Sheila Bender is a poet and essayist best known for her popular books on writing instruction, such as Writing in a New Convertible with the Top Down, Writing Personal Essays, Keeping a Journal You Love, and her most recent publication, aimed toward high school students, Perfect Phrases for College Application Essays. Her new book is her most personal: a memoir chronicling how reading and writing poetry helped her move through grief after the death of her son: A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief.
She has devoted most of her career to the teaching of writing and the improvement of writing instruction. In addition to her nine books on writing, she has written instructional articles for Writer's Digest and The Writer magazines. She is also the founder of the Writing It Real Writing conference, held in Port Townsend, Washington and the editor of the Writing It Real website, where she provides an on-line writing magazine and offers individual and group writing instruction.
Bender provided the prompts to the innovative journaling software LifeJournal with Chronicles Software, which helps writers not only generate more interesting content, but organize and retrieve their ideas. She is also a regular instructor, panelist, and presenter at writing and educational conferences around the country.
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.
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.
A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief, 2009.
Near the Light, 1983.Love from the Coastal Route: Poems, 1991.Sustenance: New and Selected Poems, 1999.
Boomer Girls, 1999We Used to Be Wives, 2002Washington State Poets Association Anthology, 2004