the more opportunity readers have to align their own experience with yours."

Janet Connor "You have a rich soul filled with stories, questions and desires, all bursting to be explored. If anything, you have too much to say, not to little."

Linda C. Apple "What's the best part about writing personal essays? It is a way to redeem the negative events in our lives by sharing our experience and how we overcame with others in similar struggles."

Beverly Donofrio "…if you reveal your truth in the most truthful way you can it's universal. And it helps people, I believe."

Terry McMillan "Writing is the only place I can be myself and not feel judged."

Marilyn Pribus "When we write about things that people everywhere share-hard times, tender times, despair, delight-the code goes out, a kindred spirit intercepts it and that essential connection is made."
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

April is national poetry month in the US. Tell your feelings about spring in a poem or lyric essay.
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ARTICLE - "The Value of Writing Classes"
You may think that writing classes are only for beginners. But writers at all levels benefit from an occasional course in writing. Structured instruction does more than convey the basics of forming coherent sentences and story lines. Here are some other ways that a regular writing sessions with an instructor or critique group can help you improve your work no matter how much experience you have or lack. These come from student comments about what they gained from taking one of my personal essay courses and other writers have expressed the same feelings in numerous articles and interviews.

Deadline/accountability. It's easy to delay writing when you have no deadline and only you will see your work. A due date motivates you to put off something else instead of writing in order to meet your commitment. This helps you, too, because you can't improve your writing unless you write.

Learning to structure your work. The most frequent difficulty I find, with students' work and in many publications by experienced writers, is story structure. In personal writing we tend to drift into a memory dump which works for us because we know our whole back story. But readers need a logical path to lead them to the destination you want them to reach.

Learning to use writing techniques effectively. Books about different types of writing are prolific. But reading about writing does not confer the ability to apply what you read in your work. That comes from the next point.

Feedback. Perhaps the most valuable element in taking writing courses or participating in group assessment, is the feedback you receive. My own experience with critique groups revealed that a flaw I find in someone else’s work turns up in my own. I don't see it as I write, but it catches my attention on someone else’s page. Others don't always interpret our writing the way we expect them to. This may occur more often with memoir than other writing because of our intimacy with the subject. If you plan to publish, knowing that your point is clear on the first read is vital. Editors won’t take time to figure out enigmas.

Personal guidance from instructors will show you what you do well and where you need to improve. It's not just about finding fault. Critique groups are valuable, but when dealing with personal stories, a confidential coach may inspire you to be more honest in your writing. That is an essential aspect in satisfying the two main reasons for life-writing: self-exploration for its therapeutic value to the writer, and sharing stories with family, friends and the public, for love or money.
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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: Reuters Health, May 7, 2014, "Guided life-review helps moderate depression" by Krystnell Storr. "Life-review, described as a structured evaluation of one's past, has been found effective against depression among older people, the authors write in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. [Sanne Lamers lead researcher] said life-review is a process that many can easily adopt...'Recollecting memories is something we all do in our everyday lives. This makes life-review such a great therapy because we can use a relatively easy activity we are all familiar with to make people feel better,' she said."
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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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Author Magazine pays $50 for essays from 750 to 1,000 words about the emotional, inspirational side of writing. Associated with the Pacific Northwest Writers Association but membership not required of contributors. Learn more and find published samples at Author.

The Puritan iterary journal pays $100 for essays up to 10,000 words. Non-fiction submissions can be anything from memoirs and creative non-fiction to academic essays on a literary subject. Also pays $20 for work accepted for periodic Supplemental Series. Find details at The Puritan.

You&Me-America's Medical Magazine pays 4 - 5 cents per word for non-fiction articles, preferably from a first-person perspective, about the human aspects of dealing with all medical issues. Preferred length 1,000 to 2,500 words from patients’ or health-care providers' perspectives. Get more information and submission specs at You&Me-America's Medical Magazine.

Today's Christian Living seeks personal stories of 700-1,500 words that focus on how the Lord works through everyday people, events, and circumstances. Turning Point stories from 650-700 words show how God has changed someone’s life. Pay varies. See details at Today's Christian Living.

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