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December Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 17, No. 12 December 2017
© 2017 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* "Winter Mind Cleaning"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* "Blog-writing for Therapy?"
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Markets
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This sounds like a repetitive audio glitch (aka broken record), but it's true. We are ending another year that seems to have started just a few months ago. I guess that happens when you keep busy. Now we face the usual holiday gift season.

Gift-giving is part of most holiday celebrations no matter what it is you celebrate. If you wonder what to give someone special in your life, consider a class in life-writing. Learning to write about your own life gives more than a pretty package containing something with limited life. It shows how much you care about that person because it’s an original gift. It provides an easy way to explore life. It's known to improve immune system function and health outcomes. It shows how to write more effectively—tips and feedback enhance all types of writing beyond personal essays. It encourages self-expression. It may lead to a writing career. What other gift gives so much and shows how special the recipient is to you?

To round out this year one article in this issue deals with the year-end clean out of mental obstacles to being efficient and getting in the mood for life-writing. The other explores the value of blogging as a therapeutic tool. Whether you call it the ether, cyberspace, the cloud or some other term (which may not be as kind depending on your experience) we are more driven to go online for just about every facet of life, and online exposure requires writing. Sharing your life carries some caveats along with the benefits so be sure to read page three.

If you get busy you have time to create a collection of your life stories for holiday presents. And be sure to check out the paying markets for your gems and those of your giftees at
Write to heal, write to grow, write to reflect,
Carol Celeste
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Memoir Quote: "To write dangerous is to go to parts of ourselves that we know exist but try to ignore — parts that are sad, sore; parts that are silent, and heavy." Tom Spanbauer, author
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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 always remember your lovely gentle support in my writing and process, response to my essays and what a very helpful process that was for me."

"I really enjoyed this topic! I don’t know if it’s publication quality, but it was terrific therapy, so it’s a winning situation for me either way!"

"Thank you so much for the excellent feedback. I’m enjoying this class and am learning so much."

"I am finding the materials very useful"
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ARTICLE - "Winter Mind Cleaning"
Writing is a mental process. Pounding the keyboard and styling words with pen and paper (as some still do all the time or on occasion) are physical activities, but the real work of writing takes place in the mind. And our minds are just as susceptible to cluttering as our external surroundings, probably more so. Here are some tips to help you sweep away the mental dust and put your personal essay writing on track to start the year with renewed vigor. No need to wait for spring.

Spruce up your attitude. Look for the positive aspects of what you have accomplished and learned in life. Think about the gift you'll give your family or a wider readership when you share your life lessons, a gift that lasts long past the winter holidays. And writing is a great winter depression fighter.

Set new goals. Make a list of new tales to tell or look for new approaches to the tales that have been tugging at you. New ideas will motivate you to put in a daily writing session then celebrate with a cup of hot chocolate.

Eradicate distractions. Clear your mind of those obsessive distractions that add to the clutter without benefitting your writing life. Pull out a cozy quilt and wrap your mind around sugarplum thoughts.

Sort through memories. Memory surfing is a great winter pastime. Better than watching snowflakes through the window. So, take time to review the times past and list the ones that most beg you for attention. Don't toss any of them. We're dealing with your life, not yesterday's newspaper. But do rank them. Then, when you hear the personal essay muse beckon you'll have a ready topic to work with. And no excuse for procrastinating.

Mental clutter puts us in a funky mood that takes the fun and satisfaction out of our writing. Winter is the perfect time to tidy up and set a new course for writing our life stories. A little mind cleaning will improve your writing, and chase the winter blahs, while turning memories into vibrant new tales for family, friends and the world.
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Looking for something to write about? Here's a topic to inspire your inner self to emerge.

Do you love the holiday activity or wish it would go away? What experiences make you feel that way?
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ARTICLE - "Blog-Writing for Therapy?"
Writing takes many forms and those forms have expanded with the growth of the Internet. Blogs (short for Web Log) seem to dominate many areas of cyberspace and you’ll find a variety of topics to entertain and educate in this form.

What draws so many people to the blogosphere? On the reader side, the human trait of voyeurism no doubt influences us to peek into other lives That and curiosity about a topic or event or to see what others think about something we wonder about. The popularity of blogs proves that we love to read what others have to say. But what about the writer side? What drives the bloggers to expound and expose to the world?

Many blogs engage in expressive writing and yield the same benefits. Community is often the motive for bloggers, either building one or joining one that already exists. "People coping with cancer diagnoses and other serious conditions are increasingly seeking—and finding—solace in the blogosphere. Blogging undoubtedly affords similar benefits to" expressive writing, says Nancy Morgan, lead author of an Oncologist magazine article dealing the therapeutic value of blogging.

Whether you write in a journal for yourself or compose personal essays to share, your blogged words reach an unidentified horde. When you express your deepest thoughts and feelings you learn about yourself, improve your health and often find solutions to what keeps you awake at night. The benefits depend on the content, not the venue, of your writing. Two major differences between private and public personal writing do exist.

To gain the benefits of expressive writing you must write honestly. And what you write will be seen by many strangers. Potentially worse than strangers, people you know will see your true thoughts. Consider the consequences of certain people knowing your true feelings. Many of your readers will gain from your experiences and feelings and thank you for sharing. But, sadly, some evil people look for vulnerabilities to take advantage of in ways you’d never expect. While blogging can be one form of expressive writing, it can also expose you to people with bad intentions.

If you choose blogging as a means of expressive, therapeutic writing, edit your content for information that may negate the benefits you gain from the exercise. Many forms of expressive writing are available. Consider which will give you the greatest benefits and safety before you post word one. Blogging can be good for your health, but only if you deal with it wisely.
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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:The Dallas Morning News, June 02, 2015, "Doctors recognizing that reading, writing can be therapeutic," by Elizabeth Hamilton. "A movement called narrative medicine has grown from the idea that both writing and reading literature can help doctors and patients communicate better and discover meaning in the illnesses they battle. Dr. John Harper, a cardiology consultant at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, is a proponent of this movement.... Harper says doctors who read stories are more empathetic and, therefore, more compassionate, more willing to listen to their patients’ stories. It also helps doctors communicate better, he says....The nuances in poetry and prose can communicate meaning and emotion far better than any scientific explanation, he says."
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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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Nowhere Fall Travel Writing Contest offers $1,000 and publication for nonfiction stories or essays with a powerful sense of place. Other entries considered for publication only. Published stories considered, but previous winners of any contest not eligible. Deadline January 1, fee $20. Make it between 800 ad 5,000 words.Check more details at Nowhere Travel Writing Contest.

The Writer Essay Contest, sponsored by The Writer magazine, wants 2,000-word essays about any aspect of the writing life. The Grand prize is $1,000 and publication. All entries will be considered for publication in the magazine. Deadline January 1, fee $25. Learn more at The Writer.

Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Contest from the NC Writers' Network wants entries with relevance to North Carolinians but is open to all writers. Nonmember fee $12. Deadline January 15. Details at Rose Post Contest.

The Iowa Review Awards accepts up to 25 double-spaced pages of prose between January 1 and January 31. Fee $20 via PayPal. Prizes of $1,500 and $750 and publication along with other runners-up in each December issue. The generous prizes ease the pain of the fee. Send your best work. Learn all the rules and review the magazine at The Iowa Review.

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