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July Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 15, No. 7 July 2015
© 2015 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Your Brain on Story"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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Summer traitionally leads to reading just about wherever you are: at the beach, in a comfy air-conditioned haven, sitting in the yard near a sprinkler, on a plane or waiting for one. Most of us favor easy reading this time of year, because, after all, it's a time to slow down our brains and bodies.

That makes summer a perfect time to catch up on memoirs that will not only entertain us, but inspire us to write our own stories and provide examples of how to craft them for maximum effect.

The effect our stories accomplishes is to connect us with readers and the article in this issue tells how life stories do that. It isn't all entertainment. Our brains still work when we relax but memoir reading seldom taxes those neurons making it a good choice for summer reading.

Choose a variety of lives mixing celebrities you think you know but who may bring surprises with obscure names who may enlighten you in the ways of structuring life stories of any length and demonstrate how your own stories add value to readers’ lives. We all have stories to tell and we can all learn from other peoples'.

For added inspiration and guidance, check the book review. This one is loaded with good writing advice.

If publication is your aim, find paying markets for your gems below and by clicking on the Paying Markets menu tab. Why not share your stories with the world? We're waiting.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "You have as much a persona in writing a memoir as you do in writing a fictional narrative." Ladette Randolph, author and literary journal editor
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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...

"Thank you again for all your help in 'launching' me in writing and eventually my book. You made such a difference when I was searching for a direction."

"Thanks for the feedback. Lots of learning here."

"I have played with a lot of different writing programs and classes and found yours the most productive for me."

"I truly love your advice and working with you. It's helped me tune in a bit more on what I should be. Thank you so much for your understanding."
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ARTICLE - Your Brain on Story
Does writing your life stories sound intimidating, egocentric, difficult? Put aside those hesitations and consider the benefits of storytelling. Let’s look at some of the major ways that our stories impact lives.

Research shows that brain waves engage in what psychologists call "coupling" when we tell our stories to people who are actively engaged in listening or reading what we say about ourselves. Coupling vanishes when the parties fail to communicate. As we craft our stories, we include specific details, and omit others. During this process, we make sense of our past and how it formed us and can turn a desired outcome into reality. The result also directs how others see and understand us.

One study of how a parent's own early parental attachment affects that of their children found, "what was important was not whether the parent has been deprived or nurtured as a child, but the degree of coherence versus incoherence in the parent's subsequent memory of her childhood."* Other studies show the importance of making sense of what happens to us in forming sound adult relationships. Our stories impact other people - in the way they view us and in how they explore their own life events - as well as impact us.

Brain studies show us that our communications transmit to others when they are engaged. Human history shows us that the human brain is particularly attracted to storytelling as a means of communication. Our brains change when someone else shares life stories, and theirs change when we share ours.

Don't you think it's time for a brain lift? Writing your life stories is an inexpensive way to get it. What you write about yourself not only helps you better understand the inner you, it can influence how others feel and think about you and about themselves. Put aside the hesitations and change your brain by starting a life a story today.
*Mitchell, S. (2000). Relationality: From attachment to intersubjectivity. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Compare summer vacation as a child and how you spend it now.
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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:"Monitor on Psychology,"Vol. 32, No. 8, September 2001 by Siri Carpenter, referencing APA's Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (JEP: General) Vol. 130, No. 3), [Sept. 2001, pages 520-533]. "... expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. These improvements, researchers believe, may in turn free up our cognitive resources for other mental activities, including our ability to cope more effectively with stress."
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Book Review ~ The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante
At 642 pages (plus back matter), I call this a comprehensive guide to storytelling in writing. The focus of this Norton guide is creative writing, usually thought of as telling fictional stories. It applies to life-writing through sections dealing specifically with creative nonfiction.

Let's begin with the big question: What is creative nonfiction? How can nonfiction be creative? Isn't that for fiction? In The Making of a Story, author Alice LaPlante says creative nonfiction, "is generally agreed to be nonfiction that is rendered using fictional techniques: dialogue, and narrative, imagery, and other elements that are leveraged to evoke a certain emotional response." Those techniques can make what seem commonplace life events to you, appear extraordinary to others and rouse empathy and emotions from your life-writing.

LaPlante's topics include showing versus telling, point of view, dialogue, character, and openings. Of special interest is an entire chapter titled "Getting beyond Facts to Truth." Here we are reminded that creative nonfiction "combines the discipline and integrity of a journalist with a fiction writer's ability to perform complex emotional explorations and character delineations." This applies to personal writing as well as to reporting.

Readers expect your life stories to be true, to the best of your recollection. That brings with it ethical considerations of including other people in your accounts. It also brings the question of objectivity with the self-discovery aspect of writing nonfiction (I add, especially life-writing).

Throughout, LaPlante gives examples from notable writers to illustrate the topics and offers questions to ponder about how the writer achieved reader interest. The Making of a Story is such an enticing compendium of good writing advice, you may find yourself indulging the entire book when you intend to only read the parts on creative nonfiction.
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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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Brain, Child magazine for thinking mothers takes personal essays on all phases of motherhood from 800 to 4,000 words. Wants a strong personal voice, down-to-earth tone and vivid scenes. Pays $40 to $150. Check the details at Brain, Child.

StoryQuarterly Nonfiction Prize pays $1,000 to the winner and the top three will be published. 6,250 words max. Deadline Aug. 1, fee $15. Send works with freshness and vision. Submit online at StoryQuarterly.

Blue Mesa Review added a nonfiction category to its annual contest. Pays $500 for up to 6,000 words of startling, original work and publication for the top two entries. Deadline Aug. 1. Find more details at Blue Mesa Review.

X. J. Kennedy Award for Creative Nonfiction > sponsored by Rosebud magazine pays $1,000 to the winning entry plus three copies of the awards issue and $100 to the four runners-up and publication for the top five submissions. Maximum word count 3,500. Accepts memoir, travel and any kind of essay. Deadline Aug. 15. Entry fee $10 per submission. Send an extra $5 to receive a copy of the award issue. Entries go to: X. J. Kennedy Award c/o Roderick Clark N3310 Asje Road Cambridge, WI 53523. No email submissions. For more information check X. J. Kennedy Award.

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