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March Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 19, No. 3 March 2019
© 2019 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Pills or Pen?"
* Course Offerings
* "Know Your Write-brain"
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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This has been quite a winter for enduring the elements. Does the current weather where you are invigorate you or inspire hibernation? Our behaviors and moods are influenced by weather. It even plays a role in many forms of literature and can influence our choice of topics when writing our life stories. The episodes we select may reflect our current mood, or serve as an escape from weather that makes us lethargic. Dealing with unusually harsh or unexpected weather events can increase stress levels and lead to lack of inspiration to write at all.

How is your stress level? We all feel stressed at times. In fact, I've read that stress is a good thing in small doses. It's stress that gets us up in the morning, that motivates us to accomplish things. They call this 'good stress' But too much is not good and actually intensifies, and even provokes, health issues. Our mind and body are connected. What happens with the brain influences the body and what our body does resonates in the brain.

Learn how life-writing has entered the medical field as a diagnostic tool, as well as an aid in healing, in "Pills or Pens?." Then find out what happens in our brains when we write our life stories in "Know Your Write-brain."

Be sure to check out the paying markets for your gems at

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: " The struggles we endure today will be the 'good old days' we laugh about tomorrow." Aaron Lauritsen, author 100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip
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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 like I had really accomplished something every time that I turned in one of the essays."

"I liked the convenience of getting the lecture and assignment at home."

"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."
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ARTICLE - "Pills or Pen?"
Many studies show a value in handwriting versus typing in many cases and the topic is getting national coverage. Some studies suggest that writing benefits children and adults in many ways, citing testing performed with both groups.

People of all ages seem to retain information better when they write by hand which uses different sections of the brain than typing does. Reading skills improve with use of those brain regions. Retention also improves with cursive practice evidenced by studies showing that college students who take handwritten notes retain the content better than adults type or write fast by hand. Handwriters seem to produce better and longer prose and process material more deeply. Longer is not always better, however, and some of us can't decipher our handwritten words. Still, evidence of a strong mind/body connection mounts as studies cover many situations and conditions and support retention improvement from any manner of writing.

Writing has gained currency as a diagnostic tool in mainstream medicine. "There is burgeoning interest and growing research on using handwriting as a diagnostic and medication management tool," writes Brandi-Ann Uyemura, a psychology writer with an MA in Counseling Psychology. Conditions from Graves’ disease, to Parkinson's disease to healthy aging have been subjects of handwriting tests. Respected journals written for and by medical professionals publish trial and study results from this burgeoning body of work on writing as a window to our health. If changes in handwriting can identify conditions like those mentioned, what more might it tell about our health, without often hefty lab fees?

Typing is still a valuable tool for writers. Writing is essentially a mental activity, after all, not a physical one. But use of pen and paper, may become more important to our lives as studies show how it reveals our level of health. One day soon your doctor may hand you a writing pad instead of wrapping your arm in a blood pressure gauge or prescribing pills.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.
Write about a mentor or relative who had a great impact in your life.
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ARTICLE - "Know Your Write-brain"
Writing life stories does not refer to made-up tales. We use the descriptive "story" to mean a narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Those components belong in true as well as fictional portrayals. What happens to the brain while writing these personal narratives is complex and interesting.

One way the brain reacts to writing is to improve memory. A part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS), which filters the information stored in the brain, focuses on what you are writing about. This helps us recall things that may not be top of mind. The RAS is located in the temporal lobe. But other lobes find stimulation from the act of writing as well.

The benefit of solving problems found in expressive writing studies comes from the frontal lobe. Characteristics of this lobe, such as reasoning and judgment, are stimulated by writing. Paired with the focus from the RAS results in solutions to problems that may escape us when we are not engaged in writing about our personal experiences. People who exercise this area of their minds are sometimes referred to as right-brained.

But left-brained individuals also benefit from personal writing. The parietal lobe also deals with words by interpreting them and attending to spelling and other mechanical parts of writing. It seems most of the brain is stimulated into positive action when we write.

Writing studies have shown a reduction in stress after writing sessions. The brain responds much as it does to meditation, by relaxing, slowing breath and experiencing an almost subconscious state in which the words easily flow.

Stress is known to contribute to poor health and many experts believe that the stress-reducing effect of writing is the reason so many varied health conditions improve when people practice expressive writing.

Brain studies show us that our communications transmit to others when they are engaged and all parts of the brain are engaged in readers as well as in writers of personal stories. What you write about yourself not only helps you better understand the inner you, it can influence how others feel and think, about you and about themselves. We benefit two ways: while we write and while we read.
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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: 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 Tria" by Joshua M. Smyth, PhD "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 that all participants were receiving."
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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.

New Writers Contest from Tulip Tree Review looks for stories "that need to be told" from unpublished writers. Word limit 10,000. Grand prize $1,000. All contributors will be paid an amount depending on contest turnout. Fee $20, deadline May 23. Find details at Tulip Tree Review.

Better Humans al development, making life better. Seeks articles that inspire and offer clear advice on how to do it. Word count 2,750. Pay for professionals about $500. Other pay not mentioned. Research evidence helpful. Check comprehensive details about submissions and more at Better Humans.

Narratively publishes original personal essays that have not been overdone and show rather than tell. Word count 2,000 – 3,000. Pay starts at $300 but varies depending on topic and writer. Find details and guidelines at Narratively. Be sure to click on the guide from the memoir editor for numerous helpful tips for successful publication.

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