Another great meeting and what’s coming up.

Our second BWA meeting of the year is behind us. Our new meeting agenda is working well. We’re having fun, lots of discussions, and we’re writing together. We hope you can join us next month.

BWA member, Carissa Andrews, is featured on the Self Publishing Journey podcast.  Great job, Carissa!

We’re moving along on planning for our fall writer and book event. Our speaker this year will be Erin Hart. A brainstorming session is coming up so check in often for updates or request to be added to our mailing list. The dates for our writing contest submissions and contest guidelines will be posted soon.

Please mark your calendars for our
2018 Brainerd Writers Alliance Presents
author talk series

Brainerd Writers Alliance presents – 10:30 a.m. to Noon, 4th Saturdays, at Sage on Laurel. Plan on having brunch or lunch with us at Sage!

Feb. 24 -Diane Schlagel, The Price of New Shoes – an Older Sister’s Journey

Mar. 24 – Carissa Andrews,  Author Impostor:
Getting Over Impostor Syndrome So You Can Reclaim Your Power and Start Writing

Apr. 28 – Barb Schlichting, “Making Historical Figures Modern”

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We want feedback and we hate feedback. One of the toughest parts of the  writing process can be hearing the reader’s and the editor’s perspective. We all want to improve our writing and if we want readers, then it’s critical that we allow critique.

Below is the Minnesota Nice way to critique. I tend to take my critiques New York style. Know your writer!

Giving Critiques

Critique the writing, not the writer.

Always start with the strengths. My favorite part was… What worked for me was… What didn’t work for me was…

Be clear about your reasons for the suggestions you make. Maybe you could try… rather than saying I don’t like that.

Receiving Critiques

Wait to respond until after everyone has weighed in.

Take notes and review them at a later time, when you’re not feeling defensive (it’s what we do!) to see if they help/fit/work.

You don’t need to use the critique suggestions. You know your own writing. But be careful to hear what the reader is saying about how they experience your work. That’s the space you need to work from – if you want readers to read what you write.

Technical writers know that user feedback is essential. What they write must be understood by readers. Creative writers, keep that in mind as you process reader comments.


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New for 2018, Brainerd Writers Alliance Presents…

We seem to be on the right side of bitter cold in our region for now. I know that makes me feel more like getting out and about. Yesterday I stopped in at Sage on Laurel to say, “Hi,” to owner Sarah Shaw and give her flyers promoting two of our upcoming author talks.

Sage on Laurel is hosting Brainerd Writers Alliance Presents on the 4th Saturday of each month from 10:30 to Noon, through 2018 and perhaps beyond. We hope you’ll join us to meet and learn from some of our region’s exciting authors!

Brainerd Writers Alliance presents
10:30 a.m. to Noon, 4th Saturdays
Sage on Laurel, 606 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN
Plan on having brunch or lunch at Sage on Laurel.

These events are free and open to the public.

Feb. 24 -Diane Schlagel, The Price of New Shoes – an Older Sister’s Journey. 

Schlagel will speak about her writing process and read excerpts from her memoir The Price of New Shoes, An Oldest Sister’s Journey. Books will be available for purchase.

The Price of New Shoes, An Oldest Sister’s Journey tells the author’s story of survival and resilience in the face of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father. She also shares the story of the love she found with Byron, her soul mate and husband of over fifty years.

Mar. 24 – Carissa Andrews,  Author Impostor: Getting Over Impostor Syndrome So You Can Reclaim Your Power and Start Writing. 

Carissa is a self-published author, award-winning graphic designer, and freelance writer who strongly believes it’s time to take back our own power as authors. With the rise and ease of self-publishing to platforms like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more, the boom of authors publishing books has certainly taken the world by storm.

It’s not uncommon for writers to feel like they aren’t truly authors unless they’ve been published and represented by the big names. This mentality will not yield the publishing results you you’re looking for and could be costing you time and earnings.

Carissa will also have copies of her Pendomus Chronicles trilogy available to be signed or purchased after the event.


Apr. 28 – Barb Schlichting – details to come.

May 26 – Bob Peterson – details to come.

June 23 – Susan Smith-Grier – details to come.


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Call for submissions for Talking Stick 27

THE TALKING STICK is a locally published and nationally recognized publication.


Again, this year we celebrate the short form.

Wanted:  SHORT Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction.

  1. Writers must be from Minnesota or have some connection to this area. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE VERY SHORT. Focus on short forms, cutting all unnecessary words. Create an elegant moment that hints of a longer, more complex story. Think of these as compressed creations.
  2. DEADLINE: March 1, 2018. This year we will again offer monetary prizes in each of the 3 categories. Writers may submit for more than one category. Our Editorial Board will select the poetry and prose to be published in TS27. A published Minnesota author will judge for the monetary prizes from the selected submissions, with authors’ names removed. Writers will be invited to our Book Release Party in September (tentative date is September 22, 2018). We are not yet sure of the location. PLEASE READ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES COMPLETELY.
  3. Prizes are $200 for first place and $100 for second place in each of the three categories. Works are to be This must NOT be on your Website or on a Blog. We want new writings, unseen by the public. No simultaneous submissions, please. Submit manuscripts with name, address, and email address in upper right corner of each page. THIS MUST BE THE WAY YOU WANT YOUR NAME IN THE BOOK. Clearly mark the genre for which you are submitting: POETRY, CREATIVE NONFICTION or FICTION. We would prefer that you do NOT start out your written piece with “inspirational” or “referenced” quotes from other literary works because of possible copyright issues, etc. We accept no political or religious rants and no children’s writings.
  4. This year, we will have a special separate $50 prize for humor. We will choose this from any of the 3 genres.
  • POETRY – Limit TWO poems per writer, either a Prose Poem no longer than ½ page or a poem with line breaks but no longer than 35 LINES total (and this must include counting the blank lines), typed single-spaced. No word count necessary. See other requirements under #3 above.
  • CREATIVE NON-FICTION – Limit TWO entries of 500 words or less each, typed single-spaced. Number the pages and include word count at end. See other requirements under #3 above.
  • FICTION – Limit TWO short stories of 750 words or less each, typed single-spaced. Number the pages and include word count at end. See other requirements under #3 above.
  1. Send only ONE copy of each submission along with SHORT bio (50 word limit). If you have a pen name, you MUST stress in a cover letter what your real name is (for the contract and mailing) and the name you want on the submission in the book, in the table of contents, and back of book MUST BE THE WAY YOU HAVE IT ON THE PAGE(S) OF SUBMITTED WORK. Also, tell us what name you want in press releases. If you do not do this, we cannot promise that we will catch the different name. PLEASE SEND ALL OF YOUR WORK AT THE SAME TIME.
  2. Send ONE SASE** so we can send an acceptance letter and contract to you. All contracts are to be signed and returned, but in the event a contract is not returned, submission implies permission to publish. FORMAL NOTIFICATION is required if you wish to withdraw your submission or if it is published elsewhere during this time period. After May 1, 2018, submissions cannot be withdrawn. SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE RETURNED. Decision of the editorial board and judges is final. Editors and editorial board of the JWB and JWB board members are eligible for publication in TS27, but not for the monetary prizes in this contest.
  3. Send hard copy to: Sharon Harris, TS SUBMISSIONS, 13320 149th Ave, Menahga, MN 56464. Send ALL your submissions for ALL categories in ONE 9×12 ENVELOPE—do not fold or staple sheets. Submission guidelines are also on our website: We are accepting submissions in electronic format again this year. Check the website for details at We will NOT accept submissions in the body of an email—only with our electronic form, either pdf or Word document. Do NOT send docx files—we cannot guarantee format to be correct. A SASE is not required but would be greatly appreciated.
  4. Contributors who have one or more pieces selected for publication in TS27 will receive ONE free copy of TS27. Your copy may be picked up at our Book Release Party in September 2018. Any books not picked up will be mailed later—we appreciate receiving $3.00 for postage. JWB requires first publication rights only.

Watch for writing workshops in or near park rapids this year. Sponsored by Jackpine Writers’ Bloc Inc.


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News from Springboard for the Arts

We are so excited to announce a new partnership with Kiva, the microlending platform, with support from the Surdna Foundation, to help artists access capital to grow their businesses.

Artists across the US are now able to apply for Kiva loans and receive matched funds through Springboard for the Arts’ new endorsement program. Artists may borrow up to $25,000 with a 36-month loan term at 0% interest. Thanks to the Surdna Foundation, Springboard will hold a fund reserve of $50,000 to support artists and their fundraising.

For more information about Springboard for the Arts endorsed Kiva loan eligibility, or to apply, visit:

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Call for Writers and Poets – The Crossing Arts Alliance

The Crossing Arts Alliance is looking for writers and poets who would like to have their work shared in our newsletter, The Crossing Currents. We are looking to include a variety of literary styles, including short works of poetry and prose as well as selections from larger works such as novels (250-500 words).

The Crossing Currents is published quarterly and is distributed to over 650 readers, and we would like to take advantage of this opportunity to feature our literary community and share their work with our broader readership. There is no submission deadline as this opportunity is ongoing.

If you are a writer and interested in having your work featured in The Currents, please contact TCAA AT

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Looking for a writers’ group in MN?

Minnesota Writing Groups:

Alexandria, MN — Alexandria Area Writers Group (All Genres)

Alexandria, MN — Alexandria Word Weavers (All Genres)

Brainerd, MN — Brainerd Heartland Poets (Poetry)

Brainerd, MN — Brainerd Writers Alliance (All Genres)

Duluth, MN — Lake Superior Writers (All Genres)

Elbow Lake, MN — Elbow Lake Grant County Writers’ Group (All Genres)

Fergus Falls, MN — Fergus Falls Writers’ Group (All Genres)

Hackensack, MN — Hackensack Bards of a Feather (All Genres)

Little Falls, MN — Great River Writers (All Genres)

Maple Grove, MN — Minnesota Christian Writers Guild (Spiritual)

Minneapolis, MN — Loft Literary Center (All Genres)

Minneapolis, MN — Midwest Fiction Writers (Fiction)

Minneapolis, MN — Minnesota Science Fiction Society (Science Fiction)

Minneapolis, MN — Minneapolis Writers Workshop (All Genres)

Minneapolis, MN — Open Book (All Genres)

Ottertail, MN — Ottertail Writers’ Group (All Genres)

Park Rapids, MN — Park Rapids Jackpine Writers’ Bloc (All Genres)

Perham, MN — Perham Thousand Lakes Writers’ Group (All Genres)

Sauk Centre, MN — Sauk Centre Gopher Prairie Writers’ Group (All Genres)

St. Paul, MN — Write, Create, Communicate (All Genres)

Twin Cities, MN — Twin Cities Writers Group (All Genres)

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