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December 2012 Holiday Party: Time to Recollect the Lessons Learned from CWIP

The CWIP holiday party on December 13 at Matilda's was filled with fun, laughter, and a lot of holiday gift baskets. As 2013 marks CWIP's 40th anniversary, this seemed like a perfect time of year to ask party-goers what CWIP has meant to them. The answers show how much members appreciate CWIP, its monthly events, and the chance to network and socialize. Both long-time members and new members were effusive in their testimonials.

Happy Anniversary, CWIP! Here's to another 40 more years!

What I've Learned from CWIP

I've learned a lot from CWIP over the past 24 years (with some gaps between the years). Most of what I know about beginning and continuing to freelance in writing and editing I obtained from my first mentor in freelancing: former CWIP president Jane Crouse! There have been many memories—the first CWIP party I attended on a boat on the Chicago River, to last year's summer planning meeting, to so much else. —Barbara Hughett

I've only been a CWIP member since July 2012, but have already benefitted a lot from being a part of the group. My favorite experience has been reporting on the “Linked In Strategies” in October. After the event, I had a chance to individually interview Gail Sussman-Miller and Lauren Mulligan [presenters at the event]. My interview with Gail morphed into her coaching me—no surprise! It comes as part of her nature. Anyway, besides getting another writing clip under my belt, I got to chat extensively with two amazing women and learn a lot about Linked In that I have since implemented. —Liuan Huska


CWIP has been a tremendous resource for me as I made my way into the Chicago publishing community. One of the most helpful things was when I wrote an article on the “Evening with Erica O'Rourke” event last spring. Erica's presentation was informative and entertaining, and I learned so much about how traditional publishing works. The knowledge I gained that night has been helpful as I work with authors who are considering a book deal. —Kim Bookless

CWIP's monthly programs are an invaluable resource for learning how to market myself as well as how to keep up with current publishing events. I always leave with at least one piece of information that I couldn't have gotten elsewhere. —Jill Wester


A favorite CWIP memory is seeing familiar faces at each monthly meeting after joining CWIP. Each month that I attend a meeting I meet two or three new friends, and they've become a wonderful support system for me over the three years of my membership. And as a new board member, I have learned to be patient with our “written agendas” because the club's history has so much more activity underway than could ever be explained in one board meeting's agenda. —Amber McLean

I have learned that CWIP is an invaluable organization for learning, growing, and networking within the writing and editing field. As a new member, I'm thrilled and excited for future programs and opportunities that will help me grow professionally. —Tara Quigley


I really appreciate the opportunity to network and socialize, especially now that I'm a full-time freelancer and work from home. I also love to talk with CWIP members and learn from their experiences. —Sarah Roggio

CWIP has had some amazing programs. I've learned a lot about the changing industry and [I like] the chance to network. —Rachel Winokur

I always look forward to CWIP because I never know what each event will bring. I've made so many lasting connections at CWIP professionally, but more importantly personally. I recommend CWIP to all my colleagues so they might have as great an experience as I've had. —Melanie Barthelme


In 1998, as I ventured forth into the uncharted professional territory of textbook editing with a small Chicago-based educational (and religious trade book) publisher, I had the good fortune to be unofficially mentored by two outstanding colleagues. When I solicited their advice on how I could learn tips and techniques to improve my craft as an editor, one of those mentors suggested that I look into CWIP, as she found the group to be useful as she embarked upon her career. I did. And I've been loving the journey ever since. At every stage of my word-nerd career—from editing to journalism, to health care marketing, to marketing communications, I have benefitted greatly from the industry insights and contacts I have acquired through my membership with CWIP. This is an outstanding organization! It delivers so much value; it is a game-changer for one's professional development in publishing. And I am ecstatic to come full circle and give the guidance and camaraderie to newcomers as it was offered to me so many moons ago. (Raising wine glass.) Happy Birthday, CWIP! I am so grateful for your presence in my life. —Anna Applegate

CWIP is great for networking. Thanks to CWIP, I am now in my 15th month of a “3-week” freelance gig, thanks to another CWIP member recommending me. Recently I applied and tested for an ongoing remote job, but during the phone interview with the managing editor we realized that I was not the appropriate editor for this job (too much science and math). However, I was able to pass this information along to two other CWIP members who I know have this background. CWIP networking really works. —Lila M. Stromer

Lila M. Stromer is the CWIP web editor and is currently leading the project to redesign the website. She became a full-time freelancer after spending six years as the managing editor of an academic journal. She has past experience as a literary manager and dramaturg at various theaters, and has edited for nonprofit organizations. Along with editing, she is also a photographer, and some of her photography has been seen in a number of Event articles. and

Lynn Haller is a freelance literary agent, self-publishing consultant, writer, and editor. Her photos have been featured on Gapers Block and on the websites for Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Reader, as well as on several calendars. She can be reached at

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