let gratitude drive your life

This week I am filled with gratitude. Thanks so much to each and every one of you who took the time to contribute to our discussion on books that have impacted our lives. We had some amazing suggestions and some very insightful offerings on the value of books in our lives.  Your insights and reflections shot our last post over the top to break all records for most responses to any post I’ve had on my blog. THANK YOU!

The really cool thing is that we have quite an eclectic group here. I am grateful for each one of your comments as they help broaden my mind with every post.  What a great place to be!

As I’ve said before, I think networking is essential to the life and career of any writer trying to make a living from their words. I therefore spend a huge amount of time networking, virtually (online) and in person whenever the opportunity arises (that’s a bit harder for someone like me who lives in a small community in rural Canada.)

But I’m off again to what we affectionately call the “Big Smoke” (Toronto) for a few days of meetings and to give back to the national community of writers who have helped build my career through friendship, mentoring, coaching, referrals, and professional development.

All of us who make our livings as freelance writers in Canada should be members of PWAC — the Professional Writers Association of Canada. PWAC lobbies on our behalf, when governments and governing bodies propose legislation that may adversely affect us.

PWAC provides great professional development opportunities for members (virtually and in person) and is a founding partner of the annual MagNet Conference that is held in Toronto every year.

And PWAC members really care about one another. And that is something that helps us get by in tough times (whether they be emotional, financial or stressful for another reason.) I found that when I did my crowdfunding campaign in 2013, the support I received from my fellow PWAC members (past and present) was unsurpassed by any other group I belong to. I am eternally grateful for that friendship and support.

If you’re a PWAC member, I’d love to hear how the organization has helped you. If you’re not, but would qualify, I’m interested in why you haven’t joined or have left us. And if you just appreciate good writing and the efforts freelance writers put into bringing you quality content, via newspapers, magazines, websites, books, anthologies, newsletters, blogs, and any other medium you can imagine, we salute you, and thank you for reading our words.


Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

41 Responses

  1. sumon says:

    Thanks for sharing this information with us. Your material is up to date and quite informative, I would like to bookmark this page so I can come here to read this again, as you have done a wonderful job.

  2. Hello Everyone,
    I credit PWAC for the fact that I was able to graduate from writing newspaper and magazine articles to what I really wanted to do — write books. Dorothy mentioned leaving PWAC because she did not feel it adequately supported those of us who wrote books for Altitude when Altitude went bankrupct. There is something to be said for that view; however, if it had not been for PWAC I never would have learned about Altitude and their Amazing Stories series and began writing books in the first place. As a result, even though I lost some money owing to me, I have been able to go on to another publisher and have had seven books published in total since 2003.

    Like many commentators, I have made many friends and acquaintances through PWAC and enjoyed some wonderful vacations as a result of attending PWAC AGMs across the country.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for bringing your perspective into the mix, Irene.

      I think you bring a very important point to mind. Membership in any org is only as monumental as we enable it to be. If we take advantage of the full benefits and opportunities put before us, the positive outcomes and possibilities are likely to far outweigh the negative.

  3. Luigi says:

    I’m still with PWAC after almost 8 years, but I can understand why some people have chosen to leave the organization.
    That said, I’d like to be the change I want to see. That’s why I started and maintain PWAC’s Linkedin group – to get more members curious about the possibilities of effective online networking. It’s also why I’m developing an online forum for newcomers to Linked In.
    And it’s why I support the coming “online marketplace” and member discussion forums (which will replace our antiquated listservs).
    All of this should help people justify PWAC membership based on business reasons alone. The social aspects will happen anyway, I’m sure, but when more people see PWAC as a cost-effective way to help build a freelance writing business, I expect PWAC membership to skyrocket. And once the online marketplace truly goes live this summer… well, the buzz ought to create plenty of momentum for us all.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Luigi, and for all the work you do on behalf of PWAC. Your social media and technical expertise are really valuable resources that are helping bring PWAC forward as a leader in technological advancements. Like you, I can hardly wait for the new version of writers.ca to be launched in June. I’m confident it will make a huge impact in the way the assn is marketing its members to the publishing industry and beyond.

      To those who are getting impatient with some of the tools we are currently using … hang in there! The final enhancements to the pre-launch version of writers.ca2 are taking place as we speak and before too long, we’ll be in the testing phase. I have no doubt you will be a part of that process.

  4. If there’s ever a PWAC poster girl, I’d like to apply. When I got downsized from a job, I knew PWAC would help give me the tools to restart my freelance career – and it did. Not only do I have a fantastic set of friends that are ready and willing to share their knowledge and offer support, I learned all about the scary new world of social media and much more through the pro-dev courses. As if that wasn’t enough, I also heard about the Heather Robertson class action lawsuit – I applied and thought I might get a couple of hundred bucks – well, I got a LOT more than that. I’m eternally grateful and can’t say or do enough to convince other freelancers to join TODAY!!!

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Krystyna. I think too often people look at the amount of the dues and find excuses not to be able to afford them. You showed faith in yourself by making the investment in membership. Glad to hear your investment has paid off. I hope others will be inspired by your good example.

      The sale on membership dues is only on until March 31st. Hopefully, someone will indeed read your endorsement and join today. I’m going to send this link to a writer friend right now!

  5. Jay Remer says:

    I joined PWAC two years ago and find the organization very supportive and the members individually to be helpful and friendly. With the fear of rejection we face from time to time, it’s nice to know you have birds of a feather close by. Gratitude is a feeling we need to develop and maintain everyday of our lives!

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Jay, and for joining PWAC. I’ve found you to be a very supportive and collegial member, and remember it all started when your restaurant in St. Andrews by the Sea graciously hosted a PWAC dinner during our annual conference (which that year was held in St. John.) Another reason I love the roaming conferences and hope that PWAC returns to that format in the future.

  6. In what other organization do you make lasting friendships with members across the country, have access to top notch professional development and business advice for free, and share satisfying work that pays well? If you are a professional freelance writer in Canada and you are not a member of PWAC, you’re missing out on opportunities one way or another. I joined to add credibility to my business. I stayed because of the multitude of personal and professional rewards that I receive each year as a result of my PWAC Toronto membership. It really is a $20-per-month no-brainer.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Virginia, for cutting to the chase as you always do. PWAC membership is indeed a no-brainer for anyone who is a freelance writer in Canada.

  7. So glad to see this post, Doreen. You know, you were the first person who came over and welcomed me, at the first PWAC-AGM I attended several years back. And I’m still talking about the great AGM and conference you hosted for us in Winnipeg. I have PWAC to thank for helping me grow my business, and you to thank for helping me establish a chapter here in Saskatchewan with your workshop on becoming a freelance writer. Many PWAC colleagues have become trusted friends over the years, because of the collegial attitude the organization fosters in all of us – thanks to members like you!
    Marie Powell recently posted…Volunteering? “Before you say yes…” (Review)My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Oh, Marie! You are too kind. But seriously, thanks for the very lovely sentiments.

      To me, that is what PWAC is all about. A welcoming, encouraging environment that nurtures us and helps us to succeed, all while having fun and enjoying the camaraderie of lasting friendships.

      In all the organizations I belong to, and there are quite a few … PWAC provides the very special environment that helps us ALL succeed and help one another. YOU ROCK!

  8. I honestly don’t think I’d be writing without PWAC. I first attended a magazine writing workshop put on by Atlantic PWAC members back in 1997 and learnt enough at that one workshop to pitch and sell my first magazine article. I joined shortly after that and PWAC has been with me every step of the way, both professionally and socially. I feel they helped short circuit the learning curve and the friends I’ve made at PWAC AGMs and Atlantic Canadian events have been invaluable. I’m a very shy person, but it’s a lot easier to enter a crowded room when you know there’s a pwac buddy or two or more in the crowd.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Kate. And for joining PWAC. You have been and continue to be an awesome member, by volunteering on the local front and previously serving as the Regional Director for the Atlantic Region. PWAC needs more members like you!

      If we all stepped up to the plate and helped volunteer in some way … any way, it would be a tremendous help to the organization. We’re in the midst of a membership building campaign right now, so hopefully, some potential members will see our comments and join. And maybe. Just maybe … some former members will find their way back to us as well. 18 months membership for the price of 12 months. And all the benefits you and others have mentioned. Interesting that we both came to PWAC in 1997. How time flies!

  9. Paul Lima says:

    I can no longer remember how long I’ve been a PWAC member, but it’s been a great to be a member – for professional, commercial and social reasons.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Paul, and thanks for joining the conversation.

      I joined PWAC in 1997 and still love it.

      I like how you’ve defined the 3 distinct areas from which we can gain benefit from mbrshp. Professional, by way of PD and honing our writing skills through assistance from fellow members. Commercial, by way of getting new clients (either fellow members who wish to engage our services or outside clients who have found us via writers.ca). And social. I’ve made so many amazing friends thru PWAC.

      Great having you as a member. Your giving nature is evident via the listservs and appreciated by all.

  10. Doreen — we met in the LinkedIn Bloggers Group and while many bloggers join few actually take the time to comment. You are one of them who has joined our little circle of bloggers who support each other with comments. So I thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I do agree with you that we’ve got to start going “offline” more and networking face-to-face. I have many online friends I’ve never met yet feel very close to. But there is nothing like sitting across the table from someone and talking over a cup of coffee.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Make Employees Happy by Nurturing Their Social NetworksMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for the sincere comment, Jeannette. It’s always great to hear from you.

      The great thing about the internet is that it opens doors to new alliances and friendships that may not otherwise occur. The key is to capitalize on those connections and try bringing them into the “real” world.


  11. I had no idea you were a Canadian, that is so cool. Well, I certainly hope this new venture works out for you and all involved. I always say that the best work is the work done in community.
    Dennis Salvatier recently posted…7 Phrases Graphic Designers Hate to HearMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Dennis. Yep. Canadian thru and thru. I love to travel and experience other cultures, but Canada has always been, and likely will always continue to be my home.

  12. Harrison says:

    Hi Doreen, glad to read this post. Always up to branch out and learn more about the freelance writing community.

    As well, your title on gratitude, made me reflect on all the people in my life who have helped, supported me, and have even gone out of their way to provide advice and career opportunities. I think, if I never met them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. And for that, I’m so grateful today!

    Thanks for sharing! – Harrison
    Harrison recently posted…On Being a Transient WandererMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for joining us here on the blog, Harrison.

      Yes, it’s really important to step back and take stock of where we are and how we got there, and to ensure we’ve thanked the appropriate people. Too often, we get caught up in the process, and forget how we got there.

      Hope you’ll join the discussion here again soon.

  13. Hi Doreen,
    You make an excellent point about networking in person as well as online. That’s something that I’ve been neglecting lately and I miss it. Have fun at the “Big Smoke”. I look forward to reading a post that’s inspired by it.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…4 Simple Steps to Building Your Brand OnlineMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Sherryl. Our meetings are going well and it reinforces for me how important in-person networking and collaboration can be.

  14. Lanre says:

    It’s good to know that there are actually organisations that support freelance writers. I really don’t know of any in this part of the world but I’ll find that out.

    82 comments is a really big accomplishment and I wonder when I’ll get that on my blog. A simple “thank you” can open doors in even the most tough situations and I guess your grateful character is worth emulating. Thank you for saying thank you to we, your commenters and you’re welcome.
    Lanre recently posted…Are You Nurturing Your Production Capability?My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Lanre! I always enjoy your comments. Keep blogging. You’ve got a lot of worthwhile insights to share. I’ll try and visit your blog again soon.

  15. Roberta Budvietas says:

    Well now I have learned something new. I was not aware of either group when we were in Canada but I guess at the end of the day, my husband nor I were writing at the time we lived in Canada.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Roberta: Nice to have you join us here on the blog.

      Looks like you’re in New Zealand now! That’s certainly on my list of places I’d like to visit. Got any good chocolate?

    • Roberta Budvietas says:

      All dairy tastes different in NZ and while we import chocolate, the chocolate ice cream tastes wonderful. Let me know when you are coming this way.

      • WizardOfWords says:

        Terrific! Let’s keep in touch, Roberta. My trip will be based on obtaining sponsorships. Probably not this year.

  16. Hey Doreen!
    I really enjoyed the time I spent with PWAC, even if the accountant in me wouldn’t spring for another year’s dues. I wrote about the advantages here: http://dtrasler.com/2010/07/19/the-anti-social-life-of-a-writer/ and am still in touch with many of the PWAC peeps I met. For genuine freelancers it’s easily worth joining. For dillettentes and oddballs like me, maybe you need to look at what you’re doing first!

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Damian. Yes, I’m grateful we’ve made friends thru PWAC, and who knows … one day you’ll find your way back as a member. In the meantime, it’s great keeping in touch. I’ll read your blog tomorrow when I’m fresh. Right now, it’s off to bed!

  17. I’ve been a PWAC member for almost six years, but only active in the organization for the past two years. One of the greatest benefits of PWAC is the rejuvenation I feel about my career after sitting with a group of PWAC members. Regardless of whether it’s a Vancouver networking event, a local dinner with other PWACers or a PWAC Board of Directors meeting, I always come away from the meetings feeling uplifted and encouraged about my decision to be a freelancer. I’ve met some amazing people through PWAC and I’ve had the opportunity to give back to the freelance community, which I might not have done without PWAC.
    Heidi Turner recently posted…The Joys of Imagination (or, When Two Heidi Turners Collide)My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for joining the discussion, Heidi.

      Yes, I think the only way to truly become enveloped in the heart and soul of an organization is to serve it. It’s amazing how much you learn and how much you take away in the process of giving back!

      It’s wonderful to have you on the PWAC board. See you soon!

  18. Kathe says:

    It is not an overstatement to say that PWAC has been central to my life for the past nearly 30 years, ever since I went freelance (at the age of three). I’ve done three stints on the Board at approximately 10-year intervals and seen up close what’s involved in running a national organization made up of fierce individualists from coast to coast. Freelancing is an inherently solitary way to earn a living. I don’t think I’d still be doing it if it weren’t for the camaraderie and networking I’ve found in PWAC. (Not to mention the amazing friends I’ve made through PWAC.) We’re not perfect, and there may be some things we do or don’t do that don’t resonate with every member, but this is an extraordinary group.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Kathe. I completely echo your sentiments. Perhaps we should change the name of PWAC to “Passionate Writers of Canada?” PWAC is definitely filled with passionate souls who manage to make a living from their craft while enjoying life. So glad to have found the unique culture we have created within this assn and to have made many wonderful friends as a result of it. (Present company definitely included.)

  19. Dorothy says:

    Hi Doreen: Again, an interesting topic. As you know, I’m a former PWAC member and Board Member. I surrendered my membership with the organization after the Altitude debacle. Previously, a strong PWAC supporter, my feeling was that PWAC let us freelancers down at that time. I’m now with the CFU (Canadian Freelance Union) and find they do an exceptional job on behalf of freelancers.

    That’s my response to “why I have left us”.

    Best wishes,


    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Dorothy:
      Thanks so much for your comment.

      I, too, am a strong believer in the CFU and what it stands for and am a member there.

      But I think the good at PWAC far outweighs the bad. As with any organization, it can’t do all things well at all times. I think there are many who feel that PWAC has really helped them with difficult clients and in difficult situations. I’m sorry the Altitude Publishing situation was not handled by PWAC to your satisfaction and I’m glad you’re participating in this conversation. I hope that overall, it will be a positive one.

  20. WizardOfWords says:

    Thanks so much for linking to my blog. Yes, we’ve had a terrific discussion on how PWAC has helped us and overall, the discussion has been extremely positive. I wish your chapter good luck in the membership building campaign. There’s never been a better time to join!

  1. February 22, 2012

    […] and non-members alike might want to take a look at PWAC member Doreen Pendgracs’s blog. She has a particular perspective on the writing life and how PWAC fits in and has been part of her […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge