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2021-22 Year in Review: We're Still Standing | President's Post by Laura Stigler

30 Aug 2022 5:12 PM | Laura Stigler (Administrator)
With a tip of a pink sequined hat to Sir Elton John, I am here to announce that yes, after all these years, IWOC is still standing. Tall and strong. A remarkable accomplishment, considering what the world has been going through in the last two of those years. As you may have heard, other long-standing local writers organizations have not been so lucky and have recently closed their doors. So how is it that IWOC is still here? Three reasons that I can think of, which have nothing to do with luck: 

1.    An ability to adapt in order to ensure our business continues as usual during unusual times;
2.    A dedicated handful of volunteers;
3.    Regular communication with our members to keep their spirits buoyed with announcements of programs, events, job opportunities and more.

For example, looking back at 2021-2022:

2021-22 IWOC Programs 

Like a candle in the wind...

...we swayed but always remained brightly lit, zig-zagging between Zooms and in-person meetings, depending on the mandates of the hour. Thanks to Program Chair Jeff Steele and his stellar Program Committee members Vladimire Herard and Betsy Storm, along with contributions by other IWOC members, the following programs were presented to help make us wiser business people, savvier self-marketers, and even spark ideas about writing career options we might never have considered. 

  •  IWOC’S Ever-popular Annual Writers’ Roundtable, where everyone had their say! (This is the only program not recorded, so all participants can speak freely.)
  • Charge What You’re Worth...and Get It (Presented by “no-nonsense” business coach, Katie McManus)
  • Journey Into Travel Writing (Hosted by experienced, peripatetic travel writers Pamela Dittmer McKuen, IWOC members Jeff SteeleCindy Bertram and Kathryn Occhipinti)
  • Communication Challenges in a Disinformation World (Public relations practitioner John Lyday held court)
  • Tips for Perfecting Your Query Letter (Charmingly offered by award-winning writer, screenwriter, and video producer Audrey Wilson)
  • Tips and Myths: Legal Best Practices for Freelance Writers (Clearly explained by Arts Attorney Elizabeth Russell)
  •  Great Site for Source Searches – and More (A treasure trove of sources for writers was unlocked by co-founder Matt Kneller and Media Success Manager Vannyda)
  • Writing About People’s Lives (Panelists Pamela Dittmer McKuen, Danielle Perlin-GoodJeff Steele and author of Bright Lights of the Second City, Betsy Storm – lent their words of wisdom garnered from extensive experience in writing profiles of people.
  • Effectively Grow Your Community and Following (Founder of I Spark Change, Ultimate Success Coach™ Rick Ornelas offered his expertise on how to expand your reach and generate more impact from your writing.)

Members who missed any of the above can download the podcasts (except for the Roundtable one) on our Member Resources page to benefit from the info- and advice-packed gems. 

Got ideas for writing- or business-related programs? Contact Jeff. We welcome them all! 

2021-22 IWOC Parties

We writers are nothing if not uninhibited revelers once we break out of our writing lairs. Last December, we let loose at our December Holiday Party held at the exotic Star of Siam (A Fine Affair). For our August Greektown bacchanalia, we raised a glass (ok, numerous glasses) at Athena. And this year, we added yet another excuse for writers to go wild: our first Spring Equinox Supper Club, celebrated in April at the century-old Exchequer Speakeasy and Pub. It was “da bomb.” We fully expect the Supper Club to become an annual Spring tradition. Can you feel the love tonight?

IWOSC Programs

IWOC members also attended, free of charge, several of the programs offered by our West Coast sister organization, Independent Writers of Southern California. Over the course of the year, they were treated to:

  • Annual Literary Agent’s Panel: How Writers Can Get Represented Today (Panel of top New York and Beverly Hills literary agents seeking writers)
  • What Does Hollywood Want? (For would-be screenwriters and content creators)
  • Writing the Historical Romance Novel
  • Marketing Your Books in 2022 Prosperous Post-Pandemic Promotion
  • Self-Publishing with BookBaby (Steven Spatz, President Emeritus of BookBaby)
  • Everybody’s a Critic! Get Your Writing Noticed by Top Critics – or Become One Yourself
  • Writing the Celebrity Bio
Events of Interest

IWOC and IWOSC were not the only ones who put on outstanding programs. We also informed IWOC members about these world class events:

  • Pandramataica Drama Festival for the Alliance of LA Playwrights 
  • Professional Grant Proposal Writing Online Workshop (National Funding Foundation)
  • Online Speed Networking: Meet Your Freelancing Match (Software & Information Industry Association)
  • Make a Statement Writing Workshop (Evanston Arts Center)
  • Spring 2022 Speakers Academy Program (National Speakers Association-IL)
  • American Writers Festival (Chicago Cultural Center/American Writers Museum)
  • A Night of Live Storytelling and Music (ProPublica Midwest reporters)
  • The University of Chicago Press Annual E-Book Sale

Promoting our members

Proud of their breaking news and accomplishments, horns were tooted for...

Perk alert

If you’re an Associate Member, you can now access the Job Board and Job Sites page. (Upgrade to Professional Level and have your Specialties and Areas of Expertise displayed on the Online Directory – the better potential for clients to hire you!)

Unlike Elton...

We’ve no intentions of staging a Farewell Tour. Since 1981, IWOC has been determined to be here for the long haul, far into the future. As for writers reading this who happened to belong to those writer organizations that have closed their doors, we welcome you to enter ours. If I do say, you simply won’t find a writers organization with more amiable people who are happy to help each other succeed. That’s what friends are for.

-- Laura Stigler

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