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July Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 16, No.7 July 2016
© 2016 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Mid-year Writing Check-up"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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After the fireworks expend their energy, summer begins in full force. For many that means a change in schedule and leaves us with time to fill. Why not fill that time with writing your life stories? The article in this issue offers some reasons for doing that. If you find it hard get started or to continue, a class or a writing group are good motivators that improve your writing as well as encourage you to keep at it. Both help fill the empty hours of summer for those whose schedule has lightened. For those charged with countless vacation activities, many writing topics will emerge. Whatever your summer circumstances, writing about them is likely to enhance your life.

You might notice a theme in these pages. Emotions seem to appear in places in addition to the article. The Therapeutic Writing Fact sheds insight into the role of writing in dealing with emotions and the stress that results from ignoring them. So much research confirms the value of writing in general, and personal exploration writing in particular, that it's hard to argue against this inexpensive way to chill out. Summer doldrums offer the perfect opportunity to work on a journal, an essay, or even a family history. Discovering ourselves is a great vacation project that yields benefits beyond our lifetimes if we share with others.

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:"When we write about things that people everywhere share. . . the code goes out, a kindred spirit intercepts it and that essential connection is made." Marilyn Pribus from Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul
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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 feel that I have learned how to put an essay together in a more logical way."

"Thanks for the feedback, Carol. I found it clear and constructive."

"I have enjoyed both the basic and advanced courses."

"Thank you so much for all your encouragement."
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ARTICLE - Mid-year Writing Check-up
With half of 2016 behind us, many people review the year in an effort to rid their lives of unused things and get back on track toward goals set in January. This is a good time to review what we gain from writing personal essays, and writing in general. Psychologists say we struggle to part with useless things because we form emotional attachments to them. Once we deal with the emotion, we can dispose of the item. Writing our stories is a great way to deal with emotions, discover why we hang on to them, and how to free ourselves from them. With mid-year and Independence Day so close together, it's a perfect time to free ourselves from the emotions that prevent us from moving forward and acknowledging the blessings of life-writing. Some benefits of writing our stories are obvious and some, while not exactly hidden, we don’t often register. Consider the following reasons to make writing your life stories a goal for the rest of the year and beyond.

• When we share our experiences and lessons learned, we feel a sense of accomplishment. It takes courage and tenacity to put our feelings into words and send them into the world.
• Telling our stories clears our minds and emotions. It helps us shed the personal baggage that prevents us from discarding useless behaviors and ideas.
• Writing triggers memories, both joyful and unhappy, to help us better understand ourselves.
• Life-writing leads to a healthier person by strengthening the immune system and providing health improvement for many chronic conditions, both medical and psychological.
• Unloading emotional burdens can leave us more peaceful and happy.
• Our brains function better when we exercise them by writing.

How are you managing your life-writing this year? Are you on track or still reluctant to enjoy the benefits that await? Set aside some time this summer to see what you’re missing.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about a relationship you had or have, with a pet and what it taught/teaches you.
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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:HEALTHbeat Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, October 11, 2011,,"Writing about emotions may ease stress and trauma." "Writing helps people to organize thoughts and give meaning to a traumatic experience. Or the process of writing may enable them to learn to better regulate their emotions. It's also possible that writing about something fosters an intellectual process ... that helps someone break free of the endless mental cycling more typical of brooding or rumination. Finally, when people open up privately about a traumatic event, they are more likely to talk with others about it — suggesting that writing leads indirectly to reaching out for social support that can aid healing."
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Book Review ~ Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith
You may wonder why a book on fiction writing would be reviewed in a newsletter about life-writing. One reason is that personal essay courses encourage the use of fiction techniques. Another reason is that suspense enhances all writing. And yet another reason is the lack of new work available on writing life stories. The topic is still written about, but most of what is written isn't new. I've been reading books on personal writing for many years and even the newer releases offer pretty much the same advice as the earliest issues. Some topics don’t change much over time and this seems ot be one.

While fiction writers work to make their fictitious characters seem real, we just have to be ourselves, sharing both negative and positives emotions. In fiction, writers need to know not only the characters but the setting and atmosphere of their creations. Since we live our stories it might seem easier to convey these elements. But we don't always know ourselves as well as we think or how to express our feelings so that others can relate. We also may hesitate to write at all from fear that our stories are too common place to be interesting, let alone exciting, to anyone else. That’s where fiction techniques can guide us, with suspense especially.

This book deals with writing books but the points made also apply to short works. The first chapter of a book must engage readers and set up the hook to make them keep reading.The same is true for personal essays. Your opening paragraph should set up readers for what's to come by hinting at the outcome in a way that makes them wonder what remains to discover. That creates suspense no matter how mundane the general topic seems to you. The episodes you select must relate to the point you want to make in the overall work. Tempo, the timing of revealing information, is a major factor in suspense and ideally matches the situation being described.

One way to share suspense is with emotions expressed through our senses. Personal essays thrive on emotions but senses also contribute to atmosphere, setting and a sense of expectation that adds suspense to our tales.

Revisions are less important if you write your life stories only for yourself as a form of self-therapy or stress reduction, but if sharing with others is your aim, revisions are imperative. Make sure suspense features in your stories, along with sharing of your inner self. Write with clarity, stick to your theme and exploit it and proof for errors of all types.

If you skip the parts that deal exclusively with fiction, Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction offers tips for putting suspense in your stories with many examples from author Patricia Highsmith's work. She also includes her perspective on the joy of writing which might encourage you to share your life stories with others.
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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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I Must Be Off Contest, a travel writing competition, pays $200, $50, a Readers' Choice bonus of $50 and publication for winners. 1,200-word max about places that changed you and travel experiences you just have to share.Deadline July 131. No entry fee. Unpublished work only. Find complete guidelines and submission details atI Must Be Off Contest.

The Expeditioner takes first-person narratives of all types and lengths as long as the theme is travel. Use U.S. spellings, photos preferred. Pays $30 flat rate. Check details and find tips on writing and querying at The Expeditioner.

Narrative Spring Story Contest is open for creative nonfiction essays up to 15,000 words. May be an excerpt from a longer work or a complete story. Pays $2,500, $1,000 and $500 to top three entries. Ten finalists receive $100 each. All entries considered for publication and for a $4,000 Narrative Prize and a Story of the Week. Entry fee $24, deadline July 31 Find complete guidelines at: Narrative>\.

Try the current open Chicken Soup projects periodically as they change over time at: Chicken Soup.

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