Tag Archives: PWAC

Post-AGM 2014 Letter from Ontario Regional Director Kim Arnott

Hello Ontario PWAC Members,

PWAC’s annual conference and AGM were held at the beginning of June, as part of MagNet in Toronto. As always, the opportunity to meet new PWAC friends and renew acquaintances with others from across the country was wonderful. The conference offered professional development sessions, an awards dinner and our annual business session.

At our awards dinner, I was thrilled to be able to present PWAC Toronto president Jaclyn Law with Ontario’s Regional Volunteer Award. As many of you will know, Jaclyn’s superb leadership and cheerful volunteer energy has helped our Toronto chapter continue to thrive.

Jaclyn Law PWAC volunteer of the year award

Toronto Chapter president Jaclyn Law receives the Ontario Regional Volunteer Award from Ontario Regional Director Kim Arnott – image from PWAC at MagNet

I was also pleased to see and chat with delegates who came out from chapters across the province to attend the AGM, as well as a town hall session. The feedback from members was really useful to me as I enter my second year as your Regional Director. I promised at the time that I would post all of the information that was gathered on a Forum thread and on our Ontario blog (pwacontario.wordpress.com), and I will do that over the coming few weeks.

One of the main topics of conversation this year involved the future of our national conference. As you may know, we have organized our annual event in conjunction with Magazines Canada as over the last three years. At this point we do not have a specific plan for the national conference next year, but a task force has been established to develop options for 2015 and future conferences. Possibilities include partnering with other organizations, holding a virtual AGM and developing regional conferences, or moving to a bi-annual conference.

I believe this year’s business sessions generated some significant enthusiasm and energy to work toward important PWAC goals, including re-orienting the organization to better serve member needs, developing a plan to provide regular online professional development to members, and finding ways to stabilize and enhance the organization’s financial state.

To that end, the Professional Development task force and a Member Services task force are both soliciting volunteers. You should have received a bulletin about this last week, but if you are interested in volunteering and don’t know who to contact, please let me know and I will direct you to the appropriate person.

I wish all my PWAC colleagues a fun, productive and safe summer. I look forward to staying in touch and continuing to cooperatively build our careers and our professional association.

Thanks,

Kim Arnott
Ontario RD

kim.arnott@sympatico.ca

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PWAC at MagNet 2014: Social & Professional Events You Don’t Want to Miss

by Miranda Miller

Miranda MillerIt’s almost here!

This week, PWACers will flock to the Courtyard Downtown Toronto in search of professional development, camaraderie and networking opportunities.

There’s a lot going on – and if you’re like me and don’t get out much, you won’t want to miss a thing. Here’s a roundup of the social and PWAC-specific events happening June 3rd to 7th :

The MagNet Soiree

This year, the MagNet Soiree at 7pm on Tuesday, June 3rd, shines a regional spotlight on Quebec. From MagNet organizers: “Yes, all your favourite flavours of Québec will be on offer: tourtière, braised duck, maple syrup, delicious poutine, craft beer from the region and even a délicieuxsignature cocktail. Come fête the publishers, contributors, industry allies, food and music of Québec while you mingle, reconnect, meet new friends and kick off a sensational MagNet week.” This event is free and no registration is required.

PWAC Town Hall

In addition to the AGM, in which board and staff report on the association to delegates and observers, PWAC is holding an Town Hall meeting Wednesday, June 4th, from 5-7pm. Members are invited to voice their ideas for the organization. Join the Town Hall meeting in the Spadina room at the conference hotel.

MagNet 2014

Cheers with Peers Pub Night 

Wednesday, June 4th, from 7:15 to 10pm, join fellow PWAC members for drinks and conversation at a downtown Toronto pub. Meet in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown at 7:15 to go with the group. Hosted by PWAC Toronto. Venue: Pogue Mahone at 777 Bay Street.

Rise & Shine 5K Run – Cancelled

Thursday, June 5th, meet up in the Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown lobby at 7:15am for an approximately 30-minute run through Queen’s Park and the historic U of T campus. Organizer Virginia Heffernan promises you’ll be back in time for breakfast! Updated: Unfortunately, the organizer has fallen ill and the run is cancelled. Sleep in and enjoy the other events!

PWAC Awards Dinner & Ceremony

The spotlight on Quebec continues with French Canadian delicacies served up alongside great conversation, memories and a celebration of our members receiving honours this year. Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image, will share a keynote speech on self-publishing. Join fellow PWACers Thursday, June 5th at 6pm – see more on the menu and agenda here.

PWAC logo

Talent Show

Crawl back to the Courtyard Marriott to cheer on creative performances in PWAC’s Legendary Annual Talent Show. Fun will begin about Thursday, June 5th at 10pm in the Coast to Coast Lounge. Anyone interested in performing should contact Nate Hendley at nhendley@sympatico.ca.

Magazine Publishers Success Stories Lunch

Take part in this lunch event from 12-2pm on Friday, June 6th. From MagNet organizers: “At this free lunch event, MagNeteers from all sectors can get valuable inspiration from the OMDC’s unique perspective on Ontario’s magazine sector as the organization presents high-performing print, digital, marketing and business development projects supported by the Magazine Fund. You’ll come away with project ideas, strategies for new business models, examples of best practices and insights on industry trends.”  See more information on the MagNet site.

PWAC AGM

Friday, June 6th from 2-4pm, it’s time to get down to business at the Annual General Meeting in the Spadina room of the conference hotel.

Virginia Heffernan’s House Party

Round out the week at Toronto PWAC member Virginia Heffernan’s house party. Members and partners are welcome. The festivities begin at 7:30pm – please check in at the PWAC booth at MagNet for directions to her house.

Hockey Hall of Fame Trip

Saturday, June 7th, join organizers PWAC Toronto in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown at 9am to depart for the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a one-block walk to College Station, where you’ll catch the subway to King Station. From there, it’s a two-block walk to the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world. Admission is $17.50.

St. Lawrence Market Tour

PWAC Toronto has organized a tour of the historic St. Lawrence Market in the heart of downtown Toronto on Saturday, June 7th. Meet in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown at  10am. Admission is $10 – please contact PWAC Toronto to register in advance and pay the day of the tour.

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The Value of Belonging: Meet the PWAC Danforth Success Group

Danforth Success Group PWAC OntarioBy Jennifer D. Foster

Woody Allen once said that “80 percent of success is showing up.” He’s definitely onto something there. I’ve been a member of the PWAC Danforth Success Group (a subgroup of the PWAC Toronto chapter) for about four years and it’s proved invaluable.

Founded by freelance writer/editor and long-time PWAC member John Schofield in May 2008, our lively group of nearly a dozen like-minded writers and editors (who also wear many other hats, including award-winning authors, accomplished musicians and singers, mentors, tutors, web gurus, prize-winning photographers, health-care professionals, piano teachers, Amnesty International volunteers and TV hosts) has been meeting at various neighbourhood cafes to commiserate and share tips on freelancing ever since. John says he thought the group “would be a great way for PWAC members living in the area to meet, socialize and discuss our business challenges and triumphs. It was also a response to my own feeling of isolation as a freelance writer working at home.”

I missed our meetings for a while after joining (raising a family, work deadlines and volunteer commitments thwarted my best intentions!), but I’ve recently started attending again with regularity. And I’m so glad I have. Being part of this group is yet another way to get even more out of my PWAC membership. As John says, “There’s no substitute for sharing ideas and advice face to face.” I couldn’t agree more. The informal networking and support provided by our small group setting has provided myriad perks for me, including freelancing writing assignments from a member during her tenure as editor ofa meetings and corporate travel magazine. I wrote eight articles, learned a ton about that industry, increased the range of my portfolio and made several business-related contacts for future articles. I also suggested a fellow writer friend to the editor, who, like me, wrote many articles for the publication.

And our small group amazes me with its generosity, humour and expertise. Someone’s always willing to share sound advice, a great organizing tip or a time-saving technique or offer up a helpful contact or a useful website. And the group is great at brainstorming for story ideas, potential sources and prospective clients. The conversation is always stimulating and diverse, often veering way off (the freelancing writing) track and into life in general, providing much-needed social time and lots of laughs (added bonus: a great stress reliever)!

A number of members have been part of the group since its beginnings and that’s created a comforting sense of continuity. New members are always welcome, though, adding a fresh dynamic to the group and yet another chance to network and make new friends. I’ve made some wonderful friends by being part of this group, friends who totally “get” what it’s like to be a freelance writer.

I’ve also recently been inspired to join a few other writerly organizations, including the Toronto branch of the Canadian Authors Association. And some of our group members are actively involved in other writing groups. I’m considering joining yet another writers’ group to take the creative writing plunge.

Another bonus of belonging to PWAC Danforth Success Group? Being able to tap into a rich talent pool. I recently wrote a feature for the 2015 issue of the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market on the anatomy of a successful short story, and one of our members, who is an award-winning short story author, graciously agreed to be a source. His quotes and information brought much-needed depth and a unique perspective to my piece, thanks to his vast knowledge and experience. In a similar vein is being able to recommend my fellow group members, when possible, to (potential) clients. I’ve passed on work to group members – and vice versa – when I’m just too busy to juggle yet another project and crazy deadline, knowing that (potential) client is in good hands.

Our monthly lunchtime meetings provide an endless forum for sharing writing-, editing- and communication-related quandaries, frustrations, triumphs, milestones and the dreaded client horror stories. And I always leave the group meeting feeling not only energized and positive about the writing biz, but also quite gratified to be part of this fab little community of freelancers.

For more information about the PWAC Danforth Success Group, contact John Schofield at j.schofield@pwactoronto.org.

Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor, specializing in fiction/non-fiction, custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications. Her company is Planet Word.

Image credit: sxc.hu

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Sharing Stories, Sharing Success

Kim Arnottby Kim Arnott

Through the years I’ve gathered an invaluable amount of inspiration, encouragement and practical advice from my PWAC colleagues. I’m always awed by the generosity of our group, with people taking the time to share everything from technology tips and market suggestions to simple advice about managing to be a freelance writer and a sane person all in the same day.

I hope that this space will further that tradition of sharing and networking. And if you have any doubts about the value of such interactions, I offer you the following story.

A number of years ago, I was talking with a former Montreal PWAC member about stories we’d recently had published. She said she’d had success in pitching a story about the city’s great greasy spoon restaurants (“A Dozen Delicious Dives”) to a city mag. When I told her it was a fabulous idea, she urged me to pitch it to a Hamilton magazine, which I eventually did.

I’d never written for the magazine before that, and in the end, they never took that story. But as is so often the case in this profession, the editor called with a different assignment. And then, a few assignments later, she called with an odd question. Did I know anything about trade magazines? Or even home building? The truth?… of course I didn’t. The answer? … I’m a quick learner.

It turns out that her publisher also owned some trade magazines and needed a freelance editor for one of them. I landed what turned out to be a well-paying gig that lasted for several years, offered a great experience and opened some other doors. And I could trace it directly back to my conversation with Julia.

Often our interactions inspire us. But they can also enrich us. The story idea is now yours to pitch, and may it bring you as much success as it brought me. Just be sure to bring your stories back to help inspire us all.

Kim Arnott has been a freelance writer and editor since 1994, writing on a variety of topics for newspapers, magazines and digital media. She is PWAC’s current Regional Director for Ontario.

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See you there! PWAC@MagNet 2013, June 4-7

Make sure you’ve marked June 4-7, 2013 on your calendars for PWAC@MagNet.

Our “host” region is British Columbia and our Regional Director there, Heidi Turner, has been hard at work with the conference team and with local (BC) industry reps on some special items and events.

The full conference program of Professional Development workshops and seminars is scheduled to be sent out before the end of March.

There will also be an array of social events, which will help you relax while you reconnect with colleagues, and make new friends.

Once again, PWAC will be offering subsidies to our delegates that will cover direct travel costs more than $175.00–Yes–you will be reimbursed for your direct travel costs over and above $175.  So we hope to see delegates from our northern and far eastern parts of the province!

The full program, and details about our special “PWAC Nights” will be out soon. For now–make sure you’ve marked those calendars!

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PWAC Ontario Member Achievements

Guelph PWAC’s Melody Wren is at it again – finding new publications for her travel stories. Here’s her latest, published in ActiveOver50 magazine, about the benefits of renting when visiting Paris.
“The publication is called  ActiveOver50.com,” says Melody.  “The print version is in California, with a vast readership, and their website attracts over 1 million viewers annually.  I am pleased that I have just started writing for them, and this article is my first of a few lined up.”
Stan Taylor, PWAC Toronto, has a new book, and presented a workshop based on the book. Here are the details:
Book: Taylor’s Pneumatic Toys ISBN 978-0-9918098-0-6
Publisher: Stanley R Taylor self published through LSI, Dec 24, 2012
My book is for parents/grandparents/educators to spend quality time with the children teaching and working with them to make pneumatic (air-powered) toys with moving parts out of wood. With care, these toys should last a lifetime.
Stanley R Taylor
Toronto Chapter
Workshop: I gave a successful workshop to scientists, engineers and educators from many countries at the Science Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) at Johnson Space Center (NASA), Houston TX on February 9, 2013. I taught them how to make a miniature, pneumatically controlled Canadarm with two moving parts. This ‘toy’ as I call it is one of nine toys parents and children can make from my newly published book, Taylor’s Pneumatic Toys.
For more information about this, contact Stan: SRTENT@ruralwave.ca

If you have news about PWAC Ontario members, please share it!

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Hello PWAC Ontario

Greetings from  the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) Ontario Region

Hello Ontario Members, and PWAC members across the country who may have dropped in to check out our blog.

Welcome, or welcome back.

My term is ending as your Regional Director, and it’s been a whirlwind couple of years.  I’m looking for a strong finish! This isn’t my swan song yet though. That will come later. There are more important things at hand:

The Countdown has begun–we are less than six weeks away from PWAC@MagNet 2013! This is where PWACers will join others in writing and publishing to dish about the ever-changing world we work in.

The amazing Professional Development sessions are outlined on the MagNet website, and that’s where you go to register. You start by clicking “Add New Attendee” and go from there. You could get together with your PWAC buddies and register together!

All registrations are being handled by the MagNet conference staff, so please go to the FAQ

If you still have questions, please contact the PWAC National Office (info@pwac.ca)

One of the highlights of the conference will be our Awards Banquet. This is where our Ontario Regional Volunteer Award will be presented–except that there are no nominees yet! I KNOW there are lots of hard-working folks giving their all to PWAC in the region. I want to present one of them with this award.

Please get nomination letters into me as soon as possible. Log into the Members Only Directory on PWAC.ca and look under “PWAC Information” for “PWAC Awards Application information.”

Nomination letters require two signatures from members of the chapter and then are sent to me. I forward them to the national Board of Directors, and the other regional directors vote, based on the merits outlined in the letter. So while I may be asked some questions about the people nominated, I do not get involved in the voting process for my region (I will vote for other regional volunteer nominations)

Once voting is completed, I will be told of the winner, but I will not announce the winner until  our Awards Dinner at the national conference  in June, at which time it will be my pleasure to present the Ontario Regional Volunteer Award plaque.

At the banquet we will also present the PWAC Writing Awards. The Editor of the Year Award will be presented at the Writers Luncheon.

All of the details about this award are in the Members Only section on PWAC.ca

The conference will be amazing, and our BC Regional Director has been working hard to make sure our BC Spotlight will be shining bright.  You won’t want to miss it.

In other PWAC news, I have been attending consultation meetings with Work In Culture, an organization dedicated to helping those in the cultural sector develop new and better business and marketing skills.

Finally, PWAC is doing a bit of “crowdsourcing” with ideaBOOST. By BOOSTing Writers.ca you can help PWAC get more funding to really push our Marketplace forward.

So that’s an update for now. As always, I remain,

Cheerfully your regional director

Christine Peets

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Filed under Ontario Regional news