Tuesday, April 15, 2008



I joined the Professional Writers' Association of Canada (PWAC) a couple of years ago. The benefits it provides have proven worthwhile; perhaps PWAC's most valuable asset is the discussion groups, the digests of which plop into my inbox daily. They help me keep up to date with what to charge for articles and work for hire, how freelance contracts are changing, copyright issues, and periodicals that are difficult to work with, etc. I feel less isolated and more supported stuck here alone in front of my computer. PWAC also has local chapters around Canada that put on workshops and have monthly meetings, as well as an annual conference.

Many countries have similar associations for freelancers - just Google for yours - and get connected with like-minded writers.

PWAC runs two web sites, both of which are worth visiting:

  • Go to www.writers.ca which is PWAC's site that lists the members and their talents for editors and companies seeking freelancers. The site also has resources for writers, such as copyright info, professional practice, what fees you should charge, etc. The most useful resource is their sample contract for freelance writers at: www.writers.ca/Downloads/agreementFINAL.pdf.
    Writers should always ask for a contract when undertaking work, whether big or small. I am astounded that many writers don't do so, and then wonder why they find their "print" article on a magazine's website or passed along to another organization or individual to use with no remuneration.
  • Go to www.pwac.ca for more info about joining PWAC and to see their blog. PWAC membership always looks good in bio paras of your query letters, and costs about $250.00/year.

PWAC also has a webpage (www.pwac.ca/eventsandresources/pwacpublications) with books on writing and the business of writing, which members have written, and are available to non-members to buy. I bought three and have been delighted with them. The list includes the following titles:

  • PWAC Guide to Editing as a Sideline: The freelance writers guide to setting-up an editing business
  • PWAC Guide to Roughing It in the Market: A Survival Toolkit for the Savvy Writer
  • Your Book, Your Way! Powerful Publishing Pointers
  • Book Magic: Turning Writers into Published Authors
  • Crafting Irresistible Query Letters that Get You Published
  • The Writing Fairy Guide to Calling Yourself a Writer: Coaxing closet writers to emerge and make their magic known
  • Motivation for Non-Fiction Writers: Learn how to start up or step up a successful freelance non-fiction writing career
  • The Business of Freelance Writing: How to Develop Article Ideas and Sell Them to Newspapers and Magazines
  • The Six-Figure Freelancer: How to Find, Price and Manage Corporate Writing Assignments
  • Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech

Enjoy the browsing!