February 6th Virtual Meeting Recap

Due to the request of several members, virtual meetings will continue on 1st Saturdays! A nice little group of us met today, on the sixth day of February 2021, with some good discussion and beautiful pieces to share! See the recap below:

Group Updates:

  • Welcome new member Robert! 
  • Jen updated the group about added Events and virtual meetings added to the WWG website.
  • You can now find our Anthology book in a few more local places:
    • Cream & Amber in Hopkins  – available for purchase online or in-store pickup
    • Unearthed Arts in Waconia – available in store
    • Outreach is also in the works with the Arboretum and the Carver County Library system, as well as other bookstores around the Twin Cities metro. Please refer back to our Anthology page for updates on who is currently carrying View from the Shore!
  • In other Anthology-related news, we are still in the process of confirming a date with the ACCC for our virtual celebration/reading! We have three WWG members/anthology contributors who have committed to participate; please let Jen or Mona know if you’re interested. It’s looking like we are trying to set something up for a weeknight in March, more info to come!

Sharing Pieces:

  • Many members were inspired by the prompt for this meeting: Winter Day. Several wonderful pieces were shared! (PLEASE NOTE: If members would like their past work, prompts or otherwise, featured on our WWG website, let Jen know! We have a page – In Our Own Words – devoted to highlighting work of our members who volunteer to share it!) 
  • Laurel and Lynn shared non-prompt pieces they had been working on. As promised, Lynn shared parts of her geese and cyborg story, and it was worth the wait! Laurel shared a video-game inspired piece that drew us immediately in. Wonderful world-building!
  • Jen shared a video she made featuring her piece for the Winter Day writing prompt, called Faerie Snow. Exploring new media for featuring writing became a discussion topic (see below).

Discussion:

  • Group members discussed using the method of distancing and how it sometimes helps us solve problems with pieces we’re having difficulty with. Taking some space from a piece – sometimes even to focus on other writing projects or creative outlets – can clear the perspective and help us find solutions to plot snarls when we return to the troublesome piece. As a group, we agreed that temporarily distancing ourselves is a tool we can use when writing novels, shorter pieces, and poetry! Writer’s block is real and doesn’t discriminate based on what you write. Distancing can definitely help!
  • Jen’s video piece prompted some conversation around finding “outside-the-box” opportunities for our writing. We talked about YouTube channels, performance poetry and spoken word, and other creative virtual methods for getting our work independently out there, as we still are learning to function as writers (and generally as people) still stuck in the middle of a pandemic.
  • We also talked about how to find resources and opportunities for projects we are working on. Several people are looking for illustrators; it was suggested that Fiverr may be a useful resource for writers when shopping for freelanced work of a creative nature.
  • The members at the meeting expressed interest in possibly arranging a separate meeting devoted to the process of publishing our work as writers. Since we do have collective experience with that, we think it would definitely be a useful topic for discussion, and an involved-enough topic to warrant its own meeting. Stay tuned!
  • The group also identified a goal of devoting more time to critique and feedback on pieces we’re working on. We talked about what critique means and how it’s a useful part of the writing process (constructive vs. not constructive), and agreed to identify some guidelines for our members to follow when engaging in critique as a group.
  • We are looking forward to our first “extra” meeting of 2021, this Wednesday 2/10 at 7pm on Zoom!
      • How we plan to use this time:
        1. We’ll kick off with a free-write, 10 or 20 minutes 
        2. We are going to use the rest of our meeting to focus on one of our goals mentioned above, critique and feedback!
          • Participants should bring a piece to this meeting they are currently working on and would like feedback on.
          • We will take turns reading our pieces and open the floor for critique.
          • We will agree on a time limit per member for reading and feedback.
          • We will also create a unanimous “Critique Code” by identifying some agreed-upon guidelines to make sure people feel comfortable and are on the same page with the critique process.
      • All are invited to this Wednesday night meeting; please know that we would like to stick to the two activities above during this time. We will be continuing our regular meetings the first Saturday of the month! 

Next Saturday Meeting:

We decided we wanted to explore crafting dialogue in our pieces for next meeting. “Eavesdropping on a conversation” is the prompt for next virtual Saturday meeting, March 6th @ 10:30am

Anything I missed? Go ahead and share in the comments below! ~Jen

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January 2nd Virtual Meeting Recap

Due to the request of several members, virtual meetings will continue on 1st Saturdays! A nice little group of us met today, on the second day of 2021, with high hopes and some good discussion! See the recap below:

Sharing Pieces:

  • Lollie shared her piece from the impromptu prompt ‘How Are You?’
  • Jen shared an older poem titled “New Years Revolutions” that she’s including in her newest personal poetry chapbook/anthologies, coming out this winter/early spring 2021.

Group Updates:

  • Mona started a blog! Musings With Mona (musingswithmona.com)
  • Gudrun is thinking about starting a blog to document a road trip adventure she’s taking this year! 
  • Lynn shared that she found a bunch of old stories, some that she didn’t even remember. And she is planning to share one about geese and cyborgs next month. This led to some great discussion on saving manuscripts (see the highlights in the Discussion section below).
  • Jen updated the group about changes on the WWG website, namely the Anthology page and Events with virtual WWG meetings added for early 2021.
  • The group discussed the upcoming ACCC Open Mic Night (possibly in February) that would feature our authors reading from the WWG anthology! We are in communication with the coordinators at ACCC to confirm a date, as we’re waiting for our books to arrive (hopefully in January!). We have three WWG members/anthology contributors who have committed to participate; please let Jen or Mona know if you’re interested!

Discussion:

  • We had a great conversation about saving old manuscripts. How sometimes a piece isn’t ready to be written yet, but the potential remains. And how sometimes if you come back to the piece – revisiting that potential weeks, months, or years later – you’ll find it’s finally ready to be in the world.
  • We also discussed how saving old writing can be a good means to document your growth as a writer.
  • We also discussed options for blogs, as a few of our members a) have active blogs/websites, b) are just starting out in the blogging world, or c) are thinking about starting a blog! We talked about the pros and cons of Blogger vs. WordPress (vs. other website platforms that we felt as a group are geared more toward online sales/business functions, so our conversations was primarily around Blogger or WordPress. More to come on that!)
  • While we as a group agreed it was useful to maintain a Saturday meeting each month (following our regular 1st Saturday of the month schedule), we also brainstormed possibilities for trying out new days/times, to incorporate a second virtual meeting. We landed on trying a weeknight… Wednesday nights at 7pm may work for many, as this was a night we used to use for write-ins at Mocha Monkey (oh how we miss those days!!!). 
      • Some thoughts about how to use this time:
        • Incorporating a 10-minute free-write could be fun
        • Thoughts about how many of these extra meetings per month? 1 Wednesday or multiple weeks?
        • Starting date? We agreed on February. We’ll be setting up a Zoom meeting for Wednesday, February 10th  at 7pm as a trial.

Next Saturday Meeting:

“Winter Day” is the prompt for next virtual Saturday meeting, February 6th @ 10:30am

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2020 In Review! A recap with some updates

Hello, WWG members, and fellow writers at large! And Happy New Year!

It has been an eventful year, to say the least. Although we have not been able to meet as often as we’d like, or in the way we would like, WWG members should be assured that we are still trying to find ways to connect as a group and work on projects!

Publishing Our Anthology: View from the Shore

View from the Shore

Speaking of projects… our biggest project recently, our anthology, has officially been published on Amazon. As many of you already know, while we were hoping for a delivery of author copies in time for Christmas, Amazon had other plans for us. Our delivery has been postponed until mid-January. Amazon is a behemoth of a company, and the red tape is thick, but I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the collective disappointment of not having the book in hand to gift to our friends and family for the holidays.

So at the very best, we could call this setback a learning experience. We are all beyond eager to finally have this book in our hands. It is a wonderful book because it reflects the writing styles and personalities of everyone who contributed. Speaking for myself, it was an absolute honor to put it together, knowing how amazing the content is. 

WWG Meetings in 2021

We are still trying to navigate the tricky and treacherous ground that COVID-19 has presented over the past year. It’s hard to believe that our last in-person meeting was March 7th, nearly 10 full months ago! For now, our return to in-person meetings is still on hiatus. We have attempted several Zoom meetings since then, but we have been missing a significant presence of several of our regular members.

We have tentatively scheduled one virtual meeting per month for the first few months of the new year; the schedule will follow our “First Saturday” meeting dates and times; and details can be found on the calendar of events.

For the next meeting (this Saturday, January 2nd, 10:30am, on Zoom!) an email invitation will be sent to writers on the WWG member email list. I’d like to propose a prompt suggestion… “How are you?”

Please use the Contact form on the website if you are not currently receiving emails and would like to be added to the list. If there are those WWG members who would like to join a virtual meeting but would like some assistance getting online, please reach out to Jen via email or our website contact form; she can assist in getting people connected.

While meeting remotely presents a unique set of challenges, we’re hopeful that people are finding ways to practice their craft. Just know that if you needed to take a break from writing (whether several weeks, months, or most of the last year)… it’s okay. Whatever time and space you needed to make for yourself, and family members; to adjust to new schedules, or disruptions of schedules, due to COVID-19… it’s okay.

We writers can be our own worst critics, and can be relentlessly hard on ourselves when things don’t go the way we plan. But nobody could have planned for 2o2o. Don’t worry! WWG will still be here for you, when you’re ready. 

~Jen

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Publishing Our Work

Greetings, fellow writers, readers, and friends!

2020 has been a year full of its (un)fair share of struggles and loss, but so often I seek and find comfort in words. I truly believe I’m not alone in that sentiment, knowing what I do about my fellow Waconia Writers’ Group members. This past year, and since several years ago, each of us have shared our love of all things literary with each other, through our own words. In the face of unspeakable hardships in this particular year, even though we can’t meet in person, we’ve pressed on in our writing journeys, in our own ways. We face a lot of unknowns, moving forward, within our families and greater communities. But we are also fortunate in many respects. One such inkling of fortune is how we can still fall back on our writing to connect with each other, to share our experiences (both good and not-so-good), and to give a voice to the collective challenge that embodies the tone of 2020. And there are a lot of voices worth hearing. Not the least of which belong to our very own group members.

To my fellow WWG members: we are so very lucky to belong to this assembled choir of incredibly talented voices. I reflect on this good fortune every single time I sit down to work on my novel. I think about how smart that decision was that I made a few years ago, when I braved the walk to Waconia Library that one freezing January Saturday morning. I think about how much I have learned from each one of you since then. And how often I dreamed about sharing the poignant, engaging, and important words you all brought to the table every meeting.

View from the Shore

Click to view purchase options

Fellow writers, that dream has come true! I am proud and excited to announce the publication of our anthology, “View from the Shore: Selected Works of Waconia Writers.” It has been a long and indirect adventure to get to this point, and I can only humbly thank you for your patience and understanding as we’ve navigated independent publication, a learning experience for all (especially in the midst of a pandemic!).

As of today, December 1st, the book is available for Print-On-Demand orders through Amazon. We have placed our first order for author copies, to arrive in a couple of weeks. Authors, you’ll get the notification as soon as we have the books in hand. It’s real now!

Contributing writers, thank you for trusting the editors with the privilege of safeguarding your words. Thank you for bringing your talents to the project. And again, thank you ALL for providing this author *gestures to self* with infinite amounts of inspiration. I am in awe of you.

~Jen

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Today’s Meeting Cancelled – October 3rd

Due to the cold weather today’s meeting at the Gazebo in the park is cancelled. Hope you all saw Barb’s email yesterday regarding expected temperatures this morning.

It’s been great meeting outdoors in this time of Covid.

Thank you all for your perseverance.

Keep writing!

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Reminder: May 2nd Writers Group Meeting on Zoom

Our meeting on Saturday, May 2nd, will be a Zoom meeting at 10:30 a.m. Jen will be sending the link. 

The prompt is Memory Lane – Write an event in your childhood that made a lasting impression.

If you have any questions or concerns about joining us on Zoom please contact Jen, Barb or Mary. It can seem more complicated than it is. Just need internet and can be accessed via phone, ipad or computer. Will be happy to walk you through.

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No Meetings Until Further Notice

Taking the lead of the Carver County Libraries and out of an abundance of caution and concern for our health all Writers Group meetings are canceled until further notice.  

Take care everyone!

Write up a storm while we’re social distancing. Maybe that will have to be a prompt.

 

 

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Reminder: Writers Group Saturday, March 7th

We will meet this Saturday, March 7th at 10:30 am at the Waconia Library. 

The prompt is The Map on the Wall.

Hope to see you there.

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Reminder: Writers Group Meeting Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020

It’s the start of 2020 and our eighth year of writing and sharing together!

Hope to see you there. Waconia Library 10:30 a.m.

Prompt: “I’m glad that’s over!”

Also see the Events page on our website for call for submissions for flash fiction and poetry contests sponsored by the ACCC.

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Upcoming writerly events this week!

Hi writers!

A few noteworthy writerly events are happening this week.

National Novel Writing Month Write-In.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7:00-9:00pm. Mocha Monkey (115 S. Olive St., Waconia).
Bring a project! Write! Enjoy some beverages and some snacks and the company of your writing peers. Come when you can, stay as long as you want. You don’t have to be participating in NaNoWriMo to join in on the fun!

Springboard for the Arts: Manage Your Portfolio Website
Saturday, Nov. 16, 10:30am-1:00pm. Waconia Library (Activity Room).
A great series of workshops that delve into the business side of the arts. Funded by MELSA, hosted by the Carver County Library system. 
Register here!

Springboard for the Arts: Publishing Panel
Sunday, Nov. 17, 1:30-3:30pm. Chanhassen Library (Wilder Room).
A great series of workshops that delve into the business side of the arts. Funded by MELSA, hosted by the Carver County Library system. 
Register here!

Waconia Writers’ Group Meeting.
Sunday, Nov. 17, 4:30pm. The Crossings Apartments.
Writing prompt is: “Get that thing away from me!”

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