Anticipation built steadily among both attendees and presenters as the minutes ticked down to IWOC's Wednesday, September 26th Life in the Freelance Lane presentation at the American Writers Museum on Michigan Avenue in Chicago's Loop.
IWOC president Laura Stigler, vice president George Becht and member Jeff Steele had honed their talk across many previous appearances before library, church and civic groups. But this night promised to be different. The three veteran Chicago-area scribes would soon stride to the dais in the recently-inaugurated shrine to America's most glittering literati.
By the time AWM program director Allison Sansone introduced the speakers, 37 current and would-be freelancers had filled row upon row of Readers Hall seats in rapt anticipation of the much-publicized address. By all accounts, they did not come away disappointed.
The insightful program laid out a sensible, easy-to-follow guide through the rewards and roadblocks of launching a freelance career. It was followed by 45 minutes of well-informed and discussion-provoking questions from audience members, who quizzed the IWOCans on a broad array of topics, from how to garner assignments and the various ways to charge, to contracts, pay hike requests and strategies to convince late-paying clients to pony up.
Ably supported by IWOC veterans Richard Eastline, Alicia Dale and Claire Nicolay, who had eagerly joined the fun, the trio of presenters took turns fielding queries, serving up insights earned the hard way over their combined near century in the freelance writing trenches. When it was all over and the IWOC speakers had departed the stage to a round of applause, the reviews were universally favorable. As one captivated attendee wrote:
“My thanks to you . . . in sharing your experience and ideas! You helped me look at my work from new angles. Although I might be the one freelance writer who is content to get by without ‘maximizing’ profits, I do care about building my business so that I might be able to land new and interesting gigs. Your advice will, I believe, help me do that!”
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