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June Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 16, No.6 June 2016
© 2016 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Can Writing Trauma Bring Joy?"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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With Memorial Day just passed, we've reached the traditional beginning of summer even though the solstice is nearly a month away. It's open season for outdoor grilling, wearing white shoes, and beachcombing. No matter that not all areas have compatible weather yet, or that some engage in those activities year-round. June starts a rash of activities and vacation plans geared to fill time as school soon ends.

Just as seasonal activities differ by weather and geography, our life stories differ by life experience and location. Traveling to different places exposes us to new habits and ways of life which teach us about the differences and similarities to our own part of the globe. Reading stories by people in different life situations gives us a chance to learn about others and discover how our outwardly different ways share some common threads. Effective personal essays bring a universal life lesson to people in a variety of circumstances.

Of course, just the act of writing our lives gives us, as well as our readers, rewards. The article covers some of the benefits that writers gain from expressing their lives in the written word, even when dealing with life's tough times.

The book review offers examples of things to employ and things to avoid in your own life writing.

Share your stories with the world and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Find paying markets on the tab above.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote:"We can write to the larger question of human suffering by writing of the struggle that exists in our own hearts." Tom Spanbauer, novelist and founder of Dangerous Writing
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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...

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

"I have had a few published pieces in the newspaper, online & won the Writer's Digest contest. You are at least a part of that-probably a nice, big part."

"Thank you for your guidance without ridicule. That has meant a lot to me."

"It made me look at my experiences and begin to understand myself better."
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ARTICLE - Can Writing Trauma Bring Joy??
Hurtful situations are not a requirement of personal essay writing, but they are frequently recommended as a way to work through tough times. Among the many benefits apparent from numerous studies, are healing and growth through self-discovery. I believe joy should be added to the list. It may sound strange, unlikely, or even impossible to find joy from reliving traumatic events, but it isn't as counter intuitive as it sounds. How joyful can you feel when you don't work through the difficult spots in life? Keeping them inside, with the residual pain of guilt, anger, shame and other feelings that often accompany the traumatized, even when not your fault, will not bring joy. Writing provides an effective way of eliminating those destructive feelings.

Certainly, joy doesn't come instantly. Some people will feel worse for a while following a writing session dealing with the things that torment them. But over time, those negative feelings disperse as the healing takes place. Clinical trials and studies covering a range of medical and psychological disruptions offer evidence of that. The number of beneficiaries involved in formal studies is far smaller than the number of people who write outside of monitored situations, so the actual count of life-writing beneficiaries must be large. Countless articles and blog posts cite people who attest to the benefits they found from writing their life stories in some form. The most frequent expression I've noticed deals with the therapeutic value of writing.

Writing and exploring tragedy isn't the only way to find joy from life-writing. Exploring the blessings in your life can also bring you to joy. Expressive writing offers the same benefits for pleasure as for pain. The focus differs but the procedure and result are the same. Many of us let our negative sides dominate our thoughts and feelings. When we dwell on our hurts, we continue to hurt until we work it out through writing. When we focus on writing about good things, we may come to joy even sooner. And who doesn't prefer joy to pain? Which type will you engage in your next writing session? Let's write for joy right now.

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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about your mid-year accomplishments, or lack of. What has helped or hurt you succeed as planned?
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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: Nursing Research. 2003;52:401-409, "A systematically tested intervention for managing reactive depression" by Smith CE, Leenerts MH, Gajewski BJ. "Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of data from studies of a journal writing intervention for chronic patients receiving home parenteral nutrition and their family caregivers. Both the patients and the caregivers ranged in age from 18 to older than 80 years... At the end of the program, the participants dropped their depression scores an average of almost 6 points. Journal writing can be an effective and low-cost method to help patients with chronic disease and their caregivers deal with the burdens of disease, find meaning in the experience, and decrease their depression levels."
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Book Review ~ Romance is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last by Patience Bloom
The first thing you may notice about this book is that it is written in present tense. Many fiction techniques work well in memoir, but this isn't necessarily one of them. It doesn't always work well in fiction. This tense has strengths and weaknesses in all writing, but perhaps both are emphasized in memoirs. Present tense puts readers in the moment with the writer making it easier to feel part of the story. This is a good thing with life-writing since one goal is to have readers empathize with you. The downside comes in the challenge to keep reader interest free of distraction when they know it all happened in the past. Present tense takes experience to handle effectively. It's difficult to keep up when past is so engrained in our reading experience. In fact, simple past tense can actually create more of a present feeling than present tense does. Be careful with present tense in your life-writing.

Bloom uses an interesting form of comparison pitting her real love life to what happens in most romance novels. As a romance editor for a major publisher, the author knows the formula for romance writing and knows the readers who are attracted to it. Her comparisons are often humorous and definitely show a difference between the novel version of love and what happened to Bloom. Comparing your experiences to a well-known lifestyle or event can help readers identify with you, but that also carries a risk. Bloom spends so much time talking about various romance characters that you really have to know and love that genre to stay connected. If you don't know the characters or like the romance genre, you will quickly tire of this story. This is a book that might appeal to lovers of chick lit and romance but not much else. Depending on the range of interest in your field of comparison, you may either limit or expand your target readers.

A major element in life-writing is self-evaluation and Bloom does it well. She is often self-deprecating in her humor, recognizing her many unexplainable decisions but going ahead with them anyway. A main reason for her sad love life is the choices she makes in boyfriends. She tells how she eventually decides to forget about finding Mr. Right and getting her dose of romance through her job. But she says very little about her work life which the title leads us to believe will be the main theme. The theme we read about is her unfortunate, although abundant, efforts to find a husband and live happily ever after.

Sticking to the theme only satisifies reasers if you choose the correct theme. Titles and openings set up reader for what's to come. Be careful that you keep that opening promise with your life-writing.
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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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Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest pays $1,000, $500, $250 to winners. 7,000 word max of original humor. While sponsored by Mark Twain House, writing need not be about him or follow his style. Just make it funny. Entry fee $23 for 18 and older, $13 for 17 and younger. Deadline July 10. Find complete guidelines and submission details at Mark Twain House.

Chicken Soup For The College Student wants true stories about kindness, respect, compassion, expanding your horizons, and embracing differences written by college students up to age 24. Those enrolled in any post high school institution eligible 2-year, 4-year, technical etc.). Deadline July 31. Pays $200 and 10 copies of book for published stories. All entries considered for publication. Check details at Chicken Soup.

Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award considers 7,000-12,000 word manuscripts including creative nonfiction (personal essays) for a prize of $250 and 25 copies of book. No entry fee, deadline July 30. Details at: Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook.

The Establishment pays $125 for personal essays from 800 to 1,500 words. Must have a universal theme. Check pertinent details and how to pitch and submit your story at: The Establishment.

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