Monday, November 19, 2018

Open Read - Dec. 12th

Writers can help uplift and inspire society. 

Photo Credit: flickr | Aberdeen Proving Ground Toastmasters

By reading our work aloud and receiving feedback, we help each other find our voice, and create pieces that have meaning and integrity. 

With California's natural disasters and politics, writers need to be heard and supported.

Sierra Writers Open Reads are intended to be a safe place for writers to experiment with craft, share vision, and develop voice. 

  1. Bring a single copy of your piece, double-spaced, Times New Roman (or similar) font. Reading from electronic devices is not allowed.
  2. Limit your piece to 750 words (2 to 3 pages), double-spaced, or about 3 minutes, read aloud. If submitting poetry, no more than three short poems.
  3. Work should be anonymous. Please be sure author’s name or other identifying information is removed
  4. Work can be whole pieces or excerpts, poetry or prose. If it would help the group, please feel free to indicate the genre or tell us it is from a larger work. The piece will be critiqued on its own.
Please consider these suggestions for how to get the most out of the Open Read:
  • Be gentle, kind, and supportive.
  • Be an active listener. Take notes; be prepared to be specific with your comments.
  • Begin with a positive comment. In order to grow as a writer, it is important to be able to identify what is working in a piece, even if you don’t like the topic, have issues with the voice, etc. What is the author doing that is working well? Where is the energy? What images are potent and interesting?
  • Keep your criticism constructive. “I didn’t like it” is not helpful to a writer, but “I disagreed with the point the author was making, which made me lose interest in the piece. Maybe the author could look for a way to make it more accessible to people with diverse opinions.” Another example: “It was hard to follow” isn’t nearly as helpful as “The point of view moved from person to person very quickly, which I had a hard time following.” Follow up with specifics from your notes about where this happened in the piece, if possible.
  • Focus on the writing. Our goal is to give the author feedback on their writing. If you find you are talking more about yourself and your own experiences related to the topic in the piece, consider talking with the author about those after the Open Read is over. Give the writing and the writer the attention during the few minutes that are allotted to their work, and engage on a personal level afterward.

Sierra Writers Business Topics

Volunteers needed;

Monday, October 22, 2018

Kirsten Casey- Poetry & Borrowing Your Ghosts - Nov. 14th

 Kirsten Casey is a 25 year resident of Nevada City, which makes our town the place she has lived the longest, continuously, which also means she will always call it home. A California Poet in the Schools, Creative Writing teacher to kids ages 8-18, she has taught in the county for over 14 years. Currently, she is a coordinator of Dream A Difference, an international non-profit poetry exchange between Grizzly Hill School and Washington School students, with international refugee camp students, with the goal of fostering empathy, emphasizing similarity, and promoting not only the writing of poetry, but its therapeutic and unifying qualities. Her book of poetry, Ex Vivo: Out of the Living Body, was published by Hip Pocket Press in 2012. She is currently working on a new manuscript, with the working title, Borrowing Your Ghosts. She is still married to her first husband, a Nevada City native, and has three children over the age of twenty (at least two of which like poetry.) You can’t win them all.

"I equate poetry with borrowing. The poet borrows lines, words, emotions, and points of view. Still, it is what we do with the borrowing that makes the poems entirely singular. We can even borrow from our own memories, which often transform over a lifetime. Borrowing suggests that we will return what we take temporarily, but once a poem is written and put into the world, it is entirely the readers. This relationship is the purpose of the poem. The true goal of poetry is sharing, creating a connection between the written word and the reader. Together, through some writing exercises, we will explore ways to borrow from the world, and from our own memory, to discover something new," says Kirsten Casey

Sierra Writers meetings are free and open to the public.
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Open Book
671 Maltman Drive 
Grass Valley

Sierra Writers Business Topics

It's membership renewal time!
(Links to your website or blog will be added to the SW website as renewals are received.)

Volunteers needed;

Read, Write, Sell Event Coordinator(s) Needed for December  -  This event is for those who have recently published a first, second, or third book. Each author will get 15 minutes and the event will last a minimum of 1.5 hours and a maximum of 3. Sierra Writers will give up its Wednesday evening slot in December for this event, but the event coordinators could also choose to do a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Authors must be a paid-up member of Sierra Writers to participate. If you are interested please send an email to with "Author event" in the subject heading.

January Workshop:
The Joy of Writing

Writing can be fun, freeing, even exciting!
Sound impossible? It’s not…

In a safe environment and through creative, sensory exercises, you will unleash your inner writer

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Diane Covington-Carter is an award-winning and best-selling writer and the author of three memoirs and a novel.

For more information, email,
call (530)802-4224 or go to