Saturday, April 30, 2011


The Board drafted and proposed for members' approval the following updated constitution for the El Paso Writers' League. It was approved unanimously at the May 14 membership meeting.


Established in 1935, the El Paso Writers’ League is a non-profit organization.  The league promotes, encourages  and supports writers with an interest in all types of creative writing  Our goal is to provide programs, speakers, seminars, etc. to improve writing skills and share marketing venues.  The League operates under basic parliamentary procedures as recognized by the National Association of Parliamentarians.
1.       President
A.      Presides at and administers the business of the El Paso Writers’ League.
B.      Designates the place and times of all meetings.
C.      Establishes committees and appoints chairperson(s).  Is an ex-officio member of all committees.
D.      Appoints temporary or interim officers when required.
E.      Appoints a Parliamentarian.
F.      Each December, prepares and presents an annual written report.
G.     Upon leaving office or when a change of Treasurer occurs, writes a letter to the bank, attaching a copy of the minutes recording the changes.

2.       Vice President
A.      Presides at meetings in the absence of the President.
B.      Is in charge of publicity, fund raising and marketing.
C.      Greets new members and guests at meetings.
D.      Other duties as directed by the President.

3.      Secretary
A.      Keeps minutes of all meetings and makes them available for review and approval each month.
B.      Maintains an attendance record of both members and visitors at each meeting.
C.      Writes thank-you letters to speakers and other correspondence, as directed.
D.      Notifies members of meetings and special announcements.
E.      Promptly transfers files and records upon leaving office.

4.       Treasurer
A.     Receives dues from members and deposits all money into the EPWL bank account.
B.     Makes disbursements by check for expenses that are authorized by the approved budget and obtains receipts for     those disbursements.
C.     Reports expenditures and balances each month and as requested.
D.     Reconciles the bank statement on a regular basis and provides full information for annual audit.
E.      Maintains an up-to-date roster of dues paid, to include member name, mailing address, email address, and telephone  number.  Provides this list and any changes, to the President, Secretary and Newsletter Editor when changes occur.
F.      Each January, distributes a written annual report of the previous year’s membership, income and expenses. 
G.     Promptly transfers files, records, and bank book upon leaving office.

1.     The Executive Board shall consist of the president, immediate past-president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and committee chairpersons.
2.      The Executive Board shall operate according to the Constitution and shall establish Standing Rules which will cover the duties of committee chairpersons and organization dues, procedures and policies.   Standing Rules shall be distributed to members along with the Constitution.
3.      Proposed revisions to the Standing Rules, along with the rationale for change, shall be posted on the blog two weeks prior to meeting and vote by the Executive Board.  Changes may be made by the Executive Board after motion, discussion and majority vote.
4.      A quorum will consist of a simple majority of the Executive Board.
5.      Executive Board meeting place, date, time and agenda shall be posted on the blog one week prior to such meeting.
6.      Members may attend Executive Board meetings and may offer information or expert advice, but may not vote.
7.      The Executive Board shall prepare a budget for the upcoming year, by meeting with the newly elected officers, after the November election and prior to the January meeting.  This budget shall be presented to the membership for approval at the January meeting. 
8.      Special projects may be recommended to the membership after approval by the board.  A motion, second, discussion and vote of members will authorize such projects.

 Acts as advisor and consultant for the president, other officers, committees, and members on matters of parliamentary procedure.

1.      Regular meetings of the El Paso Writers’ League shall be held at least once a month at a time and place designated by the President.
2.      Special meetings of the League may be called by the President or at the request of five members.  One-half of the active membership shall constitute a quorum at such meetings.
3.      Voting shall be determined by a simple majority of active members, present at meetings.

1.      Active members are those persons who have completed an application and paid the required dues each year.  Membership year ends on December 31st.  Membership fees are not pro-rated. 
2.      After two meetings, visitors are requested to apply for membership, so they may support the purpose of the League and enjoy the benefits of membership.
3.      Associate Membership Status will be granted to financial donors within the Business Community but will not convey voting rights.

1.      A Nominating committee consisting of three active members of the League shall be appointed by the president at the October meeting.
2.      The Nominating committee shall submit a slate of potential officers at the November meeting.  Nominations may be made from the floor.
3.      Officers of the League will serve for one year.  Elections shall be held each November.
4.      Officers will be installed at the December meeting and take office in January.

An amendment to this constitution and the rationale for change shall be posted on the blog, not less than two weeks prior to the meeting, at which a vote will be taken.  After a motion for approval, second (unless made by committee report), and discussion, this constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Out of the Mouths of the Best Writers

Who hasn’t asked themselves, “What do the best writers say about how to be the best?”  In the spirit of throwing light on the habits of writers, here are ideas I’ve gathered:
----Random ideas of “debut” novelists in Writer’s Digest:

Don Helin: “Be persistent and don’t let turn downs turn you off.”

Stephen Jay Schwartz:  “There is no secret to success…The secret is in loving the process.”  His advice:  “Never stop writing.  Read great writing all the time…Write what you would want to read.” 

Stephen King:
On Control:  “I usually feel in control.  But not always.”

On Writing:  “I can’t do anything else.  And every day I marvel that I can get money for doing something I enjoy so much.”

On Writing for an Audience:  “I hardly ever consider the audience at all…I have a built-in desire to please…Beyond that, I’m just trying to amuse myself.”

And: “..we’re all amateurs at this job…it always feels like the first time.”

James Patterson—On building a recognized Brand:  “Writers always want to hear it’s the advertising.  It isn’t—it’s’ the product.”

On how to make the material interesting:  “I try not to write a chapter that isn’t going to turn on the movie projector in your head...My style is colloquial storytelling.”

On awareness of the audience:  “I’m very conscious of an audience.  I’m very conscious that I’m an entertainer.”

On writing with co-authors:  “Who cares?...I think teamwork is great.  I couldn’t possibly do all those stories.  I have a file of stories that’s 400 pages thick, and they’re stories that I want to tell.”

Advice to aspiring writers of commercial fiction:  “…it’s story, story, story.  You’ve got to get a story where if you tell it to somebody in a paragraph, they’ll go, ‘Tell me more.’”

On various projects and different genres:  “What’s the key?  The key is passion.  I think you gotta love it.”

On the secret to success:  “I don’t think there are a lot of really readable books out there…It’s very hard to grab people…John Grisham grabs people.”

Michael C. Ford: Poetry is a Black and White Movie in your Mind

Michael C. Ford has published more than 25 books of poetry. Over the years, his work has also included prose, plays and spoken words recordings. A resident of Los Angeles, California, for more than 40 years, Ford has lectured at universities, and he’s a frequent instructor for the Pen USA, Pen in the Classroom Program. During the past 30 years, he has performed at dozens of venues, many times with a wide range of jazz musicians. Ford was in residency with the Tumblewords Project in 2000. He will be featured in a reading at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico Country Club on April 16th at 7:00PM. Admission: Free
Thanks for this announcement Ken Kenyon made during our April League Meeting.

Texas Mountain Trail Writers Spring Retreat

Jan Brooks, Donna Brown and Sarah Purcell attended the retreat in Alpine, TX this past weekend and they report that it was quite an event. Attendees were given and assignment prior to the retreat titled “Under Texas Skies” which were then read around a “campfire” (fire warnings required it be held indoors).
Posted on the TMTW website: “Our 20th annual retreat celebrates by having three outstanding writers to instruct and entertain. All poets, and ones who love poetry, will be enriched by listening to Larry D. Thomas, whose works won him the highest honor in Texas for poetry. Thomas of Houston, soon to be Alpine, will talk about the writing of poetry, publishing of poetry in today’s world, share some of his own, and tell of the road he traveled to become the 2008 Poet Laureate of Texas.”

The President’s Corner

Effective today (April 15) Jan Brooks will assume the position of President of the El Paso Writers’ League and I will assume the role of Vice President. This is to allow me to take on the Chair for this year’s contest and the Inkslinger our monthly publication. — Mike Grunsten

Our elected President Mike Grunsten felt such an overwhelming sense of responsibility for El Paso Writers' League and to you the members that when he could not get a volunteer to come forward to take on what he felt were two of the most important outlets of the league, Mike reassessed and prioritized and took on the positions himself.  We owe Mike our gratitude and our help.  He's a great guy and role model.  As our new Contest Chairman (a role he did so well last year) and "Inkslinger" editor, his cup is full.  I agreed to step up to President and he switched with me as Vice President. — Jan Brooks