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December Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 19, No. 12 December 2019
© 2019 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Rejection Isn’t Personal"
* Course Offerings
* "From Journal to Essay"
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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Once again it's a time of giving. We've just given thanks for all the blessings we enjoy and now we turn to the blessings we'll give others in the form of gifts for the various holidays that occupy December. If you have special people on your gift list who are hard to accommodate because they already have everything or have quirks that you just can't appease, consider the gift of writing. Personal essay courses make unique and loving presents. Order online then email the recipients' names and emails to and a greeting will reach each one with news of your thoughtfulness.

When your work passes beyond the realm of healing you may desire to publish some of your edited work to help and entertain others. Sending our writing into the world carries some risks. One of those risks is the possibility of rejection.

Everything you submit will not be accepted, that you can count on. But you have excellent company in the rejected writing realm. So, don't let that stop you from trying. One article in this issue deals with that topic and hopefully will ease the hurt you initially feel. The other article boosts your efforts to turn journal entries into saleable essays. If you don't journal now, 2020 is a good time to start. That practice yields health and craft benefits.

If you are preparing for publication, even when sharing only with close friends, you still want your writing to be the best you can make it.

Don't keep your growth hidden inside. 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: "I wonder how all those who do not write ....escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation. Graham Greene author Ways of Escape
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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."

"The lectures were helpful, the assignments gave me real direction in how to begin, and the critiques were useful and encouraging."

"Your comments were very constructive and valuable."

"This course raised my interest in writing personal essays. I always felt they were a bit self indulgent, but this course showed me otherwise."
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ARTICLE - "Rejection Isn't Personal"
For those of you who plan to publish your life-writing there's something you need to know that those who have dared to contact publishers have already experienced. Rejection is a given. But don't let that stop you. It's not rejection of you, rather rejection of your work.

It's hard not to take it personally when the rejected work is your own story. After all, our stories are personal. But keep in mind that all writers receive rejections, not just those writing in the memoir field. Every writer has good days and bad no matter what level of skill or experience. And there are many reasons a work is rejected that have nothing to do with the quality of writing.

When I feel the weight of rejection for something I know is truly a great piece of writing, ahem, I take solace in a triumvirate of collections called The Complete Literary Rot. Two of the volumes deal with nasty reviews. The third, called Rotten Rejections, contains scathing comments delivered to what are now considered great authors and classic books. Here's a sampling of rotten rejections.

Joseph Heller was told Catch-22 "constitutes a continual and unmitigated bore," John Le Carré that he "hasn't any future," and Vladimir Nabokov that Lolita was overwhelmingly nauseating." Ayn Rand heard The Fountainhead was "badly written" and Atlas Shrugged was "unsalable and unpublishable."

Note the following comments: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, "fit only for the wastebasket," Charles Dickens, "We do not believe in the permanence of his reputation," Emily Dickinson, "oblivion lingers in the immediate neighborhood," Gustave Flaubert,"is not a writer," Rudyard Kipling doesn't "know how to use the English language." Thomas Paine's Common Sense was termed "shallow, violent, and scurrilous," Tolstoy's Anna Karenina "sentimental rubbish," and James Joyce's Ulysses "a misfire."

In spite of the negative opinions, these are all works and authors that eventually found a publisher and disproved the doubt that they would sell or be read. If the recipients of these malodorous opinions went on to greatness, there's hope for all of us. These comments are much harsher than anything we are apt to receive today. Editors prefer form letters saying the work isn't right for them at this time. So, keep on writing your stories and working to improve your craft. Your work is personal, others' opinions are not.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.
Write about what Christmas meant to you as a child and what it means to you now. If you don't believe in Christmas, write about the season's impact on you.
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ARTICLE - "From Journal to Essay"
Writing is a good memory jog and so is transcribing. Lists may not seem like "writing" to you, but they remind us of the things we include in them and by referencing them repeatedly memory takes over, making the list less necessary.

In the same way, transcribing our journal jottings reminds us of forgotten events and serves as a catalyst for other writing. Since journals deal with personal experiences, feelings and attitudes, they make an ideal source for personal essay topics.

Of course, before you can benefit from transcribing entries, you have to write them. If you don't keep a journal now, it's a good time to start the habit. Once you have a collection, here are some ways in which transcribing journals—both recent entries and those from decades ago—can enrich the writing you do today.

Memory Recall—Our minds archive memories leaving room in our consciousness for things of immediate use. Reviewing records of times past brings them out of the attic for potential use in a current work.

Essay Ideas—While transcribing we may stumble on a forgotten life event that yields a topic for an essay or other work or that will enhance a work in progress.

Usable Phrases—Our jottings may hold word or concept treasures worthy of use in our public work.

Revealing Details—We don't remember everything about an incident, even a major one, but what we wrote about it as it happened can provide details that give writing texture and bring readers into the scene.

Concentration—Transcribing requires focus on the words before us. It helps us retain the information we copy and makes it more available for future use.

Self-knowledge—Focus on life experiences and reactions leads to personal improvement and becoming more likeable, to others and ourselves.

All of our writing, personal and general, benefits from self-discovery. Transcribing records of our life events uncovers the buried treasures of our lives. What buried treasures lurk in your journals?
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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: The Mayo News, November 3, 2015, "The Power of Therapeutic Writing," by Janna Walshe. " the longer-term, the benefits include emotional clarity and understanding, fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, improved immune system functioning, reduced blood pressure, fewer days in hospital, improved mood, feeling of greater psychological well-being, reduced depressive symptoms, fewer post-traumatic symptoms, reduced absenteeism from work, quicker re-employment after job loss and improved working memory."
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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 or type.

Erma Bombeck Writing Competition accepts unpublished essays of 450 words max. Two winners in each of two categories - humor and human interest - receive $1,000 and free registration in the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop next April. One winner in each group will be from Ohio, the other from anywhere in the world. Honorable mentions receive $100. Submit between Dec. 2 and Jan. 6. Entry fee $15. Learn more at Bombeck Writing Competition.

Nowhere Travel Writing Contest looks for a strong voice in personal essays and just about any topic interests the editors. Know why you're writing about your topic and what you learned from your experience. Prefer 1,500 to 2,500 words. Claims to pay competitive rates. Find sample essay topics and submission details at: Nowhere.

Live, a take-home paper distributed quarterly through Sun ay School classes for adults, takes true stories that apply Biblical principles to everyday problems. First-person anecdotes and humor accepted. Pays $.10 (ten cents) per word for first rights, $.07 (seven cents)for reprints. Cover stories run 800 to 1,200 words, inside stories run 200 to 600 words. Find submission details at Live.

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