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January Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 21, No. 1 January 2021
© 2021 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
*Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Writing Quote
*"Resolutions, Really?"
* Course Offerings
*Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Markets
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This year begins with more uncertainty than usual. The pandemic has lasted much longer than I think most people expected. By now we're wondering if it will ever end. Of course it will, we just don't know when. Many people are experiencing side effects from the restrictions placed on us in an effort to "slow the spread." We feel bored, lonely, frustrated, helpless, all of the above. I can’t offer an end to this but I can suggest something that will heal some of the wounds of any predicament, larger or smaller than this one. You know I mean writing.

The act of writing yields benefits but life-writing has an extra edge over other types. Chronicling our feelings provides special solace at difficult times. It strengthens our immune systems, and if we didn't know how important that is to fighting disease we do now unless we've been sleeping for the past many months. Writing our stories fills time, brings us closer to our inner selves and battles depression. The results of personal writing have been studied with so many conditions it seems pointless to study any more. The reduced stress, stronger immune system, cheerier mood and other personal improvements brought by life-writing are evident.

Check out my take on resolutions in the article in this issue. Make writing one of your pandemic pastimes.

Please wear a mask in public, keep a good distance from others and wash those hands. And still make time to...
Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect.
Carol Celeste
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Therapeutic Writing Fact
From: "an You Boost Your Mental Health by Keeping a Journal?" by David Levine, Contributor, U.S. News & World Report Sept. 24, 2018."Keeping a journal is a powerful mental health tool. At [sic] the American Psychiatric Association says: 'Journaling can provide general wellness and self-improvement benefits, such as making you more self-aware, boosting creativity and helping you build better habits. Journaling can help you better understand your feelings and emotions and help you manage stress. Writing about things that have frustrated or upset you can help you to let go of some of the stress and gain perspective'"
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Writing Quote"No matter what our intention, you just can’t simply record what happened. You have to shape and examine it." Marge Piercy & Iran Wood, authors of So You Want to Write
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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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ARTICLE - "Resolutions, Really?"
Why do we feel obligated to make resolutions at the start of a new year? 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 thought led me to research 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.

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 more likely to be promises to ourselves. Today, some religions forbid resolutions, others hold resolution prayer services on New Year’s eve. Probably we persist from a tradition the origin of which is long forgotten.

For me, birthday is a more apt time to rethink life and make changes, but that only alters the timing, not the practice. We really should pay attention all the time 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 spend a whole year dealing with a situation that needs change now? If you realize the need for change January 1, then don't wait to act. If you realize it sooner, act then.

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. I wish you a year of writing benefits, both physical and mental.

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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.
Write about the best thing you found about last year.
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We all have pandemic stories. If you want to share yours, here are some publications looking for pandemic stories for you to check.

Fish Short Memoir Prize by Fish Publishing, Ireland. Will publish top ten entries in an anthology. Open to any nationality but must be written in English. Word max 4,000. Deadline Jan. 31, fee €18 (yes, that’s Euros). Prizes are €1,000, €200 and online writing course, €200. Dollar value depends on exchange rate. Must be unpublished. Enter via the website. More details found at Fish Publishing.

WOW! Creative Writing Essay Contest is back. Another global contest for written-in-English personal stories on any topic. Word limit from 200 to 1,000. Fee $12, deadline Jan 31. Entries limited so enter early. Prizes, $500, $300, $200 and publication. Runners up and honorable mentions rewarded. Learn all the details at WOW!.

Writing Contest ACCENTi a Canadian magazine with an Italian accent, offers $1,000 to the winner and $100 to three runners-up. Fee $30, deadline Feb. 1. All $ are Canadian. Length 2,000 words max. Learn requirements at ACCENTi.

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