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March Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 15, No. 3 March 2015
© 2015 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Writing as a Learning Tool"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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March brings us the start of spring, and, in most of the US, a time change for even more hours of daylight and St. Patrick's Day when everyone plays Irish. It also brings us the Ides of March which is much better known than all the other months’ ides thanks to Shakespeare. This year, March brings the second month in a row with a Friday the 13th.

A slew of special observances occur every month and March is no exception. Some alert us to worthy causes (March into Literacy Month), others give us a good laugh (Noodle Month). One of the many "holidays" assigned to March that may resonate with you is National On-hold Month.

Is your life-writing practice on hold? Does lack of confidence prevent you from sharing your life through the written word? Both the article and book review in this issue may stoke your motivation. The article shows how writing aids learning–and who doesn't want to be smarter? The review highlights the importance of life experience over academic writing credentials as it emphasizes the writer's life more than the craft aspect so common, an repetitive in books on writing.

Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow personal essay courses will help you get started and give you a deadline to work toward. No writing experience needed, but a refresher course always helps. Look for paying markets for your work by clicking on on the Paying Markets menu tab.

Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "…some of the best writing–the kind that readers identify with–comes out of the little happenings in our daily lives..." Phillip Barry Osborne, writer/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...

"Your assignments were fun, serious and always thought provoking. I was always surprised at the direction the essays directed themselves toward."

"I looked forward to the assignment choices which were varied and sometimes hard to choose among because I wanted to write on them all!"

"Your input rang true and you spotlighted what I need to do to get to the next level in my writing."

"I think the cost for editing the essays alone is excellent value."
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ARTICLE - Writing as a Learning Tool
Personal essay writing isn't often promoted as a learning tool, but, although our hands seem to do the work, writing is essentially a cerebral process.

Writing activates two parts of the brain; the frontal lobe which deals with reasoning, planning and problem solving, and the parietal lobe which interprets language. Often we aren't aware of brain activity as we write, but be assured that both lobes in your cranial cavity get a good workout. Here are some ways that life-writing may help us learn.

Research. Almost everything we write, even our personal essays, involves some research. That research provides new information and the act of writing down what we learn improves our retention.

Self-knowledge. Writing personal essays takes us on a journey of self-exploration and self-discovery as we record thoughts and feelings we may prefer to bury. The result often surprises us as we learn our true motivations and how to deal with them.

Solutions. Essay writing triggers both left brain and right brain activity simultaneously, boosting critical thinking ability. Many people report finding solutions to problems through writing that elude them in the normal course of life.

Memory. In clinical trials, writing has shown improved working memory among participants. Writing makes the brain focus on what is before it and dedicates more memory space to that topic. It then stores that information for future reference.

Critical thinking. Although life-writing deals with feelings it contains an element of critical thinking. As we write our stories we do much more than relate facts. We consider the meaning of our feelings and thoughts about life events and how they shaped us, making writing part of the critical thinking process.

When you need to learn something new, team up your brain and hands and write your way to improved knowledge and recall, without which all the learning will have little value.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Write about a song that stirs strong memories.
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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:"Randomized, Controlled trial of written emotional expression and benefit finding in breast cancer patients," by A.L. Stanton,Journal of Clinical Oncology Oct. 15, 2002;20;4160–4168. "These patients [writing about emotions] reported significantly reduced physical symptoms and made fewer cancer-related medical appointments than patients who wrote facts about their cancer experiences at a 3-month follow-up."
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Book Review ~ This is NOT a Writing Manual by Kerri Majors
A better title for this book would be Beginning Writer because the information would benefit anyone considering a writing career without much experience. Although it is presented as a book for young writers, the language does not suggest teeny bopper. Plenty of older people who aspire to a writing career have no idea what a writer's life is like. Although Kerri Majors teaches writing and has published several short stories and some nonfiction (this book, for instance), she has yet to reach the goal she originally set for her writing career-publishing a novel. She has plenty of experience dealing with book publishers, though. Dealing with rejection is one of the things all writers face, even published ones.

The book comes in three parts: the writing process, the writing life and supporting yourself by writing. Some of the advice may surprise you. For instance, Majors is not a huge fan of creative writing classes or MFA degrees although she has one herself. She says majoring in writing will not give you something interesting to write about as another major or hobby might. Your interest in other fields can be worked into your writing and give it much more punch and reader appeal than purely literary writing. Another surprise is the urging to watch soap operas, for their storytelling value.

The advice and examples in This is NOT a Writing Manual give encouragement and warning to would-be writers. Encouragement says not to listen to the inevitable comments to keep your day job or marry money. Warning comes from honest appraisals that few writers make a comfortable living without a lot of work. If you think that writing was an easy life of drinking coffee and lunching with publishers you’ll be disappointed.

One thing Majors has published is essays and this book is a collection of them revised to make a cohesive book. She shares personal experience from one who isn't a household name, a refreshing take on the writing life since it deals with the real writing world most of us can expect.

The anecdotes and personal experience do not always translate to each of us reading the book, and give it a strong memoir flavor. But who can better teach the nitty-gritty of writing than someone who has gone through the steps? It has humor, honesty, alternative ways to use writing as your career (most that will actually support you) and a love of words. Majors offers a refreshing take on the writing life by dealing with the real writing world most of us can expect. This is definitely not a writers' manual but it will show you the inner parts of a writers life which is just as important as the craft.
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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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Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition has steep entry fees but big prizes. Early bird fee of $25 increases after May 4. Memoir/personal essay category prizes: $1,000, $500, $250, $100, and several VISA gift cards. One grand prize of $5,000 plus more perks for all winners. Check details at: Writer's Digest.

Tiferet Writing Contest awards $500 and publication to the top essay dealing with personal experiences with invisible or different aspects of spiritual traditions. Fee $15 per entry up to 20 pages. Deadline June 1. Honorable mentions also published in a digital edition. Find more information at: Tiferet.

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, a contest and anthology, offers a $250 prize in each of several categories, two being essay and interview. 5,000 words max. Must be written by veterans, military-service personnel, or their families.Deadline June 1. Learn more at: Proud to Be.

Greenprints "The Weeder's Digest", pays up to $150 for up to 2,000 words on personal garden writing, not how-to topics. Looks for thoughtful, angry, contrite, flippant, witty, observant, sad pieces, and more, about the people behind the plants. Find details at: Greenprints.

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