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November Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 14, No. 11 November 2014 © 2014 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "What About ME?"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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We all have many things to be thanful for, even when life seems difficult. I am thankful for all the readers of this newsletter and participants in the Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow courses. It's comforting to know how many people are interested in writng their life stories for the benefit of others as well as for themselves. Writing does heal and gives joy as it brings families together and increases our understanding of others and ourselves.

The article in this issue gives some encouragement to start your life-writing if you haven't already, and tips for ways to expand it if you have. Our stories deal with memories and our feelings about those memories, and memories begin with ME. Put yourself into each story, whether long or short, and learn about the things you give thanks for.

The book review gives some hints on how to make your work more readable and appreciated by those with whom you share from a different angle than the common how-to-write-your-best advice. Ben Yagoda addresses what may be a more practical goal for most of us, namely How Not to Write Bad[ly]. If you can't start writing until you feel it will be perfect, Yagoda may heal you of that condition.

It's time to think of holiday gifts, again, and you won't be surprised to learn that I suggest one of the life-writing courses from Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow. Find details on the Courses tab line above.

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: "No matter what [y]our intention, you just can't simply record what happened. You have to shape and examine it." Marge Piercy & Iran Wood, authorsr So You Want to Write
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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...

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

"I also appreciated the critiques/feedback because they were to-the-point and constructive."

"I definitely feel like I've grown as a writer through the experience."

"You gave me great comments, and I was able to make my essays better."

"I find that with this new knowledge and experience, that I have been able to 'pgrade' some of the works I have written and kept over the years."
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ARTICLE - What About Me?
Memoir begins with ME. But what about me (or you) makes a memoir topic? The answer is just about anything. No matter who you are, what your background, you have plenty of material for life-writing projects.

Consider the life themes of the books reviewed in this newsletter over the years and how they resemble your life experience.

Travel: You don't have to journey to exotic places for self-exploration to fashion a travel memoir. Places in your town can yield interesting results and insights that will interest others. Remember, wherever you are millions of others are not.

Family relationships: Mothers seem to inspire the most memoir fodder. But it doesn't take a nutty mother to rouse a readers' interest. Sandwich generation mid-lifers, seniors with life lessons to share, divorces from parents' and children’s perspectives, late-life romance, early life romance, and a slew of other familial ties hold writing material. Consider the experiences you've had with cousins, siblings or eccentric aunts or uncles.

Life stages: Tales of the ages, from childhood, to teen years, to middle age and beyond hold lessons and entertainment for all humanity. You can write about past stages or express what you're going through now. Times of grief, adopting or dropping religion, changing careers and much more, offer reader-appealing themes.

Career: Rock stars flood the memoir shelves but other careers hold reader interest as well. What about your work is unusual, or common but dealt with in a creative way? What don’t most people realize about the trade you ply?

Hobbies: Your down time also provides lessons and personal insight. How did you become interested in the hobbies you practice? Whatever interests you will interest other people.

Remember, life-writing doesn't have to fill a book. Essays, even poems, effectively cover short episodes.

Here’s to your life. May others enjoy your stories and may you enjoy writing them.
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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 were not thankful for at the time but later found to be a blessing.
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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:, Oct. 21, 2014, "Write Your Way Out of Chronic Pain" by Dr. David Hanscom. "Writing separates you from your disturbing thoughts, so it can be used to help you let go....Writing helps to reprogram the nervous system, so you can respond more appropriately to pain."
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Book Review ~ How to Not Write Bad by Ben Yagoda
Journalism instructor and writer Ben Yagoda knows the title of this book should be How to Not Write Badly. The often used and more casual sound of bad and its relation to the book’s theme tilted him toward the wrong word choice.

He notes his reason for writing a book on not writing badly instead of writing well in this passage: "Most students, I've found, can't handle writing 'well.'" So he set out to instruct writers on how to write good-enough. If you read a lot you will have noticed that most publications of any type could benefit from a copy of this book at every editor's desk.

Yagoda says the more you read, assuming you read well-written work, the less bad your writing will be just from observation.

As you might gather from the premise, humor strafes the book but the instruction is solid. Plenty of examples show common errors and the preferred versions that result in better writing.

He starts with "How Not to Write Wrong." This section covers rules of punctuation, grammar, word usage and spelling, and miscellany like writing numbers, capitalization and formatting. These are all errors cured by paying attention to what you are writing and avoiding distractions like constantly checking emails. When in doubt look it up.

Once you master not writing wrong, try not writing bad. For that Yagoda suggests keeping smooth reading in mind rather than rules to help your readers understand without checking a dictionary, re-reading a few times, or tossing your work aside for something written with more mindfulness.

The final section takes us from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph, highlighting the importance of transitions and varied sentence length. Yagoda points out what he calls the "Dickens Fallacy": the mistaken sense that writers are paid by the word (as Dickens is rumored to have been hence his weighty output.) He was paid per installment. Yagoda's best advice for revealing wordiness, repetition, and awkward sentences is to read your work aloud. Another irritant for the author is the excessive use of commas. He gives detailed advice on how to avoid that habit.

There is no new advice in this book, but the presentation, brevity and clarity make it a good reference work to keep handy. Plenty of examples make points clear. The subtitle sums up what Yagoda provides in How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them. I recommend this as an easy to access reference for every writer in every genre.
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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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The Expeditioner takes first-personal travel stories 1,100 to 1,300 words. Pays $30. More at The Expeditioner.

The Chattahoochee Review Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction takes up to 5,000-word submissions for its annual contest. Winning essay pays $1,000 and publication. Any topic except scholarly or critical essays considered. That allows personal essays. Fee $15, deadline Jan. 31. Unpublished work only. Details at The Chattahoochee Review.

The Winter Anthology Contest is taking submissions of 50 pages (may be a book) any genre through January 31. That means life-writing. May even be a published work if you own the rights. Fee $11 but winner paid $1,000. Must have been written afer 1999. More at The Winter Anthology.

Chicken Soup: Holiday Edition gives you a reason to pay special attenion to the holidays this year. Gather your stories and submit by January 31. Holiday includes any celebration that occurs in December, not just Christmas although that's included, too. And so is New Year's. Stories of 1,200 words max that are "Santa safe"are eligible. Pays $200 and 10 copies to published work. Check details at Chicken Soup.

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