November 10th 2002

Eight writers attended our meeting today, November 10th. Sharon Harris, Tarah Wolff, Kathy Wanvig, Florence Witkop, Angele Burlingame, Beth Walter, Russ Jacobson, Rosa Carlisle.

Rosa is also attending the Monday evening meetings and she told us she was really enjoying them. They have 4 writers attending. They write something each week and they have to read all of the new writings by the next week so they can critique each others’ work.

Russ mentioned that there had been a one day workshop at Sister Wolf Books regarding marketing your writing. He said that there are two types of writing: literary and commercial. He mentioned a magazine called Artists and Writers that had requests for written articles. We discussed that we could check with Will Weaver or other writers and perhaps have them come to Park Rapids to do a one day workshop about writing. We decided that we each should bring in names of publications that requested written articles so we could share with each other.

We all said again that we hoped the group could continue to publish more volumes of the Talking Stick. We mentioned having newsletters but people would need to subscribe to it. E-publishing was mentioned. We noted that it would be nice to have one central storage place for all the past volumes, but that would again involve some cost. Some of the newer members expressed interest in getting very involved and helping with future volumes. We would need a specific task list and guidance from Cindie and Carolyn and Florence. One thing we could see is that if we were to try to get an issue out by the beginning of next summer, we are probably already too late for that. Some of the tasks include: making sure we have the funds to print the book/applying for a grant, requesting for submissions, collecting submissions (for 3 to 4 months), making decisions on which ones to include, contacting accepted writers and getting contracts signed, getting photos/art and poems/stories ready to send to the printer, storing the books, marketing and selling afterwards.

We mentioned that the cookbook sold the best so doing a cookbook issue again would be a good idea. In the next issue, we thought someone should write up something about issue #5 being held hostage in South Dakota. We mentioned having photos and bios of the writers in the Talking Stick or else on a separate pamphlet. We thought that it would be wonderful to have some sort of display with the Talking Stick, stating that we were local Minnesota writers.

It was mentioned that we need to determine what our target market is. First, someone who knows a writer in the book; second, tourists and Minnesota people. Where do we want to sell the book? Locally for sure, but perhaps anywhere. Who do we want in the book? First choice: Minnesota writers; second choice: writers who have a connection to this area. Do we want to give the names to the Editorial Board when they go through the submissions or not? That will need to be decided by next time.

Someone mentioned marketing a gift box, filled with books about Northern Minnesota including our Talking Sticks. We all agreed that we think the Talking Stick should have a definite Minnesota-flavor cover and a title that definitely says Minnesota, such as Minnesota Reflections and a photo of a Minnesota lake or something.

We really do need a web site. The web site address should probably be Jackpine Writers, not Talking Stick. It would be nice to have a link on the Park Rapids web site. We want to be able to print poems and stories on the web site as well as sell the Talking Sticks there. It also should include information about the group and perhaps bios of some of the writers.

What is the purpose of our group? We were told that the group originally started out as a class about getting published. Then they decided to put out their own publication to publish work of local writers. Then they had to get grants. To get the grants, they had to become a literary group. The attendees at this meeting said they all wanted to continue the group meetings mainly for the inspiration we get by being around other writers. We need the feedback from others. Certainly we all want to keep on improving our writing and we all want to be published also. We do feel that we would like to have some workshops. We need to all let the others know if we hear of any and we will see if we can have one put on in this area.

One writer said that they had learned that the end of your story should circle back to the beginning. So, you have to know your ending first. Another writer mentioned that an attorney does this. They need to know what their final argument will be so that everything they say will lead up to that.

Florence mentioned a good computer program for script writing and novels. It is called Story View and she found it in Writers’ Digest. You can use it to divide your writing into chunks so it is easier to find certain parts of it later.

It was a great meeting, with everyone enthused about writing more. Several people read recent poems or stories that they were working on.