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April Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 19, No. 4 April 2019
© 2019 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "What’s Your Theme?"
* Course Offerings
* "Consequences"
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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It's stress awareness month again. That fits right in with Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow since one of the main reasons personal writing is attributed to improved immune system function and general health is its contribution to stress reduction.

Health experts of every type ascribe stress to many physical and emotional health problems, so anything that can keep us calm is too good to pass up, especially when it's as easy to do as writing.

As long as you are writing for health, you may as well expand the rewards into the financial realm. That's where classes can help. What you write for your own eyes will need some editing on many fronts to make it suitable for the public. You may not want to share your whole self with the world. When you explore your inner self, punctuation, spelling and grammar don't matter. You know what you mean. But for public consumption you need to clean it up and a trained eye can help with that.

The articles in this issue cover two vital aspects of effective life-writing. One is the theme and the other is the consequences of sharing your honest work.

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: " Basic to Dangerous Writing is the belief that by going on this journey to blood and bone... we will make a personal discovery of reality." Tom Spanbauer, author 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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WTH,WTG writers say...

"Putting the painful things on paper and reading them over and over made me realize that they can no longer hurt me."

"I have gained confidence in my personal writings from the feedback in this course."

"I found getting an unbiased reaction to events as told from my perspective quite rewarding."

"I have a lot of things in my heart and in my mind that need to come out; this course has opened up a way for me to release these things."
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ARTICLE - "What's Your Theme?"
Theme holds a story together. You don't need to have a theme in mind when you start, but you better find one before you finish the final draft if you want to leave your readers satisfied.

Remember, the opening of an essay sets up readers for what follows. That is where you hint at your theme—the implicit recurring idea of your story—what it is really about beyond the events you present. Throughout the work, readers look for the relationship between the event they experience at that moment and the overarching theme promised at the opening. They don't necessarily know they are doing that, but they will know if they don’t find that relationship.

Without a theme, you have a collection of events that may seem unconnected if viewed at face value. Theme in personal stories establishes continuity. Here are some places to inject theme in every part of your life-writing as you write, or to look for a theme as you edit your first draft if you're still searching for the unifying factor. The experiences you choose to include in your narration offer the opportunity for theme development. Personal essays and memoirs do not cover every life event, only those that pertain to the story you use them to tell. Keep in mind the lessons readers can learn from your theme-related experiences.

* Include dialogue that shares feelings about what's happening to bring readers closer to your experience and help them associate your theme to their lives.

* Analogies emphasize your theme by revealing your inner thoughts through comparison. Select comparisons that strengthen the theme.

* Symbols can be people as well as things and appeal to the reader's subconscious understanding of the theme your story projects.

When you think about what elements to include in personal writing, ask yourself how each one connects to your main point, or what point each leads to if you don’t have a clear theme in mind yet.

Don't leave ragged edges or loose strings in your story tapestry. Weave your life events tightly through theme.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.
As seasons change, write about a change in your life that lasted for many years, with good or bad results.
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ARTICLE - "Consequences"
Consequences result from everything we do, or don't do. That includes writing our personal stories. Often, we worry about potential unpleasant consequences triggered by what we write so we don't even begin. But the writing also can result in good outcomes. We shouldn't let potential ills prevent us from reaping the benefits of life-writing. In both cases, we need to be prepared to face the consequences.

One common worry expressed is "Can I be sued?" Of course, the answer is yes. Anyone can sue for any reason or none at all. Even frivolous suits can be expensive and disruptive for the winner as well as the loser. This worries so many people that it suggests vengeance thrives among those contemplating sharing their life stories. If that's your intent please change your mind. You don't need to be vengeful to tell the truth and appearing vengeful may turn readers against you, diluting your message and casting doubt on the honesty of the entire work. It also dilutes the benefits to you. The odds are slim that the people in your life will make a public spectacle of themselves if what you write is true. A law suit will likely reach a far wider audience as a matter of public record than your story does as a private account. Very few people are willing to reveal their flaws in a public forum. Don't worry about litigation. Write on.

Another unpleasant consequence may be causing pain for people you care about. The injured may never speak to you again but good friends probably won't feel as hurt as you imagine. The most punishment you are likely to receive is a self-induced guilt trip, causing you to hurt yourself more than others.

Now for those good consequences? Emotional and physical health benefits come with the practice of life-writing. You learn more about yourself and find elusive solutions. Immune system function improves. Word power grows as you define your experiences. Personal stories help others. Other people may feel badly for hurting you, which they realize they did only after reading about it.

Studies of expressive writing continue to find value for the writer and for readers. If you don't want to go public you still benefit from the writing. Get the words out then decide what to do with them. Don’t deprive yourself of the good that comes to you from life-writing, shared or not.
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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: Medical Humanities 2009;35:80-88, "Finding a voice: revisiting the history of therapeutic writing" by AD Peterkin and AA Prettyman. "Therapeutic writing may not only confer cardio-protective benefits by reducing blood pressure but could also . . . enhance health-related quality of life in cancer survivors and is a low-cost intervention that . . . can be applied in group therapy settings and through new technologies including the internet."
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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.

Life Springs Publishers offers two contests. Generations Plus Stories Through the Ages looks for adults born in 1965 or before. Deadline April 15. Baby Boomers Plus 2019 Stories Through the Ages open to people born 1964 or earlier. Deadline June 15. Same requirements for both. Write about any topic. Word count 900 - 4,000. Cash prizes of $500, $200 and $100. At least 15 finalists will appear in a book. Entry fee $25. Find all the details for both at Life Springs Publishers and click on Contests.

The Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition approaches. The early-bird deadline is May 6, entry fee $30. Final deadline June 3, fee $35. Discounts for two or more entries in the same transaction. Memoir/Personal Essay is one of many categories. Fees are high, but so are the prizes. Top three win $1,000, $500, $200 and a $100 credit at the Writer's Digest Shop. Forth and fifth win $100, $50 and a $50 credit. Sixth through tenth receive $25. One grand prize will be awarded $5,000, an interview in the magazine, a paid trip to the esteemed Writer's Digest Annual Conference and a one year subscription to Writer's Digest Tutorials. More add-ons for all category winners and discounts for honorable mentions at For all the info and detailed submission instructions visit Writer's Digest.

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