Thoughts from IWW member Mona Vanek
I 'discovered' IWW when my daughter gifted me with a pound-and-a-half sized Internet Directory, in 1996. I'd just upgraded from a Tandy DOS computer to a laptop that had a modem, and our telephone company recently added ISP connection. Because I lived in an area of Montana devoid of libraries and higher education, and we had limited funding for travel, food and lodging where I could avail myself of them,
I joined IWW and signed onto Writing and NFiction, and felt like heaven had opened it's doors and welcomed me!! Soon, I was invited to join MarketChat, which at that time was not an open list. I've maintained my memberships ever since.
Montana and Idaho newspapers had published hundreds (maybe thousands) of my news and photojournalism pieces. I'd been published in a few magazines, and my three-volume regional history series was published and selling. Little did I realize how ignorant I was about writing and the opportunities in the publishing world!
IWW's marvelous members began teaching me what I needed to learn -- Writing 101!
Because of their generous help, I wrote successful grants, created and produced videos, and succeeded in marketing to more prestigious magazines. I learned about copyrights and negotiating contracts. Thanks to information shared on IWW's MarketChat, my knowledge of writing and marketing grew exponentially, and I negotiated a sale to Chicken Soup, getting them to up their standard $300 fee to $1,200.
By gleaning and compiling what I learned from IWW, getting permission from members, and adding other online resources I found, I created my own writing course -- to make available to anyone anywhere in the world the very resources IWW members so willingly share. Through that venue, IWW members can take credit for the hundreds who've received the 21 chapters and handouts I e-mail to students, worldwide. IWW has
helped far more writers than just their own members. Call that Writing 101 if you will. It works! And helping wannabee writers, as well as successful professional writers and freelancers, in my opinion, is what IWW is all about.
If the addition of our IWW blogspot provides even greater opportunities, and if by hosting it our membership increases, then I'm living proof that growing our always fluctuating membership is a beneficial thing. I don't view it as a detriment to the membership, but rather as a boon.
If, in the process, a few new members need extra help, there will always be those of us more than willing to mentor them. Anyone who doesn't want to bother can -- and should -- delete submissions that don't interest them, and focus on submissions of exceptional quality. Although it's always a wonderful experience to read perfect prose, in my opinion, it's the writers who seek and welcome, help that are the
reason for and the mainstay of IWW. I learn something from each member, no matter their status in the writing field.