IN OUR OWN WORDS | A Blog Series by WWG Members

We love sharing our words with each other, and now we’d love to share more of our words with the world!

We are creating a digital space to highlight blog posts from our WWG authors, about writing, life, or a combination of the two! This month, we feature Lynn Neumann:


Like many, I’ve found myself in a bit of a January slump (now coasting strong into April) when it comes to writing. It actually started before Thanksgiving. Thank you holidays. 

The weather doesn’t help. We spend so long gearing up for the cold, our bodies contorted and tense with the stress of fighting to stay warm. We had to answer the call to choose between physically going to the store to shop, or do it on-line. Knowing no matter which we picked we’d feel guilty about gas and packaging and masking up or down. Our bodies were also detoxing from the rich holiday foods as everything fell to the wayside in preparation for the raiders who come to pillage and turn our homes upside down in order to celebrate the insanity known and loved as Family. It became easier and easier to hunker down under the weight of it all rather than do what we love.

And we love writing. There’s something about it that even on a rough day where we don’t produce much, our minds are lifted. Our spirits are brighter. And yes, it is a high.

And yes, it’s also a time for daydreams of travel to somewhere a bit (or a lot) warmer. It is also the time for holding the hand of friends and family struggling through a tough time. Something we need all the more with recent events weighing hard on our souls.

And yes, it is still time to write. To find that bit of light in all the darkness. The stress relief on a very bad day, or even the cherry on top of a great one.

It’s time to go back to chase the high. Where our minds are expanding, along with our chests, as we soak in the air and scents, and breathe.


Author Bio:

Lynn Neumann does not know how to write about herself as an author. Not liking real blood and being too lazy to tackle the HR headache necessary to inspire minions, becoming a mad scientist was out of the running from a young age. Finally becoming serious about writing came when she decided it was time to write what she wanted to read with characters well over the legal drinking age. She reads horror, science fiction, and romance with the odd thriller and cozy mystery thrown in for good measure. She’s a little shy, and tends to dream weird things up. 


Shared with permission from the author. All rights reserved.

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NEW DATE & LOCATION for ACCC POETRY CELEBRATION in April!

NEW DATE: Monday, April 11, 6:30 PM

NEW PLACE: Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church, 145 Engler Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318

FROM THE ACCC: Students and Adults are invited to participate in A Celebration of Poetry to be held at the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church on April 11 at 6:30pm. Whether you write poetry or just love to read it, this is a celebration of you.  If you would like to join the program as a presenter, please let us know (details below) and bring one poem you have written or bring someone else’s poem you love.  We will ask that you read the poem and then tell us in a few sentences what you like about writing and reading poetry.  The event is sponsored by the Arts Consortium of Carver County Literary Committee.

If you wish to be a presenter, please let event organizers know no later than Monday, April 4. 

Send an email to poems@artsofcarvercounty.org.  Include the title of your poem, your name and that of the author of the poem you will read, if it is not yours.  You do not have to send the poem in advance.  Parents or teachers may submit the information for their students; if so, please include the student’s school and grade because we like to acknowledge their success.  We will prepare a program for what promises to be a memorable evening. The event is free and open to the public, although donations are appreciated for our use of the lovely space.  We hope you will join the celebration!

**Please note: the date and location of this event was changed due to scheduling conflicts at Chaska Community Center on 4/7.

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3/5/22 WWG meeting recap, + info for April meeting!

Group Updates:

  • A group of six met at the library on a rainy Saturday morning in March. Whether we felt lamb or lion vibes, we’re not sure, but we all agree it’s nice that the air doesn’t hurt our faces anymore!
  • We welcomed new member Joel to the group! Joel is interested in all things communication, and is devoted to enhancing his storytelling craft, both speaking and with the written word. We’re happy to have you join us, Joel!
  • We read our pieces inspired by the March prompt: Write about something you used to do when you were young, that you won’t ever do again.
  • Some discussion highlights from our gathering:
    • Everything has a story! And our job as writers is to pay attention, so we can help tell those stories.
    • Finding a balance in your details is good when working on a factual piece that has a lot of historical aspects to it. Using a personal perspective (how did being in a place make you feel?) and/or sensory details (sight, smell, taste, sound, touch) can pull the reader into the place, and allow them to experience the history from a grounded and personal perspective.
    • People-centered perspectives can add so much to a piece! Humor, humanism, relatability, etc.

Announcements:

  • Call for blog posts authored by WWG members!
    • WWG is looking to showcase blog posts from members about life, experiences as writers, writing tips and tricks, the sky is the limit!
    • We want to feature WWG members, so we can continue to learn from each other and develop our craft, even outside of our monthly meetings.
    • If you’re interested, connect with Jen at WWG’s email to start that process.
    • Editing help is available too!
  • WWG Anthology “Meet the Authors” page is live on our website!
    • As we continue to sell copies of our WWG anthology, View from the Shore, it was thought that a digital version of our “Meet the Authors” page would help connect readers to our authors, and vice versa!
    • Find the page here.
    • If you are a WWG member who contributed to the anthology, and you have not yet submitted a photo or headshot for the web page, connect with Jen as soon as possible!
  • ACCC event coming up in April: Celebration of Poetry
    • April 7, 2022, 6:30pm, at the Chaska Community Center. UPDATE: Date and time have changed to Monday, April 11, 6:30 PM at Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church, 145 Engler Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318
    • See our calendar on the WWG Events page for the full event description!

Next Saturday Meeting:

Saturday, April 2nd, 10:30am. Waconia Library (Magazine Corner).

Prompt for April 2nd: 

If you could do anything today (within your current financial situation/living circumstances) without fear, what would you do?

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2/5/22 WWG meeting recap, + info for March meeting!

Group Updates:

  • February was cold, but on Saturday the 5th our corner of Waconia Library was cozy and full of the delightful words we conjured from our inspiration:
    • Forgotten Spaces, Forgotten Things (aka, “write about something you found in your junk drawer/closet/forgotten space”).
  • We had some informative and productive discussions on a few related topics:
    • When writing about your own experience from the past, how to ensure your sense of time is clear for readers.
    • When revisiting an old piece to update the timeline (“moving” the present from then to now, which makes the original piece further in the past), how to find the balance between your voice now and the voice the piece was originally written in. Our voices change! The key is to be aware of that change when revising.
    • To the point above, we run the risk of going overboard with too many changes in an attempt to update the timeframes… be careful! This might result in you losing the tone of the piece.

Announcements:

  • Call for blog posts authored by WWG members!
    • WWG is looking to showcase blog posts from members about life, experiences as writers, writing tips and tricks, the sky is the limit!
    • If you’re interested, connect with Jen at WWG’s email to start that process!
    • Editing help is available too!
  • ACCC event coming up in April: Celebration of Poetry
    • April 7, 2022, 6:30pm, at the Chaska Community Center.
    • See our calendar on the WWG Events page for the full event description!

Next Saturday Meeting:

Saturday, March 5th, 10:30am. Waconia Library (Magazine Corner).

Prompt for March 5th: 

Write about something you used to do when you were young, that you won’t ever do again.

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February WWG Meeting is just around the corner!

You are cordially invited!

WHEN: Saturday, February 5, 2022

WHERE: Waconia Library, Magazine Corner

WHAT TIME: 10:30am (all are welcome to stay for the WWG business meeting right after)

PROMPT: Forgotten Spaces, Forgotten Things (aka, “write about something you found in your junk drawer/closet/forgotten space”)


But now, let’s rewind a bit… to a quiet January morning, when five WWG members donned their masks and met to hash out some WWG items for 2022:

We read our pieces inspired by the January prompt(s), which lined up with the ACCC Literary event, Inspired by Winter, that was set to take place on January 27th (flash forward a bit… that event was lovely!). We shared our pieces written on the themes: Starry Night, Winter Sundays, Home Blue, and Missing You.

We talked about our current projects we each have in progress, and the conversation shifted to how important it is for us to keep reminding ourselves to write in our own voices, vs. writing solely for others. It’s easy to slip into writing what we think others want to read, or expect from us, but at the risk of losing our unique voices in the process. Several of us shared similar feelings about this phenomenon. It was encouraging to remind ourselves and each other that someone is out there who will love our work.

We also discussed moving the WWG’s virtual critique sessions (currently offered one Wednesday night per month) to a different weeknight. We’re exploring this possible change with the thought that someday, we could meet in person for these critique sessions. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are on the table. Members: cast your vote by emailing WWG or using the contact form on the WWG homepage.

Flashing forward again, to January 27th, and the ACCC Winter Celebration event! Four WWG members (Jillian, Claire, Mona, and Jen) braved the bright lights and wide stage of the Theater at Chaska Community Center, along with several other community writers on a brisk winter night, to read our pieces inspired by winter themes. It was delightful to hear our words against a backdrop of music from some wonderful local musicians! We look forward to partnering with the ACCC on more literary events (and more joint literary/music events) in our community in the future!

And on to the next. 😄 January got away from me a bit, here’s hoping that February is a little more even keel. Hope to see you at our meeting this Saturday!

~Jen

 

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Saturday 1/8/22 Meeting at Waconia Library

Hello writers,

Since we have not received word on any recent library closings in Carver County, our WWG meeting will be held as planned at the Waconia library tomorrow (Saturday 1/8) at 10:30am. Click here for info about the prompt!

Due to local trends around COVID-19 cases in Carver County, we are strongly requesting that all writers who wish to attend this meeting please wear a mask for the duration, since we will be spending time together indoors and in relatively close quarters. Social distancing will be practiced, but we’d like to ask for this additional collective courtesy to each other, to ensure the safety of all of our members.

We will be sure to keep members updated if the situation changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to WWG via email.

Thank you, and see you tomorrow!

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Happy New Year! (Waconia Library is closed 1/1/22)

Hello writers!

A very happy 2022 to you. Hoping we all find relief, comfort, inspiration and good vibes in the upcoming year!

A quick reminder that WWG is NOT meeting tomorrow, Saturday January 1st, as Waconia Library is closed.

We’ll meet at our usual time of 10:30am on Saturday, January 8th, in the Magazine Corner.

Prompt for January 8th: 

Pick one (or more) of the following:
*Starry Night
*Winter Sundays
*Home Blue
*Missing You
(These prompts coincide with the themes for the ACCC Winter Celebration on January 27th! See our Events page for more details about this event!)

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12/4/21 Meeting Recap, & More!

Group Updates:

  • A nice-sized anthology of writers met at the library on Saturday December 4th. (Also… an anthology of writers, get it?!?!)
  • Our hearts were thoroughly warmed as we listened to our members read their sweet and moving pieces about traditions. Everyone nailed it! Laughter, tears, and more laughter. Deeply personal stories brimming with nostalgia and hygge.
  • We congratulated member Jillian Van Hefty on her fabulous win in the 2022 Erma Bombeck Humorist-In-Residence contest!

Announcements:

  • The next Saturday meeting is moving to January 8, 2022:
    • This is due to the New Year’s Day holiday (the first Saturday of January also happens to be the first day of 2022!)
    • As the library is closed on January 1st, we’ll meet on Saturday, January 8th at 10:30am.
  • Jen shared some new features on the WWG website:
    • NEW EASY-TO-SEARCH CALENDAR: On our Events page, you can now easily access more information by clicking on each event! You can search events month to month by using the < > arrows.
    • DONATIONS FEATURE: Can be found on our WWG home page, as well as our blog feed! People who are interesting in donating to our organization can do so using the Donations feature, customizing the frequency and dollar amount of their donation!
  • Virtual Critique Sessions are back!
    • We took a break during National Novel Writing Month in November, but we are ready to start up our virtual critiques on Wednesday nights.
    • Currently we are meeting once per month, on Wednesdays to be determined (these meetings will be added to our calendar as they are scheduled).
    • Our next Critique session is this Wednesday, December 15th, at 7pm on Zoom.
    • Please email WWG if you are interested in participating!

Next Saturday Meeting:

Saturday, January 8th, 10:30am. Waconia Library (Magazine Corner).

Prompt for January 8th: 

Pick one (or more) of the following:
*Starry Night
*Winter Sundays
*Home Blue
*Missing You
(These prompts coincide with the themes for the ACCC Winter Celebration on January 27th! See our Events page for more details about this event!)

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WWG Meeting this Saturday, 12/4, at Waconia Library!

Upcoming WWG Meeting:

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 4, at 10:30am.

LOCATION: We’ll meet in the Magazine Corner of the Waconia Library (217 S. Vine Street, Waconia). Hang a left between the Activity Room and the information desk, hang another left, past the bookshelves, and there we’ll be!

PROMPT: Traditions

Announcements:

  • Now that Waconia Writers Group is a legit organization (and a revenue-earning organization at that!), we are trying something a little extra, for the sake of transparency. We will be hosting stakeholder meetings related to WWG business:
    • These stakeholder meetings will immediately follow each WWG group meeting on the first Saturday of every month.
    • These will be OPTIONAL meetings for WWG members. It’s an opportunity for all to have a voice in how profits from the WWG anthology are used, and in planning WWG events.
    • Feedback from members is valuable and appreciated! Jen will email out the stakeholder agenda prior to the First Saturday meeting. To suggest items for the agenda, contact Jen directly or email WWG.
  • Our Wednesday night virtual critique sessions had been placed on the back-burner for November’s writing shenanigans. We are looking to schedule more critique sessions moving forward, in December and beyond. These meetings will remain virtual. Please stay tuned, and contact us with any questions!

See you this Saturday!

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10/2/21 Meeting Recap, & Meeting Reminders for November

Group Updates:

  • A meeting recap that comes out almost a month after the meeting is better than no recap at all!
  • We were a small group at the library on Saturday October 2nd. Everyone was likely out enjoying the fall weather! Welcome to our newest members, Greg and Joanne! Greg is a nonfiction writer working on a few projects for publication, and Joanne is looking to capture some exciting and memorable stories from her life and get them written down. We are excited to have Greg and Joanne join us!

Announcements:

  • November is fast approaching, and you know what that means…. NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH! WWG will host a few virtual write-ins on the calendar for November, and a few of us are planning to attend a kick-off being hosted by Arts Consortium of Carver County.
    • The date of the ACCC event has changed (from 11/2) to Saturday, November 6th, at 6:30 PM at the Chaska Community Center. CORRECTION: Event begins at 7:00pm.
    • WWG members are hosting a virtual NaNoWriMo planning session this Wednesday, October 27, 7pm, on Zoom! This is to get us into the mindset for the November writing hustle and bustle, go over some planning tips and tricks, and provide general moral support to each other. Let Jen know if you’re interested in joining in the fun!
    • The WWG November write-ins are virtual for now, but we may be able to swing a few in-person meet-ups if we can find a location that works for everyone! Right now we have the write-ins scheduled every Wednesday evening in November, starting at 7pm on Zoom.
    • In these write-in sessions, we do word-sprints (an agreed-upon length of time where we collectively write whatever comes into our brains until the timer beeps), and can use some of the time to help each other work through any writing roadblocks we’re encountering on the road to 50,000 words.
    • Please check the Events page for more information. Even if you can’t participate in the write-ins, if you’d like to independently participate in NaNoWriMo, there are so many useful resources on their web page. (Y’know what, even if you can’t take on NaNo this year, still check out their site… their writing resources are valuable year-round!)
    • Ultimately, if you want to challenge yourself in your writing this year, yes 50,000 words in 30 days is a big one, but it’s an achievable challenge! Let’s do it!
  • As mentioned above, our usual Wednesday night virtual critique sessions are being put on the back-burner for November’s writing shenanigans.

Next Saturday Meeting:

Saturday, November 6th, 10:30am. Waconia Library (Magazine Corner).

Prompt for November 6th: Take a fairy tale character out of their story, and put them in a different setting/situation. (Additional details/context can be found on the Writing Prompts page.)

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