Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish
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Welcome to my page of free tools on writing stories from your life.


Writing Your Marker Story

What was the moment in your life in which everything changed? A moment that tested you? A moment that asked you to show up in a different way?

You may have heard this described as a defining moment.

I call it a marker moment.

I like this term because it suggests that there is a mark and a marker; there’s a mark maker and a mark made. Human beings are like Magic Markers in that we want to leave our stories behind permanently. So that people know we were here. That we had a life. That we had some responses to that life that we’d like to share.

My “Writing Your Marker Story” e-guide is filled with writing prompts and links to essay collections and memoirs that beautifully illustrate this idea.

Ellen’s Eight Essential Elements Of Essay

Eight is at the heart of a number of things.

An essay can speak to its writer through eight essential elements which, used as a checklist, provides insights about the parts of the piece that need more work. Or not.

For the big picture, there’s storyline, structure, voice and theme.

On the sentence level, there’s detail, scene, language and pacing.

If you want to learn more about how these elements work, download “Ellen’s Eight Essential Elements of Essay” — a free, five-page guideline, best used at the end of your first draft.

Leaving a Legacy By Letter

Having our say, in our own words, no matter how famous we may or may not be, is uniquely human. It reflects the pull to express feelings or thoughts or memories in our own way. Those words help shape our legacy.

Whether there is a specific moment from your life that you want to examine more deeply or a story you’d like to document for your family in just the right way­­, writing your own story matters.

But how to begin?

You can start with my webinar here. It runs about 50 minutes and is chock full of examples of the variety of ways you can tell stories from your life.

Inspiring Sparks for Spiritual Self-Care

“Inspiring Sparks for Spiritual Self Care” is a webinar that I created for congregants in my synagogue that includes spiritually stimulating music, essay and psalms designed to spark writing.

Hosted and recorded by Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, Evanston, Illinois.

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