Stet logo

 September 2015
Volume 34 Number 9

IWOC: The Premier Resource for Professional Writers

LinkedInLinkedIn   Facebook Facebook   Twitter Twitter
Editor's Intro
Sept. Biz & Program
IWOCFest Recap
President's Column
Did You Know?
Pay It Forward
Rejoin/Join IWOC

podcast logo


Rejoin/Join IWOC
Discount until Sept. 15

The IWOC website is not smart like you, and it doesn’t know whether you’ve taken more than your free category allotment unless you tell it you have by clicking on the correct extra-listings package, so IWOC assumes no responsibility if, in the event you underpay, the Membership Coordinator sends a goon to slap you upside the head for making it necessary to dun you for additional payment. red dingbat


early bird

Stop what you’re doing and listen to this fabulous exclusive offer for IWOC members! You all know that IWOC’s yearly membership renewal drive runs from September 1 to October 1. But wait! Renew by September 15 and lock in early-bird savings! Pay just $125 (regular $140) for professional members, $80 (regular $90) for seniors aged 62 and older, and $60 (regular $70) for associates!

What a deal! Read on to find out how to take advantage of these one-time savings! This opportunity won’t be offered again this year! And it’s only available to you savvy early birds, so don’t delay! Renewal is so simple, you’ll be itching to get to your computer! Just follow these easy steps: starting on September 1, log into the website, view your profile, and click “Renew until 1 Oct 2016.” Check out your profile and edit anything you want! And, listen to this! You get six free areas of expertise/specialties, but you can boost this to nine if you’re on a committee. What a fantastic opportunity!

But wait! There’s even more: Bring in a new member any time during the entire membership drive (September 1 to October 1) and get three more free listings! (New members pay either the early-bird rate or the regular rate, depending on whether they join before or after September 15.)

But wait! There’s still more! You can choose as many categories as you want for an additional charge! Wow! Just count your extras and click on the appropriate extra listings package at the end of your personal information. This step is absolutely necessary to ensure you pay the correct amount. Even if you change nothing, and you choose the same extras as you had last year, you still have to click on the correct package.

You don’t want to miss this exclusive deal! No shipping and handling fee! An entire year’s worth of worldwide advertising! Writers’ Line! Stet! Informative meetings! Parties! Networking! And more! Early-bird savings are available only until midnight September 15, so don’t delay for the best deal! red dingbat

The Editor


Catherine Johns

You’re an expert on your subject. Of course, you know all about creating impact with your writing. But what happens when you have to go beyond the written word to sell your subject matter? When you have to actually sell yourself — or your subject — in person? Or in a phone conversation?

Sometimes even the best writers find it challenging to have the impact they’d like in face-to-face conversations and on the phone. Discover how to create the personal presence that allows you to influence clients and others so you can subtly lead those conversations in the right direction while remaining true to yourself.

People can get your information from your website, an e-mail, a Tweet or a text. When they’re face to face with you, they want so much more than content. They crave connection. That’s exactly what Catherine coaches clients to create when they speak, whether it’s face-to-face or screen-to-screen. We often think our work speaks for itself. The truth is, you have to speak for your work. Find out how at our September 8 meeting with communication coach Catherine Johns.

More about Catherine Johns
Business owners and professionals turn to Catherine Johns when they want to get more clients, have more impact, and make more money.

A one-time wallflower, Johns developed her powerful presence — and her way with words — as a radio news anchor, talk show host, and sassy morning-show side-chick.

She spent 18 years at WLS-AM 890, the first 11 as news anchor--primarily with radio legend Larry Lujack. She also hosted her own talk show at WLS before moving alongside John Records Landecker in 1998.

Since she broke out of the broadcasting boys' club, Johns has been guiding entrepreneurs and executives to speak up … stand out … and make their message more magnetic. When they speak with power and presence, they influence their audience to take action.

book cover

Johns is the author of Show Up and Shine: Simple Steps to Boost Your Confidence and Charisma. She says it’s time for women to step out of the shadows and take their place. Not just “at the table” but at the front of the room.

See you on September 8
Because September is our annual business meeting and election ofofficers for IWOC's new fiscal year, which begins on October 1, the schedule has been slightly modified. Networking, with snacks and beverages, begins at 5:00 p.m. as usual, followed by the business meeting and election, at 5:45 p.m. The program will begin at 6.

The meeting is free for IWOC members. Non-members pay $10 with online preregistration and payment or $15 at the door.

IWOC monthly meetings are held in Room 4F at the Gratz Center, 126 E. Chestnut Street, adjacent to the historic Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Park at 900 North Michigan (Bloomingdale’s; enter from Walton or Rush) after 5:00 and have your ticket validated (only six bucks!) at the Gratz Center reception desk or arrange a steeply discounted advance parking permit through Spot Hero. Several buses also run on Michigan Avenue.

All attendees are welcome to join IWOC members at a buy-your-own dinner at a nearby restaurant after the meeting.For more information, call 800-804-IWOC (800-804-4962) or visit the IWOC website.dingbat

Diana Schneidman


This is the place where we genenerally show lots of pictures of the happy revelers at IWOCFest. Well, this year the weather gods blessed us, the food was ample and good, and the conversation was stimulating and fun. But there are no photos.

It seems that, on the way home, the photographer was waylaid by a horde of huge, nasty-looking green trolls, who lived under one of those Indiana covered bridges. They snatched the camera, leaped into their Trollmobile — it's made by GM, I think — and sped away.

Well, that's not exactly true. The trolls were from Oswego. Anyway, nobody got waylaid, but we don't have any pics of IWOCFest. We do, however, have a photo of the last Chicago Creatives cocktail event that was attended by IWOCers. You'll spot George Becht right in the front.

The Editor



David Steinkraus

In September we hold our annual membership meeting. We end one IWOC year and begin the next on October 1, so this is a good time to reflect on where we are and where we’re going. Consider this a state of the union but without the ceremony, bloviating, spin, and pictures of people who look as if they swallowed something sour.

You can see where we are by looking at what we accomplished: the programs we offered, the networking opportunities we sponsored, the number of people who attended programs, and the number of members. Generally we’re doing well. We had wonderfully varied programs this year with a good balance between subspecialties and broadly applicable ideas. Attendance varied as one would expect. Some programs drew fewer people. Some packed the room. We presently number about 100, and adding members is critical. More members will bring in more revenue from dues and bring increased connections throughout the metroplex centered on Chicago and extending into Indiana and Wisconsin. More revenue could mean different programs and initiatives, and more connections can result in more work for all of us as potential clients learn about IWOC and as members refer work to other members. More members will also help maintain IWOC. Our demographic is older, and although one expects some of this in an organization that people typically join after years in the corporate world, I am concerned that IWOC is not regenerating.

To that end, the Board of Directors and some guests attended a retreat in the spring of 2014 to talk about what IWOC is and where it should go. Through the past year the board worked on strategies formed in that retreat. One result is the new slogan accompanying our logo: "The premier resource for professional writers." This positions IWOC as a resource to help writers expand their skills and businesses, and as a resource for those who want to hire writers. We’re doing more. The new External Communications Committee under outgoing board member Betsy Storm compiled a list of organizations that hire writers and prepared a marketing letter to introduce them to IWOC. The board also discussed expanding this effort into southeastern Wisconsin because companies from Illinois have moved there, and it does not seem to have an organized IWOC equivalent. We established (really re-established) a speaker’s bureau to introduce people to IWOC. The first of these talks was at DePaul where members Ellen Krupp and Brandon Campbell talked to students about freelance writing. In October, Jeff Steele and Sally Chapralis will speak at the Skokie Public Library about how people can start careers as freelance writers. While they may cross paths with potential clients, they are primarily hoping to attract new members by dangling the bait of free advice. We intend to do more of these presentations and to develop a different presentation for business groups.

Outgoing board member Jim Kepler often noted at board meetings that our bank account balance continues to drop. While we are financially healthy, a continued decrease is not acceptable, nor is it sustainable. But any business requires investment, and that’s where we are with IWOC. The board has invested money to appear at events such as the Printers Row Lit Fest and to sponsor networking opportunities. Investment means more than money, and so I ask you to invest a little of your time to help IWOC and yourself. Help expand IWOC’s recognition in the marketplace, and you increase the connections we have and your own prospects of gaining business. Simply put, IWOC can’t grow or thrive without the participation of a greater number of its members, and you can do better as part of IWOC than you will on your own.

This is how you can help, and it’s simple. First, you probably know a couple of freelance writers who are not in IWOC. Encourage them to join or attend programs. Second, in our meeting room you will find a stack of promotional cards asking, Need a Writer? Take a few along. Tack them up in your favorite neighborhood coffee shops and restaurants. You never know what potential client will walk past that bulletin board. If you meet someone in need of a writing specialty you don’t provide, give her an IWOC card. If you want to do more, come to one of the networking opportunities we’re involved in, such as the monthly Chicago Creatives Cocktail Party where you can have a free drink, talk to interesting people, and make connections. If we all invest a little, the combined effect will be huge. red dingbat

David Steinkraus


car crash

As someone who writes about food (I have a little blog called my interest is always piqued when I read about food in literature. Of course, the Harry Potter series is a terrific example of fictional food what with its butterbeer, pumpkin juice, chocolate frogs, and every flavor jellybeans. Roald Dahl did the same thing earlier in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But authors have been describing real food for eons. Check out these classic, mouth-watering descriptions:

“Prawns fresh from the sea sprinkled with lime juice. They were pink and sweet and there were four bites to a prawn. Of those we ate many. Then we ate paella with fresh sea food, clams in their shells, mussels, crayfish, and small eels. Then we ate even smaller eels alone cooked in oil and as tiny as bean sprouts and curled in all directions and so tender they disappeared in the mouth without chewing. All the time drinking a white wine, cold, light and good at thirty centimos the bottle.”
—Ernest Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls

“Such heaped-up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tenderer oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and shortcakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies and peach pies and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy . . .”
—Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

“...the two days preceding that on which your sisters are expected will be devoted by Hannah and me to such a beating of eggs, sorting of currants, grating of spices, compounding of Christmas cakes, chopping up of materials for mince-pies, and solemnising of other culinary rites, as words can convey but an inadequate notion of to the uninitiated like you.”
—Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liver slices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencod’s roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.”
—James Joyce, Ulysses

Ha! Gotcha on that last one. Wanted to see if you’d read to the end. red dingbat

Katherine Mikkelson


raised hands

Every month I write several articles for Stet and edit the issue. Why do I do this? It takes considerable time. Well, for one thing,writing/editing is my business, and I like what I do, so it's fun, at least most of the time. But more importantly, I owe a lot to IWOC. I've gotten gazillions of referrals from other members as well as some jobs from Writers' Line, learned how to do new types of work from better-experienced IWOCers, made many friends, and picked up tips from programs, and much more.

Some of you owe IWOC absolutely nothing. And why is that? I'll wager it's because you've participated in almost nothing and therefore gotten little back, but I can practically guarantee you'll get something back if you put something in.

Though our meeting attendance could use a boost, I understand that not everyone can come to meetings. But you could write an article for Stet, suggest speakers/topics for meetings (or offer to speak yourself; IWOC has a whole lot of talent we haven't heard fom), join a committee — there is such a thing as Skype if you can't be there in person — and encourage other writers to join as David suggested in his column. It bears repeating: I can practically guarantee you'll get something back if you put something in. (The people who do — too small a number — wouldn't continue to contribute if they didn't.)

Which brings me to the quote of the month:

“Many hands make light work."John Heywood

Think about it. It's renewal time. Why not maximize the potential of your membership by getting more involved? Don't hide your light under a dingbat

Joen Kinnan

Copyright © 2015 Independent Writers of Chicago. All rights reserved.
To submit an article, suggest a topic, make a correction, or just comment, contact the editor, Joen Kinnan, at: Stet.
Stet, the IWOC newsletter, is a member benefit.