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April Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 14, No. 4 April 2014 © 2014 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Getting Started"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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Spring traditionally heralds beginnings. However long your list of things undone may be, now is the time to start shortening it. When we have too much to do, we tend to do nothing, but once we scratch a few items off the list, it becomes easier to approach the next item and soon we're pleased with the progress we've made.

Writing life stories fits right into the procrastination litany. So many stories, so little time. Where to begin? How to begin? What to tackle first? These are all questions we use to delay getting started. The article this month offers some tips to help you start a writing plan for your stories. Whether you write for yourself or to share with others, I've mentioned many times the benefits you gain through putting your life into written words. In addition to the sense of accomplishment, you will become better acquainted with your inner self, realize how much you have done in your life, and feeling better in mind, body and spirit. If you write for family or general publication, others will get better acquainted with you as well.

Letting others know you involves more than reciting your life events which a biographer would do. It means sharing your emotional responses to those events and revealing how they shaped the person you’ve become as only you can do in a memoir or other personal writing. Learn the difference in the review of Country Girl which is promoted as a memoir.

If you plan to publish your work, pay special attention to proofreading for errors and editing for structure, the two most neglected aspects of writing in my experience. Then find paying markets posted at Paying Markets.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "When truthfulness is honored, describing the world and describing ourselves is the same act." Deena Metzger, author Writing for Your Life.
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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...

"It was a very wonderful experience for me! I have the urge to keep going."

"As always, you make some good points and some very helpful suggestions."

"You have given me so much information, this course is very informative. Thank you"

"Thank you for the detailed critiques and thoughtful attention to my assignments."

"It has been a pleasure working with you. You haven't read the last of me yet!"
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ARTICLE - Getting Started
For most people, the hardest part of writing life stories, is getting started. We find endless reasons to put off writing the first line. But just as the longest journey begins with the first step, your life chronicles begin with the first line. If delay tactics out-muscle your will to put your stories in writing, these tips should help you get started. Once you begin, you'll find it easy to continue and may even have trouble stopping when it's time.

Don't worry about where to start. The best beginnings often come to us after we finish the work. You can start anywhere and organize the parts later.

Begin with an enjoyable event. Writing about good or humorous times takes less deep thinking than writing about traumas. You can relocate or even delete the happy writing if it doesn't fit the story you'e working on, so let happy times help your fingers start moving.

Start with a list of events you want to cover. Each life story should have a theme. A list of things you want to write about will help you uncover themes and decide how to group events. Lists are not outlines but they guide you in deciding content and minimize the power of the "I don’t know what to say" excuse.

Set a time and place to write. If you write at a scheduled time in a designated place, you will begin to associate that place and time with writing. Attach writing to a habit you already practice, say spend 30 minutes after checking emails. Once you adapt that habit, it will be easier to write at other times and places.

Establish deadlines. Join a critique group or take a writing class. You will get valuable feedback and the incentive of accountability to people you don't want to disappoint will prod you to stick with your stories.

Whether or not you plan to share what you write, the act of putting your life events into words offers many benefits. It helps you recall, reveals hidden troubles so you can face them, improves your spoken vocabulary and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. And those are just a few of the good results you'll feel from getting started with your life-writing program.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about something you hope will happen and why it's important to 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: "Theories, Therapies, and Taxpayers: On the Complexities of the Expressive Writing Paradigm,"James W. Pennebaker, The University of Texas at Austin. "In ongoing pilot studies, we are finding that when participants write about emotional upheavals, they .... are more likely to talk about the trauma, to laugh more, and even to subtly change their friendship networks."
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Book Review ~ Country Girl by Edna O’Brien
Books by celebrities are often called memoirs when they don't quite fit the parameters of that genre. Country Girl by Irish author Edna O'Brien offers an example. One characteristic that distinguishes memoir from autobiography is the presence of a theme. Autobiography covers the span of a life while memoir deals with some aspect of life. Memoir may cover a person's life from start to present, but only the parts that relate to the theme. Country Girl covers various stages of life, beginning with the author's childhood, but it fails to deliver a theme. This gives readers a sense that they are reading a diary of events rather than the progression of those events toward a particular impact on the writer's life. I would classify it more as an autobiography than a memoir, but as autobiography it omits many parts of life that seem obligatory to cover. For instance, once she gains custody of her children she rarely mentions them leaving readers to question if they still speak or have any relationship at all. Then, near the end, one of them helps her buy and remodel a home indicating they must have connected over the decades.

Another aspect of memoir is revelation of the inner self. There is plenty of revelation about the events experienced by O'Brien, but a lack of overt emotions dulls the impact. The author seems disconnected from the many troubling encounters in relationships and even in her writing career. She tells about rejection of her work, scathing reviews and also praise, but never truly conveys her feelings about those events.

Name-dropping is another common element in celebrity life-writing which we should expect since the nature of celebrity puts them amid other famous people. O'Brien gives us lots of names of those at parties, which she claims amazement at being invited to, and identifying one-night stands, but she seldom shares any long-term influence on her life from these meetings. Many memories and conversations are expressed in such detail that it's hard to believe they come from memory and not a creative mind.

O'Brien entertains with a touch of wry humor andgaging anecdotes about other celebrities. What comes through most about her inner self is a sense of vulnerability in spite of her literary success. She is taken in by people, mainly men, falling into traps set by those who have already proven untrustworthy.

The book is well-written with lyrical prose and engaging style, but the content flags quickly. As a blend of autobiography and memoir Country Girl doesn't quite conform to either. Perhaps that reveals O'Brien’s personality more than the life events she shares do.
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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 cut and paste the URL into your browser or search for the title.
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Whole Life Times pays $100 for 750-word personal essays on a "seminal moment in the life of the writer." Focus on Southern California but other areas considered. Learn more at: Whole Life Times.
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Autumn House Nonfiction Contest. Deadline June 30. Fee $30. That's steep, but consider the potential prize. Winner awarded publication of full manuscript and $2,500 advance and promotion grant. Send 200-300 pages by snail mail or via online submission. Accepts personal essays/memoir. All finalists considered for publication. Details at: Autumn House.

Chicken Soup has another offering, this one The Power of Forgiveness. Deadline June 30. How did forgiving someone for something big or small change your life? Answer in 1,200 words or less. Must submit on Web site. Find all the specs plus other titles at: Chicken Soup .

.Rider Magazine pays $200 for 700-900 word mini travel articles with photos. Targets affluent motorcyclists. Query first. Day trips in your area make good topics. Must submit color photos with stories. Complete information on submission specs found at: Rider Magazine.

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