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Sheila Bender

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Name  Sheila Bender

Role  Poet
Sheila Bender writingitrealcomwpcontentuploads201102SB110
Born  March 6, 1948 (age 67) Richmond, Virginia, United States (1948-03-06)
Occupation  Essayist, poet, teacher
Genre  Poetry, essays, memoir, writing instruction
Education  University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Washington
Books  Writing personal essays, A year in the life, Writing and Publishing Personal, Keeping a journal you love, Perfect Phrases for College A

Sheila bender on poetry and writing

Sheila Bender is an American poet and essayist, best known for her popular books on writing instruction.


Sheila Bender Writing It Real Learn from Poet Essayist and Author Sheila Bender

A writing exercise to help you find your voice by sheila bender


Sheila Bender httpsimagesnasslimagesamazoncomimagesI1

Bender's many books on writing include Creative Writing DeMystified, Writing and Publishing Personal Essays, Writing in a New Convertible with the Top Down, Keeping a Journal You Love, A Year in the Life: Journaling for Self-Discovery, The Writer's Journal: Forty Writer's and Their Journals, and Perfect Phrases for College Application Essays. Her memoir, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, chronicles how reading and writing poetry helped her cope after the loss of her 25-year-old son and find a way to live with love in the spirit of her son. Her newest collection of poems, entitled Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, appeared in 2012.

She has devoted most of her career to the teaching of writing and the improvement of writing instruction. In addition to her dozen books on writing, she has written instructional and feature articles for Writer's Digest magazine and The Writer magazine. She founded Writing It, where she provides an on-line instructional magazine for those who write from personal experience and offers individual as well as online group writing instruction.

Bender provided the prompts to the innovative journaling software LifeJournal with Chronicles Software, which helps writers not only generate interesting journal content, but organize and retrieve their ideas. She is also a regular instructor, panelist, and presenter at writing and educational conferences around the country. including at Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend and many locations where annual Writing It Real conferences have been held—Port Townsend, Washington; Oracle, Arizona; Nashville, Tennessee; and Istanbul, Turkey.

Sheila is well known for her three-step response method that helps authors receive response from trusted listeners, which empowers authors' efforts at revision rather than have them feel their work is being "critiqued" or "torn apart," as the root of that word implies. Authors, she believes, can improve their writing and best fix their drafts after they have heard 1) the words and phrases that stick in the listeners' /readers' ears, 2a) the feelings listeners/readers have after hearing/reading a piece that they feel are in keeping with what the author attempted, 2b) the feelings that are in the way of fully appreciating the work such as places of confusion and feeling left out, and 3) curiosities, where the audience wishes to know.


Bender graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in English and earned an MAT in Secondary Education from Keane College and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and literary magazines around North America, including The Bellingham Review, Northwest Passage, Poetry Northwest, The Seattle Times, and the Women's Studies Quarterly.

She lives and works in Port Townsend, Washington.


Books on Writing

  • Writing in a New Convertible with the Top Down: A Unique Guide for Writers (with Christi Killien), 1992.
  • The Writer's Journal, 1996.
  • The Writer's Journal: 40 Contemporary Writer's and Their Journals, 1997.
  • Writing Personal Poetry: Creating Poems from Your Life Experiences, 1999.
  • A Year in the Life: Journaling for Self-Discovery, 2000.
  • Keeping a Journal You Love, 2001.
  • Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page, 2002.
  • Writing and Publishing Your Essays, 2003.
  • Writing and Publishing Personal Essays, 2005.
  • Perfect Phrases for College Application Essays, 2008.
  • Creative Writing DeMystified, 2010
  • Memoir

  • A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, 2009.
  • Poetry

  • Near the Light, 1983.
  • Love from the Coastal Route: Poems, 1991.
  • Sustenance: New and Selected Poems, 1999.
  • Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, 2012


  • Boomer Girls, 1999
  • We Used to Be Wives, 2002
  • Washington State Poets Association Anthology, 2004
  • Women Writing on Family, 2011
    Women on Poetry, 2012


  • LifeJournal for Writers with Chronicles Software
  • References

    Sheila Bender Wikipedia