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January Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 16, No.13 January 2017
© 2017 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Why Resolutions?"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "Look Forward, Look Back"
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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Most media fill end of year space or air time with a rehash of the year's highlights. We hear the lead stories from the closing year, or the most controversial or humorous or emotional ones, instead of new content. It's far easier to search through archives and select a few choice offerings from the past year than to spend time creating new content. It's a tradition that serves many media well during a time when people, including program managers and other employees, are overloaded with personal chores and many are on vacation. This is an easy way to fill space and the temptation is great to follow the media notables.

This practice has long irritated me although I sometimes do it, but this year I gained a different perspective. Personal writing is all about the past, reflecting on what has happened. Reviewing the past is what I encourage readers and students to do with their lives in order to produce meaningful, healing essays. Don’t stop that practice and don’t confine it to year end. Write what moves you as you explore your life.

Then share your stories with the world. Find paying markets for your gems on page 4 and posted on the website at Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "When the past is securely nailed to the page, we can use it as an anchor while we adventure into the rest of our lives." Susan Carol Hauser, author You Can Write a 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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WTH,WTG writers say...

"I felt comfortable writing about personal events without being judged."

"I looked forward to receiving your comments, and I went back to every essay to make improvements right after I got your critique."

"The feedback from your course was always positive yet constructive."

"The critiques got to the essence of my writing, and you encouraged me to reveal my thoughts and feelings more fully."
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ARTICLE - "Why Resolutions?"
Two questions plague me at this time of year. Why does the start of the year seem the time to set a new course? and Why do we persist in making resolutions at all?

First question, first. Why do we feel obligated to make resolutions at the start of a new year? Every year is filled with starts. That much-heard reminder that "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" attests to the abundance of new opportunities for change. We have 365 beginnings each year (many more if we consider hours) so why focus on day one? This led me to my never-fail delaying tactic of researching the history of New Year's resolutions. I found many answers but the most prolific one placed the practice in ancient Babylon when promises were made to pagan gods at the start of a new year. Other cultures adopted similar actions over the centuries. Like everything else on earth, resolutions have changed over the past 4,000 years. They began as promises to gods, and eventually to God, but today they are much more likely to be promises to ourselves. Today, some religions forbid resolutions, others hold resolution prayer services on New Year's eve. But they are essentially secular in nature. Probably we persist from a tradition the origin of which is long forgotten.

The scond question is more difficult to explain. For me, birthday is a more apt time to rethink life and consider changes, but that only alters the timing, not the practice. And it doesn't make the resolution any more successful. We really should pay attention all the time, every day, and if something needs changing take action as soon as we realize it rather than waiting until the next January 1. Most resolutions don’t last past February, so why bother or wait a whole year of dealing with a situation that needs change now?

If you realize the need for change January 1, then don't wait to act. And if spending more time writing your personal stories and reflecting on your life is a change you aspire to, this is a good time to make a plan. But any time is a good time for life-writing. It doesn't take a promise, it just takes a desire and discipline. Why not start now? No resolution required.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about why you do or don't make New Year's resolutions.
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ARTICLE - "Looking Forward by Looking Back"
When the year turns, pundits of all variety make predictions for the coming year, but first, they recap highlights of the year past. Often those highlights form the basis of predictions. They look forward by looking back.

The resolutions we make at New Year's time, if we make any at all, tend to stem from past mistakes, omissions or unrequited desires. We look back at things we did right and try to improve further. We look back to projects gone wrong and avoid repeating those or look for ways to make them work in an encore effort. We look back at the things we failed to realize and add them to next year’s list.

We build our futures on the lessons learned from life experiences. By reflecting on the results of life events and writing about what they meant to us and how they shaped us, we learn how to construct a better future.

Who we are today and who we are on the way to becoming, result from our pasts: what we've done, what we've not done; where we've been, where we haven't been; what we've learned, what we've ignored. All the experiences we’ve enjoyed, dreaded or avoided contribute to how we will conduct our lives in the future.

We can't go back and make different decisions in our past, but we can learn what worked for us and what didn't work and use those experiences as guidelines as we go forward.

A new year makes us think ahead to better times and better habits. But our personal writing material comes from experiences already behind us. Although the turning of a calendar page from one year to another has become a traditional time for renewal, every day offers a new beginning, a new opportunity to write about events from pages turned long ago. So don't forget to reflect on the past as you make resolutions and choose your future writing topics.

Use your reflections on the past to build a better future. Look forward by looking back. Here are some reasons to write about your reflections.

• It's healthful. Writing reduces stress which leads to many health problems.
• It's therapeutic. Writing has presented psychological and physical gifts to people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses, unemployment, rape and other adversities.
• It's educational. We learn about ourselves from our exploration and analysis of the feelings and motivations that have made us who we are.
• It's fun. Personal essays aim to entertain, as well as inform. Humor communicates all messages better, no matter how dark the topic seems to us.
• It's a way to give of yourself. Nothing connects relatives like the sharing of family and personal memories. From today forward, make personal writing a habit.
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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: Numerous studies and clinical trials on therapeutic/expressive writing. Studies show strong positive results with these conditions and others: • Lung functioning in asthma • Disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis • Pain and physical health in cancer • Immune response in HIV infection • Sleep-onset latency in poor sleepers • Diabetes • Stress reduction • Working memory improvement • Depression • Immune system efficiency • Post-traumatic symptoms reduced and many more physical and emotional conditions.
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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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Narratively magazine seeks submissions and pitches for first-person stories from 1,000-2,000 words. They want unique and incredible stories that illuminate universal ideas that go beyond your own life so ramp up your craft to meet all the best elements of personal essays. Payment promised but they don’t say how much. Learn more at: Narratively.

The Funny Times wants funny stories and not much is off limits. Pays $60 for accepted work of 500-700 words. They mean funny so make sure someone other than you laughs at your work. Poking fun at the human condition is encouraged. Editors like 3-5 stories submitted together. Check details at Funny Times.

Green Prints magazine focuses on the human side of gardening, not the how-to side. Pays up to $150 or 2,000 words max. Must be true and thoughtful, humorous, angry, contrite, flippant, searching, witty, observant, sad, inviting or whatever human attitude or emotion you express. Learn more about what the magazine calls a good story. It fits the personal essay model and offers good advice for any personal writing topic. Find details at: Green Prints.

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