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Stet Blog

Since its inception in the 1980s, the IWOC monthly newsletter, Stet, has featured helpful news, tips, and information for IWOC members and the entire Chicagoland freelance writing community—including previews and recaps of IWOC meetings and events, book and service/software reviews, and advice for developing and sustaining business as an independent writer. As of January 2018, the standard monthly newsletter format has been replaced with the blog format contained on this page, which allows articles to be posted in a more timely fashion.

Whether or not you're a member of IWOC, we invite your contributions. Our only criteria are writing quality and the usefulness of the information to writers. IWOC reserves the right to gently edit submissions. For information regarding submissions, contact the Stet editor.

ViSIT THE Stet ARCHIVES

Over the years, the Stet delivery format has evolved from snail-mailed paper copy to emailed PDF/HTML file to site-hosted, aggregated blog. Stet issues in PDF/HTML and aggregated-blog format from 2002 to 2017 are available for viewing in our archives.

  • To view PDF/HTML issues of Stet (published from 2002 to 2015), click here.
  • To view Stet in its aggregated-blog format (published from 2016 to 2017), click here.

  • 03 Jun 2020 6:10 PM | Anonymous

    Well my friends, looks like we’ll have to hold off on the huggin’ and high-fivin’ until September. Just got word from the higher ups at Fourth Presbyterian (no, not that Higher Up) that all public meetings at the Gratz Center are cancelled until then. Disappointing, to be sure. Along with the people, I miss lunging at the snack table and plunging my bare hands into bowls of salty popcorn. Ah, the good old days! But adjust we must. So, for the next couple of months, our meetings will be held via Zoom.

    That being the case, and with reports of thousands of people contracting a strain of what has been identified as zoomus fatigueocci (Zoom Fatigue), I’d like to lay out a few guidelines to help make the Zoom experience a bit less painful for all of us:

    1. Wear Pants Just in case you have to get up and fetch a cup of coffee or let the dog out. Please. We don’t want to see what we don’t want to see. The horror!

    2. Put yourself on mute. The incessant barking of that aforementioned dog can get pretty grating. Same goes for a barking spouse or whoever you happen to be living with. But what if you have something to say that will contribute to the conversation? Great question. Yes, then it is completely safe to unmute and speak your piece. When your exchange peters out, however, revert to mute.

    3. As Babs Streisand will tell you, lighting is everything. Don’t be sitting in a darkened room like you’re holding a séance. Nor have a lamp so bright it looks as if a poltergeist hacked into the meeting. Natural light is best. But if that’s not possible, try and arrange a lighting source that will make you look as lovely as Babs. (This goes for men, too.)

    4. Nostrils aren’t the most pleasant things to look at. Position your device – laptop, mobile, etc. – at a respectable angle. Straightforward at about eye-level is ideal. And you don’t have to lean in so close to your screen that it begins to feel invasive. Trust me. We see you! A bit of social distancing here -- say, one to two feet – is advisable. Try to simulate a real-life encounter as much as possible.

    5. Remember: You are on camera at all times. Things you generally wouldn’t do in public – checking to see if your deodorant is still working, licking dinner plates, etc. – are definite no-no’s. Again, we see you! Should you need to engage in such practices, click the Stop Video icon. Then Start once you’re decent.

    Those are all the guidelines I have for now. I loathe rushing summer, but hopefully, September will be here soon enough. And life can get back to some semblance of normalcy.

    Miss you all. Looking forward to seeing you at our next Zoom meetings, but especially, in person.

    High five!

    - Laura Stigler

  • 05 May 2020 12:01 PM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 news has been inescapable. Taking up every inch of content online, in print, on TV, radio. Everywhere. Understandably so. But we made it through April. And in addition to the lilacs about to bloom, there are glimmers of hope starting to resume. At IWOC, we’re making sure of that.

    Good News Item #1: We know that in the last month, many of us have experienced a downturn in our business. So, we’ve assembled a toolbox of ready-to-implement tips to help you keep your business afloat as we ease out of these challenging circumstances...and beyond. Members will be invited to partake in our Zoom Webinar, “Business Survival Kit,” taking place on Tuesday, May 12 at 6:00pm – the time of our usual monthly meetings, just to maintain some semblance of normalcy! We will be welcoming participants to share their tips as well.

    Good News Item #2: Because we’ve acquired the skills to hold meetings via Zoom, we now have the capability to conduct programs featuring speakers from across the country – and maybe the world! At any time throughout the year! Big dreams. Now made possible.

    Good News Item #3: A few weeks ago, Membership Chair Alicia Dale approached me with an idea: There’s been a recently hatched Twitter trend called #IndieApril. Its purpose: to promote independently published authors. So, hey! why not promote IWOC’s Indie Authors? We sure have a lot of them! And that’s what we did. In the last week of April, on Social Media and in e-blasts, we spread the word about IWOC member authors Cindy Bertram, Adela Crandell Durkee, Tephra Miriam, Kathryn Occhipinti, Karen Sandrick, Jennifer Worrell and Joseph Wycoff. The response has been overwhelming, bringing awareness of these talented writers and their works to our over 1000 contacts – and more! But the best news is the book purchases that are being reported back. Author! Author!

    Good News Item #4: For our June 9 Zoom program, we’ve nabbed John Godoy as our featured speaker. John is a professional growth coach, whose dual Japanese/American heritage has inspired him to devise “The Bushido Code” – 7 core principles based on ancient Samurai philosophy. Obviously, this won’t be your typical “business-y” meeting. But it will provide you with a foundation of thought that is affirmative, uplifting and that could only benefit the well-being of you and your business. Your spirits will be buoyed by the end of John’s talk. Mine were. Just the cure for these challenging times.

    And that, my friends, is the Good News for today. May it continue and get better and better in all of your lives from this day forward.

    See you soon by Zoom!

    - Laura Stigler

  • 30 Mar 2020 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    You see them everywhere. A sign posted in the window of a bungalow, greeting passers-by with a “Hello, neighbor!” Five bright-eyed 20-something friends, guys and girls, standing on the sidewalk, safely spaced 6’ apart, having a fun conversation with another friend who is leaning out her apartment window 3 stories above. I couldn’t help myself. Through my mask I called out, “Now that’s what I call social distancing!” “That’s what we’re doing!” they gleefully responded. I love young people. And this just in: Animal adoptions are way up. That’s not just a silver lining. That’s platinum.

    (Please read on. There’s something in this for you.)

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of what we or loved ones or even strangers may be going through. The coronavirus seems to be everywhere – not just the virus itself, but the news of it. It’s inescapable. What would have been our everyday getaways are now obsessed with it as well. Sports reporters are writing about empty stadiums. Theater critics are bemoaning how there’s nothing to critique. Travel articles? They go nowhere.

    It’s even encroaching on my sub-conscious. Last night, I had one of those feverish dreams where I was trying to sign into a Zoom webinar and kept getting the wrong password. Would I ever have dreamed that were it not for the virus?

    But herein lies another silver lining:

    In my waking life, I’m learning something that I might never have bothered with BC (Before Corona). I’m taking a free webinar: Zoom Meetings 101. Beyond helping me build my own brand by enabling me to offer this service to clients, this newfound capability will help add another arrow to IWOC’s quiver. Perhaps we can have more programs this way, inviting speakers from afar. If you find virtual meetings may be beneficial to your business, learn how to conduct them in the free webinars Zoom is offering.

    More welcomed news: Yes, we had to postpone what promised to be a very unique in-person program on April 14. However, on April 7 at 6:30pm, IWOC and the Chicago Creative Coalition will be co-hosting a free Zoom Webinar, moderated by C3’s President Katherine Kearns, in which the world-renowned LinkedIn expert, JD Gershbein will be speaking about “Building and Preserving Your Brand during COVID-19 Times.” Mr. Gershbein was to be our speaker on the 14th, but has graciously restructured his talk to be relevant to present circumstances. JD is funny, knowledgeable and compassionate. Until they find a cure, this promises to be the shot in the arm we all need right now.

    IWOC members will be emailed a link to register for the April 7 Webinar. Space is limited, so I encourage you to sign up quickly. On midnight of Friday, April 3, we will be opening up the invitation to all our non-member friends of IWOC.

    Until then and long afterwards, I wish you safety and good health. Let’s look forward to sunnier days sure to come, when no search for silver linings will be needed.

    - Laura Stigler

  • 06 Mar 2020 4:46 PM | Anonymous

    I am not one to press Panic buttons in anticipation of situations that may not come to fruition. But there’s a new law wending its way around the legislatures of several states that is raising the activist hackles in me. Already passed in California, introduced in New Jersey and New York and spreading, it’s a law that can have – and where it’s enacted, is having a pernicious effect on the careers of independent contractors, even to the point of eliminating their jobs altogether. Note: we’re not just talking Uber drivers. This includes freelancers in every line of work from journalism, advertising and public relations, to teachers, graphic artists, photographers and more. In other words, all of us. That’s 57 million Americans, according to a Freelancing in America Survey.

    So why do we all freelance?

    Whether we live it full time or part-time to supplement our incomes, we love the freedoms a freelancing life offers us. We love the flexibility it allows us in where we work, for whom we work, in how much we earn, in the number of hours we choose to work. Even in the time of day we work. Some of us are our most productive at 2:00 am! So be it. But “freedom” is the operative word here, and any lawmaker who treads on that in Illinois better prepare for a backlash. Because I for one will be on the front lines, marching to Springfield in unrelenting protest. And I hope you would join me.

    To clearly understand the ramifications of this law, below is an excerpt from an excellent article in The Washington Post by Kim Kavin, a New Jersey journalist who is sounding the alarm and fighting against the passage of Senate Bill 4204. You can read the rest of the article here. If unable to access it, contact me and I’ll send a pdf.

    Please read, beware and prepare accordingly.

    - Laura Stigler

    “In 2003, I walked away from my full-time, $80,000-a-year job as the executive editor of a national magazine. I had no other job lined up; I just had a hunch, having worked in the publishing business for about a decade, that I could have a better work-life balance and make a lot more money if I put out a shingle as a freelance writer and editor.

    “As it turns out, I was right. Today, I work fewer hours, I work only the hours I want, and I make six figures. I’m happier, I get to pick my projects, and I get to choose which editors I want in my life. I am 47 years old with a career that is successful in pretty much every way.

    “But that career will no longer exist if my home state of New Jersey and other states like it continue on their current path with independent contractor legislation, putting freelance journalists like me out of business....

    “Based on the outcry that has erupted in New Jersey in the past few weeks, those of us in a frenzy are at the point of exasperation for good reason. The people raising their voices against this legislation include working mothers who need flexible schedules to care for kids. They are people who have a spouse or child with a chronic illness, and who need to be able to work between doctor’s appointments. They are people with disabilities who need to work whenever they feel up to it. They are people in professions that traditionally welcome women, jobs like marketing, publishing, public relations, teaching and communications, but where full-time opportunities are not what they used to be. They are people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who can thrive as independent contractors, but who, because of ageism, are likely to be last on the list as a full-time hire...”

    -- Kim Kavin, “Laws to protect Uber drivers could put freelance journalists out of business.” The Washington Post, December 11, 2019, (PostEverything)

    Read the rest here.

    (Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


  • 09 Feb 2020 6:33 PM | Anonymous

    Anyone remember Steve Martin’s advice on how to make a million dollars? “First, you get a million dollars.” That was the initial skeptical thought I had when a particular blog was brought to my attention, entitled “10 Rules for Making More Than $7K a Month as a Freelance Writer,” written by Shannon Ashley for the Better Marketing website. Really? Like Steve, is she joking? But then I started to read the rest. And I found myself enthusiastically nodding like a bobblehead, mentally applauding, and at moments, falling silently in awe at these simple, universal truths that we sometimes forget (or are too fearful) to put into practice. The advice given is just too good, too reality-based and too genuinely caring to not pass along to you.

    So, for my February Stet Post (my first for 2020), why not start the year with a big, optimistic bang by offering those 10 helpful rules that can open up the possibilities of making this year – and all the years to come – your most prosperous ever.

    And now, because I couldn’t have said it better myself, I’m handing over the dais to Ms. Ashley, who will engagingly go through each rule at: https://medium.com/better-marketing/10-rules-for-making-more-than-7k-a-month-as-a-freelance-writer-fcb36f32ba48

    If, for some reason, you can’t access the page, contact me and I’ll send you a PDF of the article. No joke.

    - Laura Stigler

    (Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


  • 02 Dec 2019 5:25 PM | Anonymous

    We’ve all been recipients of what has been promised to be “the gift that keeps on giving.” Yah. Often that means once we receive it, we keep on giving it to someone else. The re-gift, as it were. But as the frenzied holiday season starts ramping up, and racking your brain for good gift ideas has you breaking out in hives, here’s a gift you may want to consider that would be a real “keeper”: IWOC! No, not for everyone, but if you know someone who is a professional writer, or has the goal of becoming one, or even is in a vocation that usually collaborates with writers (graphic artists, web designers, photographers, photojournalists, etc.), then IWOC may be the OMG-PERFECT gift for them! And if that someone is you? Even better! Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

    IWOC keeps on giving...

    Job Ops. Professional Level members get to have their profiles (including all their services) posted on IWOC’s Online Directory – a promotional tool that never stops working for them, making them accessible to prospective clients around the world 24/7/365.

    Learning Ops. With IWOC’s free (i.e., free for members) informative monthly programs and recorded podcasts thereof, there is no telling what helpful tricks of the trade one can learn that will benefit their career. Like diamonds, knowledge is forever.e.

    Networking Ops. At IWOC, we all learn from each other. We love giving and getting advice. Our pre-program networking hour teems with people who’ve “been there, done that” and can provide the very writing- or career-oriented answers your gift recipient (or you!) may be looking for.

    Fun Ops. When it comes down to it, writers just wanna have fun. And for IWOC-ers, there is much fun to be had, whether it’s socializing at the post-program dinners, yearly Summer and Holiday par-tays, or a Mixer with another symbiotic organization.

    I could see you’re chomping at the bit. “Tell me, tell me! How can you give the Gift of IWOC?” you may ask. Come right this way... On that page, you’ll also find a link to the descriptions/benefits of the 3 membership levels, so you’ll know exactly what your gift entails.

    Treat someone else. Treat yourself! But above all, on behalf of IWOC, have a truly wonderful and safe Holiday Season!.

    - Laura Stigler

    (Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


  • 01 Nov 2019 3:51 PM | Anonymous

    We’ve presented it at libraries across the city and ‘burbs. We’ve staged it at the American Writers Museum and City Hall. We’ve “put on shows” at the Career Transitions Center of Chicago and NextDoor Chicago. All to great acclaim. Yes, “Life in the Freelance Lane: Business Basics for Freelance Writing Success” has been just about everywhere! Everywhere but...IWOC itself? How could we have committed such an egregious oversight! Well we decided to rectify that faux pas. Tout de suite! At the next IWOC meeting (November 12), Jeff Steele, David Steinkraus and yours truly will be comin’ home to IWOC, as it were, showcasing our collective wit and wisdom as we share the secrets with IWOC members and non-members alike on how to make a good-to-great living when Living La Vida Freelance.

    It’s going to sound a lot like bragging here, but as someone once said, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” So here’s the truth: After every single presentation, attendees have flocked to us three presenters, eager to tell us how inspired they were and couldn’t wait to get started; how they thirsted for the kind of practical, common sense, turnkey information they just heard in the presentation – and could never seem to get in college or out of articles and books. In all immodesty, I have to say, I agree. And for these reasons:

    1. Jeff, David and I have all been in the trenches. We speak the unvarnished truth about our experiences, and about freelance in general. The ups and the downs. The successes and the setbacks, learning from each one. And we seriously enjoy sharing those hard-earned, hard-won lessons so you don’t have to reinvent those wheels.

    2. The program is filled with common sense pointers that apparently aren’t all that common. When we say things like “Make or beat deadlines” ... or “Treat your client’s business as if it were your own”... or “Even if you’re being interviewed for a gig, it isn’t about you. It’s about your client”...it’s kind of amazing to see how many “aha” moments those basic axioms elicit. Simple stuff. Yet not put into practice as often as you’d imagine.

    And speaking of simple...

    3. A lot of freelance “experts” love to scare, and make the whole idea of freelancing sound complex and esoteric.

    We are not afraid to “keep it simple.” Because when it comes right down to it, contrary to popular assumptions, there is no real mystery to successful freelancing. As we say in the presentation, “It’s all about reaching out.” That’s the simplicity of it.

    Of course, there is a lot more to the presentation than that. But still, containing all very doable, digestible pointers you can make your own and start using immediately.

    Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or just starting out, member of IWOC or friend of, we’d love to see you at the presentation. We’ve found that attendees at all levels are often filled with even more great advice that we presenters learn from as well. And the questions asked at the end are always on just about everybody’s mind. So, on November 12, do join in the fun – ‘cause that’s what it is.

    Here’s to Living La Vida Freelance...successfully!

    - Laura Stigler

    (Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


  • 30 Sep 2019 5:55 PM | Anonymous

    What’s the deal with Autumn? As far as equinoxes go, Spring is lovely, to be sure. But Autumn! There’s something about the season that stirs up pangs of nostalgia. In a good way. Maybe it’s the heady memory of those spanking new school supplies, redolent with the promise of fresh starts. Ahh, I loved the smell of library paste in the morning! (FLASHBACK HARP SFX) Alright now, boys and girls. Settle down, settle down. Take your seats. As we are about to start the coming year afresh, I want you to write a short essay -- (groan!) – Oh, very well then. Make it a Wish List of what you would like IWOC to offer or accomplish in 2019-20. (Yayyyy!!!) .

    Here are my wishes, combined with ones told to me by fellow IWOC’ers, that may inspire wishes of your own:

    • More business outreach. Among businesses big and small, increasing awareness of IWOC as the go-to resource when in need of professional writers has been on the docket for awhile. But it takes volunteers to put that wish into action. Happily, a committee is being formed to do just that. If you’d like to help out in this important endeavor – one that can have the added perk of putting you in connection with businesses that may hire you – raise your hand. Excellent! Contact Tephra Miriam. You’ll be welcomed aboard.
    • Job Fair. Upon establishing relationships with more businesses, our wish is to be able to arrange a Job Fair where you can meet, greet and impress decision-makers who hire.
    • Author Book Fair. Wouldn’t it be fun to hold a Book Fair where IWOC authors can sell their works? Maybe we open it up to other writers organizations whose author members could pay a nominal fee to IWOC for the opportunity to sell their books. For authors and IWOC, it could be a win-win all around.
    • More Mixers. Always great networking opportunities. One is in the works with the Chicago Creative Coalition, whose members run the gamut in the communications arts professions, from graphic artists, website designers and photogs to interior designers, pre-press technicians and more. Who knows? It may lead to a business collaboration!
    • Read Your Works. Could be a panel formed for one of our monthly programs, or even arranged as a special event! Whatever the work may be -- an excerpt from your book or play. A blog entry you’re particularly proud of. An informative article, entertaining ad or radio spot. A heartfelt poem or song. Share it and let’s hear it.

    Those are just some of the wishes swirling around like autumn leaves. Tell me all about yours and they will be included for discussion in our October 8 Board meeting as we plan for 2019-20. Deadline: October 7.

    New pencils sharpened? Start!

    - Laura Stigler

    (Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


  • 01 Sep 2019 6:31 PM | Anonymous

    On August 29, Mayor Lightfoot reported on the State of the City. The news? Not good. In stark contrast, and as Commander- in-Chief of IWOC, I can definitively declare that the State of IWOC is very good. Nay, excellent. Most notably, IWOC is way more financially solvent than our fair City – thus enabling us to not only cover our operating costs, but to continue offering programs, parties, perks and other things (that don’t necessarily begin with “p”) aimed at benefitting the careers and, dare I say, even the morale of our members. There’s something going on here. Call it an energy surge. But it’s palpable, much of it owed to what has transpired throughout this past year, namely...

    • Our exploding Social Media outreach, thanks to Tephra Miriam. She has nimbly taken all our social media platforms to a whole new, fun level that raises IWOC’s profile to a whole new, fun level. (Plus, we got 600 meetup.com members – and counting every day!).
    • A 33% increase in IWOC membership since September 2018. Membership Chair Alicia Dale, with her unstoppable flow of ideas and gregarious nature, has gone full throttle in attracting and maintaining an outstanding caliber of members. Check out their profiles in the Online Directory and see for yourself:
    • Professional Members: Joseph Wycoff, Matthew Mayer, Manuel Galvan, Jay Schwartz, Chris Zambory, Carrie Pallardy, Chloe Riley, Patience Kramer, Richard Pallardy, Chris Ruys, Dan Gillogly, Ben Durham, Tonia Humphrey, Greg King, Jim Ardito, Desiree Mulkey, Francine Friedman, Terry Nugent, Natalie Roth, David Witter, Morgan Carey Bergren,  Ted Barnhart
    • Associate Members: Daise Imakando, Donna Gregory, Anne Hagerty, Christina Michael, Sandra Steele, Allison Torem, Lucia Mouat, Jennifer Posternack, Michele Popadich, Maria Rodriguez, Roberta Krause, Genevieve Waller.
    • Ongoing program excellence. Program Chair Jeff Steele and his stalwart Committee of Vladimire Herard, Betsy Storm and Julie Polanco, along with contributions from Ms. Dale have continued to bring in programs that both informed and entertained. Members who missed any can download the podcasts on our Members Resource page and relive such career-polishing gems as: The Chunky Method of Writing, Benefit Big by Blogging for Business, Secrets of Copywriting Success, Real Time Networking, Perfect Your 90-second Pitch, Pump up Profits by Increasing Your Efficiency, How to Build Your Success through Online Video Stories, Understanding Content Strategy to Create Brilliant Copy, and How to Use LinkedIn for Freelance Success.
    • Promoting our members. Proud of their breaking news and accomplishments, horns were tooted for:
    • Laura Stigler (the Chicago premiere of her fun-woman show, “Nashville Notes: The Diary of a Mad Songwriter”)
    • Tephra Miriam (Escape to Pearl City, Book 2 in her YA Clown Town Adventures fantasy fiction series; published children’s book A Monster or a Microwave; signed on as contributor of articles to media powerhouse Kivo Daily)
    • Roberta Allen (the book launching of her memoir Examined Lives)
    • Jarmila Del Boccio (winning Word Weaver’s Georgia Peach contest for Soli’s Saving Grace and debut of The Heart Changer, both historical fiction)
    • Francesca Peppiatt (her story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul’sRunning for Good” edition; staged readings of her play, “The Girls: Together Again” and her one-person show for Chicago Writers Bloc)
    • Alicia Dale (spoke on “Negotiating Tactics” at SheSays Chicago “Who’s Your Momma” event)
    • Julie Polanco (raising funds for Purple Asparagus Food Justice Org via publication of her children’s book, The Flavor of Friendship)
    • Manuel Galvan (hosted Roundtable Meeting at Union League Club to discuss Chicago’s mayoral candidates)
    • Kathryn Occhipinti (her collaboration with Chicago’s Italian American Voice, Fra Noi.com)
    • Kathleen Spaltro (The Great Lie: The Creation of Mary Astor bio to be published by University Press of Mississippi; articles published in Illinois Heritage)
    • Karin McKie (directed dramatic reading of Phantom Collective production, "Last Thoughts of Mary Stuart")
    • At the 2019 Printer’s Row Lit Fest, IWOC promoted books authored by IWOC-ers Adela Durkee, Veronica Hinke, Tephra Miriam, Kathryn Occhipinti, Karen Sandrick, Betsy Storm and Marci Rolnik Walker
    • “Life in the Freelance Lane: Business Basics for Freelance Writing Success,” hosted by Laura Stigler, Jeff Steele and David Steinkraus, the presentations are becoming ever more in demand, with appearances this past year at the Wilmette Public Library and encores performed at Skokie Public Library, City Hall, Chicago Career Transitions Center, and most recently, at NextDoor Chicago. Benefitting the writing community at large, the talks also have been benefitting IWOC, inspiring over a dozen attendees to join IWOC!
    • Parties. Not talking political ones here. Just the fun kind, and we had ‘em – the Winter Holiday soiree at Café Iberico (delicioso!) and at Athena for IWOCFest (Νόστιμα!)

    Yup. 2018-19. As the song says (and what Mayor Lightfoot couldn’t say), “It was a very good year.”

    Any ideas for 2019-20? Do tell in the comment section.

    Onward!

    - Laura Stigler

    (Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


  • 04 Aug 2019 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    Cred. As in “credentials.” For the longest time after I joined IWOC, I sat back and let the organization roll on and work for me without contributing much in return – other than my yearly membership dues. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) I was quite content in that role, fortunate to get enough work via my Directory Profile that enabled me to make a career out of freelance writing. But after several years, the gnawing sensation that I really needed to give back started to creep in. So, I took the plunge, joined the PR Committee, and from 2004 to 2016 wrote IWOC’s press releases for the monthly programs. Along the way, a funny thing happened to me: Not only was I able to polish the skills it takes to write a press release, but I gained the confidence to add “Press Releases” to my résumé – garnering work in that area that I never would have gotten otherwise. I increased my cred.

    IWOC can do that. Bring out skills, talents, sides of you that you may not have realized were there, adding value as a writer – or just as a person! All of which can help attract more clients. So, if you’d like to discover what’s in you that may be lying dormant – or just benefit IWOC (and yourself) by expanding the avenues where you can put to use the abilities you excel at, my advice? Join an IWOC Committee! Examples:

    • Membership Com: After being an IWOC member for only a few months, Alicia Dale was already smitten with the organization. Alicia is a genuine people person. Perfect for Membership. She embraced the Chair role and knew she found her niche. Not only has she helped increase IWOC’s membership by 10%+ in one year, but by reaching out to members both new and seasoned, she was able to give and get advice that has symbiotically helped advance careers – her own and others’. Sound like a niche for you? Get in touch with Alicia.
    • Program Com: Chair Jeff Steele is IWOC’s resident showman. If you’ve ever been greeted by him, you know of what I speak. Enter a room and he makes you feel like you’re a star appearing on “Late Night.” He loves “putting on a show” based on great ideas, whether they’re his own or coming from his Pro Com colleagues. If you’ve got ideas for fun, informative, practical programs, get with the Program! Talk to Jeff.
    • StetBlog: Cynthia Tomusiak is IWOC’s Editor of the Stet newsletter cum blog. And she does so from her digs in Nevada! Cynthia is always looking for contributors that will help make the StetBlog more interactive, interesting, informative – or just a good read. If there’s ever a way that can increase your SEO ranking, it’s a blog. IWOC gives you the opportunity to do just that. If you’ve got ideas for topics about the world of writing, or the business of writing – anything you feel would be of interest to writers, contact Cynthia to get on the StetBlog staff! Added bonus: You get to exhibit your own writing chops to IWOC’s nearly 800 contacts plus Social Media followers -- not to mention have your posts be visible to prospective clients. And speaking of Social Media...
    • Social Media Com: Tephra Miriam is our Social Media Master, brilliantly posting all things fascinating about IWOC, writing, writers’ groups, writers events, etc. – and news about IWOC members! If you want to get on board this train, contact Tephra. Not only will you learn from a real expert about the how-tos of SM (i.e., if you don't already know them), but you can become proficient enough to add that in-demand field of expertise to your listings on IWOC’s Online Directory.
    • Public Relations Com: Got a background in PR? Or would like to start building one? Contact PR Chair Katherine Mikkelson, who’s been serving on the committee since 2004 first as distributing the releases, then taking over the writing of them in 2016. Now residing in Dallas, TX, she wouldn’t mind handing over the reins to other capable hands. For you, PR could mean writing the monthly press releases, but it can go way beyond that. This is a wide-open committee that you could shape according to your abilities – or wishes.
    • Web Com: Does tech scare you? It did me. Just a little. But when Webmaster Roger Rueff explained how IWOC’s web server works so even I can understand, it really proved itself to be a most intuitive system. So now I’m posting events. Uploading our podcasts. Editing. Mass e-blasting. You name it. Me! A techie! How about you? Imagine the high you can get mastering an area usually anathema to us writerly types. It may even help you to gain confidence in creating your own website, if you’ve yet to build one. Contact Roger or me if you’d like to try your hand at this winnable game.

    So seriously. Do consider participating in any one (or more) of the above Committees. Or devise one of your own. (Event Planner, anyone?) When you do, don’t be surprised if the same funny things that happened to me (fattening the résumé, boosting confidence, a rise in SEO rankings) – can happen to you!

    - Laura Stigler

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