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April Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 15, No. 4 April 2015
© 2015 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Put yourself in Life-writing"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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          Follow writingtoheal on Twitter

Spring brings new beginnings, and ten years ago it brought me a new direction with the acquisition of Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow. Yes, it was ten years ago in April that I took over the Web site, classes and workshop licensing offered at to coach personal writing and promote therapeutic writing. Ten years, 120 newsletters connecting with subscribers and posted on the Web site.

Anniversaries also bring reflection and this one is no exception. You might be expecting an announcement of celebration, but this moment caught be by surprise. It hit me when a Fictitious Name renewal notice arrived in the mail. Those renew every five years and this was the second renewal. I may not be a math whiz but I know that 2 x 5 = 10. This started the brain working on what to do about it, if anything. So far, I continue to ponder the future of this endeavor. Continue as is, change in some way, call it quits, are some options. If I reach a decision you'll be the first to know. Your opinions are welcome.

Meanwhile, I hope you will keep writing for good health and so much more. Consider taking a class to nudge you forward. Check the offerings below or on the Courses tab. The article gives some writing tips if a class doesn't fit your current schedule. The book review gives examples of how to fit the popular topic of food into your personal stories.

If publication is your aim, find paying markets for your gems by clicking on on the Paying Markets menu tab.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "Writing is the only place I can be myself and not feel judged." Terry McMillan, author Waiting to Exhale
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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...

"Your assignments were fun, serious and always thought provoking. I was always surprised at the direction the essays directed themselves toward."

"I looked forward to the assignment choices which were varied and sometimes hard to choose among because I wanted to write on them all!"

"Your input rang true and you spotlighted what I need to do to get to the next level in my writing."

"I think the cost for editing the essays alone is excellent value."
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ARTICLE - Put Yourself in Your Life-Writing
Want to share your life-writing with others? Avoid these common habits that leave readers confused or uninterested in you or your story.

Missing information. Most of your readers know nothing about you. Have you told them all they need to know to make sense of your actions?

Irrelevant information. Your life is filled with episodes that you find intriguing, but if they don't relate to the current tale they will push readers out of the story.

Too much third person. Readers appreciate universal truths, but if you aren't the focus you put distance between you and the reader. It’s a personal essay, not an academic essay, so keep yourself in the story.

Imbalance of telling and showing. Showing puts readers in the moment better than telling in most cases, but telling has a place. Choose the best one for every usage. And please don’t show and tell the same scene.

Lack of passion. Readers must sense your compulsion to tell the story. Put less distance between your writing and your reader or tell another story.

Choppy story flow. Good transitions keep readers with the current, not searching for a safe spot to abandon your raft. The reader needs to be able to follow your logic explicitly when changing subjects.

Delayed ending. When you've said what you want to say, stop.

If any of these writing habits infuse your life-writing, consider getting guidance and feedback with a personal essay course. You can learn to write engaging episodes. Why not give it a try?
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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 foolish thing you have done.
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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:What Story Are You Living?: A Workbook and Guide to Interpreting Results from the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator, by Carol S. Pearson, Ph.D. "We connect by telling each other stories. We can better understand ourselves by recognizing and exploring our life narratives. Your life story is the tale that you repeatedly tell yourself about who you are, what you want, and what you can and cannot do."
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Book Review ~ Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen
This title is a bit deceptive. If you're thinking Julie and Julia for Russia, you're way off track. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cookin is an example of how far you can go with memoir. Food is the connecting thread, but author Anya von Bremzen includes family history, Russia's 20th Century history and her own history linking each facet with the importance of food, or its lack, in life. Note the title says Soviet cooking, not Russian cooking. The revolution changed the culinary outlook for that multicultural land mass according to Bremzen, and her memoir begins with the 1920s.

The memoir part of the book relates the impact on Russian lives sparked by a project designed to spend a year cooking with her mother dishes from The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food, a state-sponsored cook book used in most every household during the Soviet era. From their Philadelphia kitchen they recreated dishes. Bremzen writes about the events associated with them as well as the challenges of recreating memories.

The state controlled all aspects of lives, especially food. What was available to whom and for what price and on what occasions depended on the dictator-of-the-moment's whims. So, Bremzen devotes close to half the book on political events, a task that required considerable research. At times, I forgot I was reading a cook book of sorts, the history became so engrossing, but it always came back to food from someone's perspective. Many mentions are made of the disparity between the lushness of the recipes in The Book (as Russians called it) and the ingredients that could be found on store shelves. At times, the shelves were totally bare. A similar problem, though not as extreme, met them in America as they could not always find the ingredients of the old country and of old times, or if they did the flavor was not as they recalled.

Bremzen chronicles the history of Soviet food and that of her family by making each chapter deal with a different decade from the 1920s through the 1980s and the end of the Soviet Union. Personal experiences during her life and those of her parents and grandparents during theirs, bring readers close to the subjects and to the plight of the masses under the Soviet regime.

The book is well written, (the author is a noted food writer) and expands the realm of memoir over time and through events not directly experienced by the author but that impacted her life Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is a three-pronged book of history, family history and individual history and shows how deep a memoir can go in making the personal interesting.
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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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Mark Twain Humor Contest takes up to 7,000 words of any type of writing as long as it's hmorous and in your voice. That includes your funny personal stories.This one is for the whole family. Fee $12 for 17 and younger, $22 for 18 and older. Deadline July 10. Youth prizes: $600, $400, $200. Adult prizes $1,000, $500, $250. Sponsored by Mark Twain House and Museum. Online submissions only. Learn more at: Mark Twain Contest.

Narrative magazine pays $150 for Story of the Week with $400 to the Top Five awarded annually. Takes submissons year round with one annual Narrative Prize paying $4,000 with deadline of June 15. Takes other writing of varied word lengths. Find all the details and samples at: Narrative.

Imagine This!the ArtPrize anthology this year takes personal essays up to 1,500 words. Fee $20 per entry. Deadline April 30. Twenty-five will be published with prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 to the top selections. Open all writers in any location. See all the details at: Imagine This!.

You & Me the World's Medical Magazine,",akes first-person narratives about a specific aspect of dealing with a medical issue. Likes 1,000 to 3,000 words and pays 4-5 cents per word. Find all the scoop at: You & Me.

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