“What day is it? Is there an end in sight? And where the heck did I put my phone?” Those were pretty much the questions we all were asking, over and over, during these past 12 months. Every day seemed like Groundhog Day as we tried to create some semblance of normalcy in what was definitely an abnormal year. Having had to shelter in place for much of it, a trip to CVS became my idea of a good time. And dining in an igloo in 20º weather was an experience I won’t soon forget. Lost in the maelstrom of masks, vaccines and confusing mandates, at least there have been some things that served as a calm within. An anchor. A North Star, if you will. One of those things was IWOC.
Looking back on 2020-2021...
No lockdown was going to keep us down.
No way. While some organizations seemed to have lost their way, IWOC carried on seamlessly, transitioning our in-person meetings to Zoom. At 6:00pm on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, we all had a specific destination, and knew when we got there, we could escape for one hour and immerse ourselves in information and amiable discourse that would help make us wiser business people, savvier self-marketers, unleash our full creative potential and even flick on a few light bulbs about career options for writers we might never have thought of otherwise.
2020-21 IWOC Programs
Having assembled a year’s-worth of programs was Program Chair Jeff Steele and his stellar Program Committee members Vladimire Herard, Betsy Storm and Scott Winterroth. Members who missed any can download the podcasts on our website’s Member Resources page and relive such info- and advice-packed gems as the following, listed in chronological order:
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:
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:
Promoting our members
Proud of their breaking news and accomplishments, horns were tooted for...
Speaking of speakers...
We’ve added a "Be a Guest Speaker" page to our website where experts on any number of topics relevant to writing or the business thereof can request to be a guest speaker at one of our monthly programs. Voilà! We’re attracting requests from across the country. Speaking of which, that’s how we nabbed our October speaker, who will be Zooming in from San Francisco. Keep an eye out for the details. It’s gonna be a good one.
By the way, if you happen to know or have a suggestion for a speaker whom you think would appeal to IWOC members, tell us – or if it’s someone you know, encourage them to fill out the form on our Be a Guest Speaker page (under the Calendar tab at www.iwoc.org) Perhaps you, yourself, would like to speak on a topic dear to your writerly heart – or business-minded head? Fill out the form! IWOC’ers love hearing from experts who are one of their own.
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! And, oh yes, Jobs!
Another addition to the IWOC website is a page that's chockfull of links to the hottest Job Sites for Writers. As of this writing, 50 are listed. And ever growing. Accessible to members only, any one of these links can lead to your next profitable gig or long-term client relationship. If you haven’t already, start exploring!
The idea that bubbled up last year is now a reality: it’s the Member Referral Awards, where you will get 10% off your next membership renewal fee if you’ve referred a new member. But wait, there’s more! Get 20% if you’ve referred two that same year! Etc. The process is simple. Contact Membership Chair Jeff Steele when it’s time to renew your membership. Let him know who the new members are that you referred, and we’ll create a special coupon code that you’ll enter when paying your renewal fee.
Finding ourselves back on track
At last, like Groundhog Day’s Punxsutawney Phil, we’re emerging from our mandated hibernation. Yes, there’s the shadow of the Delta variant that may have us scampering back into lockdown, but we are more optimistic. So much so that we’re planning our first in-person meeting for October. The only one on Zoom will be the aforementioned guest speaker, who will be displayed on the big beautiful flat screen for all meeting attendees to see and with whom we’ll be able to exchange Q&A.
Actually, we already did an in-person “test run” in August when we celebrated IWOCFest at Athena Restaurant, where 20 members – some masked, most not – got together for the much-needed camaraderie and indulgence in a multi-coursed meal worthy of the Greek Gods. It was glorious seeing everyone laughing, talking and knock wood, in good health.
But great as the year was (in IWOC terms), let’s close the book on this one and look forward to the next, when we can hopefully find ourselves back to normal at last.
A votre santé!
-- Laura Stigler
Copyright 2011–2024, Independent Writers of Chicago
332 S. Michigan Avenue, #121–W686
Chicago, IL 60604-4434