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December Newsletter of Personal Essay Writing
Vol. 14, No. 12 December 2014 © 2014 Carol Celeste All Rights Reserved ISSN 2168-7854

Well Art

* Carol's Comments
* Memoir Quote
* Article - "Winter Mind Cleaning"
* Course Offerings
* Personal Essay Topic to Write About NOW
* Become a Licensee
* Therapeutic Writing Fact
* Book Review
* Markets
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As this year nears its end more than ever I hear people say time is movng much too fast. I feel it, too, do you? It seems I just began another series of newsletters and now it starts again.

While you set goals for next year, take time to reflect on what you did and did not accomplish this year and plan time to write about those experiences in 2015. Find some tips for winter mind cleaning to make writing time easier to find.

All of our experiences hold lessons, for us and for others. Life-writing helps us deal with all of our issues, large or small, in a way that improves our health while revealing solutions to many problems. It also leaves a chronicle of events for later generations and for you to review when nostalgia is in order.

The volume of studies and clinical trials dealing with an endless array of circumstances continues to support the physical and emotional benefits of writing our life stories. This evidence drives the goals of Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow.

Share your lessons with others by submitting your work to appropriate venues for publication. Always use discernment in deciding what to share, though. Some writing should remain your private healing process. Don't forget to include happy times in your writing. Those can be mood boosters when we need a lift as well as entertaining for families and readers to see. The book review shows where life writing can go.

Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow personal essay courses are waiting to help you get started. Find details on the Courses tab line above. They make unique, thoughtful gifts, tool

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: "You may be the world's best expert on your life, but through this process [life writing] you’ll learn a great deal about yourself, too." Ralph Fletcher, author How to Write Your Life Story
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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...

"This class helped me focus on some of the unsolved issues in my life."

"This course has taught me to open up to what is in my heart. Not only pain but good feelings."

"I have learned a lot that will help me focus in order to some day write my own book."

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

"That was better than the years of therapy that I have had."
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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 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.

Write about the goals you didn't meet this year. If you didn't set any goals, write about why 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:Pennebaker, J. W. & Graybeal, A. (2001) Patterns of natural language use. "Disclosure, personality, and social integration. Current Directions," 10, 90–93. "In addition, writing about emotional topics changed the way that participants interacted with others, suggesting that writing may also have an impact on objectively assessed social and linguistic behaviour."
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Book Review ~ Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner
Memoir concentrates on a theme. It may be a feeling, type of event, stage of life, hobby, or just about anything. It does not need to follow chronology but flashbacks should contribute to the development of the theme through the writer's life. Readers expect personal anecdotes, including thoughts and feelings about the people involved in addition to the writer's self-exploration. As with personal essays, readers also want a theme they can identify or commiserate with even if their own experiences don't match the author's. Mother Daughter Me provides all those elements.

Sandwich generation describes a growing population segment dealing with multi-generational households. The title aptly describes the living arrangements of author Katie Hafner, the filling for the sandwich. Mother and daughter formed a cozy home after Hafner's husband died, until she decided to bring a third person into the household: her mother. All three generations agreed to the arrangement with trepidation but hopes for a pleasant blending. The book chronicles the changes that all parties experienced for the six months they lasted in the same home. That should give you some idea of how well they adjusted.

Hafner's point of view dominates, but she shows remarkable understanding of the feelings of her daughter, Zoë, and her mother, Helen. Understanding how they felt didn’t erase the difficulties they faced. Hafner's realization of how her childhood relationship with her mother influenced her behavior and how off-track that relationship was, dominates the book. Self-exploration and realization come through in a way that conveys Hafner laughing at herself. She shows examples of why she should have known that the three generations could not co-exist and how she continued to stoke the homestead in spite of finally catching on to everyone's attitude and dousing the flames.

Emotions play a starring role in this memoir and that's what readers want. How do you feel, what is your thought process (Hafner often asks herself "What was I thinking?" after doing something she should have known would not work.) That's what readers hope to learn from memoirs.

By the end we realize that the mother was arrogant, the daughter stubborn and the sandwich filling overdoing efforts to fashion incompatible components into a delightful relationship. Spurred by a desire to tone for a difficult childhood, for her and her mother, Hafner shares her attempt in a moving memoir with Mother Daughter Me.
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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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GENii Writing Contest considers memoirs and more, published or not, that illuminate human drama. Two categories: under 1,000 words and between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Cash prizes from $25 to $200 plus various publishing possibilities. Deadline Dec, 31. No fee noted. More details found at: GENii Writing Contest.

bioStories Magazine Essay Contest sponsors a true essay contest with the theme of "Elders" interpreted broadly. Word count 3,000 max for unpublished. items. Deadline Feb. 16, fee $10 via PayPal. Winner receives $250 and publication. For submission instructions visit: bioStories.

Creative Nonfiction Magazine Weather Issue Contest wants personal stories about dramatic weather events and how they impacted your life. 4,000 words max. Prizes of $1,000 and $500 to winners plus publication consideration for all entries. Fee $20 per entry, Deadline April 13. Find more information at: Creative Nonfiction.

Boulevard magazine favors writers with promise but limited or no published credits. Online submission fee $3. Pays from $100 to $300 for prose up to 8,000 words. Learn more about the magazine at: Boulevard.

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