professional writers association canada

professional writers association canada

The Importance of Joining the Professional Writers Association of Canada

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1. Benefits of Joining the Professional Writers Association of Canada

There are many benefits to joining the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). Being part of a community of professional writers, journalists, and communicators from across the country can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. At the national and chapter levels, PWAC aims to keep members informed and connected through various types of media, including its website. Members are encouraged to become familiar with the website, as it contains information about what is happening within the association, newsletters, a bookstore, contract templates, and much more. Members are also connected through email and through contact with their Regional Director. The biggest benefit of all is the chance to be part of a supportive community where like-minded individuals can come together to share knowledge and experiences. Finally, being part of PWAC means adding to the strength of the freelance writing community, showing clients and other writers that members are committed to excellence and professionalism in their writing careers.

2. Networking Opportunities Offered by the Association

Another way the association is helping its members make relevant industry connections is through organized meetings and conferences. PWAC itself hosts an annual general meeting where members can volunteer on various national committees, 2 visioning conferences, and a national conference. These provide members with great opportunities for getting the inside scoop on potential job or publishing, as well as networking with individuals who have similar areas of expertise or who are more experienced in the writing field. In addition to PWAC hosted events, the association has worked together with other Canadian writer’s organizations to promote our members’ interests by publicizing and/or offering a discount on selected third-party events. Step one has been taken with the Magazine Association of BC who was looking to involve writers in their community. This will steadily increase the number of event opportunities available to members across Canada.

Networking is recognized as the central key to success in every profession, and only the individuals who can market their skills and value can successfully survive. The Professional Writers Association of Canada realizes how important it is for their members to make the right connections and best utilize those connections to further individual careers. They are now in the process of developing a unique tool that will connect professionals in the writing and information industry with peers in Canada and around the world based on their areas of expertise and interest. This will allow members to communicate and interact with each other in a mentorship-like fashion, possibly leading to increased work opportunities for less experienced writers or those new to the Canadian scene.

3. Resources and Support Available to Members

When writers join PWAC, they gain access to a variety of resources and support systems designed to help them improve their skills, find work, meet other writers, and promote their work. Networking opportunities such as the annual conference and regional meetings help writers to get to know their colleagues, make friends and contacts in the writing world, and get solid advice from those who have done what they want to do. The PWAC annual conference is a great learning opportunity, with workshops on various writing-related issues, and the chance to talk with editors and peers. This year’s conference, “Writing Worth”, will be held in Winnipeg, June 20-22, in conjunction with the MagsWest conference for magazine writers and creators. By registering for the conference before April 25, PWAC members can save up to $125 off the regular registration fee and enter a draw for a free conference pass. Another exciting opportunity for professional development is the mentorship program which was initiated in 2012. This is a chance for writers to learn about taking their careers to the next level by being paired up with a more seasoned writer who can offer advice and encouragement.

4. Professional Development and Education Programs

The strength of a professional organization often lies in its contribution to the ongoing training and development of its members. In recognition of the fact that ongoing professional development is of paramount importance to Canadian writers, PWAC has initiated a number of programs to increase the skill level of its members. Thanks to funding from the Canada Council, PWAC has been able to offer members a number of distance education opportunities. In the past, PWAC has worked in cooperation with Athabasca University and Carleton University to create web-based courses on various writing-related subjects. Members were able to participate in these courses at a greatly reduced rate. Currently, PWAC is working on creating an eight-module self-directed learning program on writing and editing for cultural workers. This program will be available to PWAC members for free or at a significantly reduced rate. Although completion of high-level skill testing will be a requirement to qualify for this program, it is hoped that it will serve as a valuable training tool for professional writers working in areas that fall under the broad category of “cultural work”.

5. Advocacy and Representation for Canadian Writers

The defence and promotion of Canadian writing and writers are key priorities for the professional development of PWAC members. A number of initiatives and ongoing projects are designed to facilitate Canadian authorship by promoting the reading and availability of Canadian works, improving the economic prospects of Canada’s writers, increasing awareness of the role professional writers play in the creation of Canadian content, and improving the working conditions of writers in Canada. When surveyed, PWAC members identified the promotion of Canadian content and improving the economic climate for writers among their top reasons for belonging to the association. With the collapse of many traditional writing markets, today’s professional writers face increased competition, a glut of mediocre and low-paying writing work, and vanishing opportunities to write Canadian content for Canadian audiences. In response, PWAC has undertaken several major projects aimed at revolutionizing the markets and opportunities for professional writers. The Can-Write Program is an ongoing initiative promoting the use and availability of writing services in the public and private sectors. Can-Write works to increase the awareness, availability, and utilization of professional writers by demonstrating the benefits of hiring a professional writer, and by educating both writers and clients as to how to better interact in business. An increase in the demand for professional writers indirectly produces more opportunities for Canada’s authors, and thus forms a key component of PWAC’s mandate to facilitate Canadian authorship.

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