Writers' Meetings
Nov 16 2020

November Meeting Minutes 2020

Hello Everyone,

Today we held our November meeting.


Sharon, Ryan, Mike, Dawn, Marlys, Erin, Jan, Mary.


We are starting to look at the Call for Submissions for the next Talking Stick. Because this is the thirtieth volume, we wanted to do something a little different this time. We will be accepting slightly longer fiction and creative nonfiction pieces. We like to have this out by at least the end of December. Still no idea, of course, if we can have a book release party in 2021 or not. We hope we can.


     Marlys is doing NANOWRIMO. This is always a fun challenge.

     Erin has been doing some online writing classes.

     Mike has been selling his books at Book World.

     Mike will get us some news about the PRLAAC meetings. They are doing virtual meetings now.

     Mike is working on his next book of stories.

     Northwoods writers’ conference has been having online readings.

     Sharon is really feeling the need for an online poetry class but has no time right now.

     Ryan described his writing process to us. He is using a stream of consciousness method. He told us about Brain.FM. This is a form of music that helps you focus while writing. It helps you get into the zone.


Lately we have been sending out a list of words each month. If our writers want to try it, they can use this as a writing prompt and write a poem or very short story using it. This has been a fun challenge and it brings up some word combinations that are very surprising—things a writer would not have thought of otherwise. Sharon and Mary tried it this time.

We are grateful when we can meet in person and listen to each other read—even with masks. We are just so happy to see each other and have a good discussion—about anything. Earlier this year, when Bella Caffe was closed for a couple months, we had two virtual meetings. If we have to do that again, we will, but it is sure nice to see each other in person.

We decided that we can certainly understand how people can suffer from COVID Fatigue. This has been a long year with struggling with the pandemic. We feel like we were so careful at first, before it even spread to our area, and now that it is all around us, everyone is just so tired of staying home, being cautious, wiping and cleaning, wearing masks and gloves, steering clear of other people. We are afraid that we still have a long way to go. Thank goodness we are writers and if we have to stay home, we can still write!

Hope to see you all next time. We may skip the December meeting as it is close to Xmas but we will consider having it if enough people are interested in attending.

Oct 21 2020

October Meeting Minutes 2020

Hello Everyone,

We held our October meeting on October 18, 2020. (Sorry for getting these out late. My internet has been down Friday evening through most of Tuesday, today.)


Sharon, Ryan, Marlys, Jan, Dawn, Mary.


Sharon had some TS29 books with her. We realized that in a couple of months, we will be sending out the call for submissions for TS30. How can time go so fast? We would like to do something a little bit special for this thirtieth book—if anyone has any ideas, let us know. One thing is that we will be asking for fiction and nonfiction with slightly longer word counts. We think some writers will like that. We hope that next year we can have a book release party again, but at this point, who knows?


Our virtual workshop “Writing Deeper” with Candace Simar went very well. We thank Candace for the work she put into the workshop and we thank Ryan for his help on the technical end of things. Candace had received lots of good comments. We discussed that we really liked the way that she used lines from TS29 to demonstrate ways of writing deeper. We also liked the way that she had door prizes and gave away some of her books. We also liked the way she gave writing prompts through out the workshop. They were all involving a friend of hers that she described but every prompt suggested writing about another aspect of her. It was a very special workshop.


Because this event had to be cancelled this year too, Sue Ready went to a lot of work on her blog. All summer long, she dedicated one week each to the various writers who usually come to the Book and Art Festival. Her blog told about our group one week in September and encouraged folks to buy books. This was such a good help to booksellers and we thank Sue for all her work.


We didn’t have any PRLAAC news or news of Art Leap. We hope to have some next month.

We mentioned NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and several writers thought they might try it this year. This is in November and you can look up the suggested rules on the internet. We mentioned that stream of consciousness writing like that is very productive. Just write and write and do not stop to edit yourself.

Ryan uses Strength Finder. This is something that figures out, for you personally, how you should do your writing—whether outlining first or not.

Someone mentioned “ing” words. Many of us use them a lot. We decided that if used as adjectives, they are very effective.

Several writers brought things they were working on and the rest of us critiqued with helpful comments and suggestions. As usual, we had great conversations and lots of laughter. We find that we really miss each other when we can’t get together. We had the virtual workshop in September, but we hadn’t been able to get together since August. Even with masks on and sitting apart, it is so good to see each other and talk about writing!

Hope to see you all next time!

Aug 18 2020

August Meeting Minutes 2020

Hello Everyone,

Today we held our August meeting. We will not have a September meeting since it would be on the same weekend as our writers’ workshop with Candace Simar. (More info below.)


Mike, Jan, Sharon, Dawn, Niomi, Mary.


The books are here. We will be mailing them out to all the writers in the book starting this week. We will be mailing ALL of them this year since we are not having a book release party so it will take a little longer than usual. We will then have them on our JWB website with a link to Amazon where they are for sale. That is the best place for people to buy them. We will have a few on hand for locals. We may have them for sale at Book World in Park Rapids later on.


     We are having our virtual Zoom workshop called Go Deeper with Candace Simar on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, from 10 AM to 12 noon. If you wish to attend, email Sharon at sharrick1@wcta.net. There is more information on our website www.jackpinewriters.com. Cost is $30.

     This morning Sharon and Ryan tested the Zoom workshop connections and verified how things will work. We will test again on Sunday August 30, 2020 at 1:30. We hope to have quite a few people log on that day so we can test with more people. Since we have never done this before, we want to learn as much about it ahead of time as we can.


Since the NAC was not able to have their Book and Art Festival in Hackensack this year, they are promoting their writers and their books on their website, one per week. Talking Stick 29 will be promoted during the week of Sept. 21, 2020.


Niomi was not able to attend the August meeting but she did get the minutes from them. LuAnn Hurd-Lof had asked for a write-up about the JWB and our 2020 book for Art Beat, the supplement to the Park Rapids paper. This will be in the paper around Labor Day. Niomi prepared that and sent it in.


     We are surprised that there have not been more virtual writers’ workshops. We hope there will be more.

     Mike did a virtual talk using Google Hangouts for the Chanhassen writers’ group. The talk lasted two hours and he told the 15 listeners about how he got started writing for magazines and eventually got to his very popular books of cabin life in Minnesota. Mike is now working on his fourth book of cabin stories.

     Be sure to check out the online writing classes at the Loft in Minneapolis. Sharon loves the poetry classes and just finished one called Night Writing. The Loft has many excellent classes, all of them online at this point.


     We have a new book store in Park Rapids. The old Book World is no longer in business but they will use that name for a while. The owners are local and also own Ben Franklin and an antique toy store, both in Park Rapids.

     Our last two volumes of Talking Stick are for sale there, along with Mike Lein’s three books and one of Sharon H’s poetry books. The store wants to get more local authors. They also plan to have used books.

We had a great time critiquing each other’s work. Some of us have been taking classes and hope to do more. We are looking forward to the writer’s workshop on Sept. 19 with Candace Simar. Hope to see you there!

Jul 13 2020

July Meeting Minutes 2020

Hello Everyone, today we held our July meeting.

PRESENT: Sharon, Mike, Jan, Marlys, Erin, Dawn.


We have final proofs coming next week. Then we’ll order books. We’ll be able to order less than usual because we won’t have a book release party. That will save us some money but we will have to mail out books to all the writers, not just the ones who didn’t come to our usual book party. Writers have been generous about sending us their $3 for postage—and some wonderful folks have sent $6 so they can pay for another writer’s postage. Aren’t writers just great people?


Candace Simar will be putting on a virtual workshop for us using Zoom. Ryan will be assisting with that. This is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 from 10 AM to 12 noon. We will have flyers going out later this week for that so people can start signing up.


The Book and Art Festival in August was also cancelled. The Northwoods Arts Council is planning to help promote all the writers and their books on their website. We hope to get our Talking Stick 29 mailed out in August so we can promote the book in September.


Niomi attended the July meeting and reported that Art Leap is scheduled for Sept. 26 and 27. We thought perhaps we could ask one of those places to sell our books. As we already knew, some of the other events have been cancelled, such as the Storyteller event. Niomi said she will also attend the August Heartland Arts meeting. That one will be held in a park.


     Erin and Marlys both attended some of the Northwoods Writers Conference events in Bemidji. That was also virtual this year. They said it worked just fine and seemed successful. Writers were allowed to comment and it was all engaging. They said that some of the speakers now have their videos archived on the Northwoods Writers Conference website.

     Mike will be doing a Google Hangouts event himself for a Chanhassen group. This will be on how to get started in writing for magazines.

     Mike was a finalist for humor with his third book Crooked Lake Chronicles. Instead of a live event, they had a video of the recorded event online.

     Dawn attended a virtual poetry class with LouAnn Muhm, both her Short Shorts I and II.

     Sharon is still enjoying her Loft Class, Night Writer, Poems from the Darkness with Sarah Ann Winn.


     Audubon’s Sparrow, A Biography in Poems by Juditha Dowd.

     Woman in Closet with Flashlight during Quarantine, a hilarious UTube video.

We had a good day. Many of us read things we have been working on and the rest of us critiqued. Hope to see you all next time.