Editors Canada Conference Highlights

The Editors Canada 2016 conference in Vancouver (A Correction Connection) was my second Editors Canada conference. The first was 2015’s excellent international conference, held in Toronto. This conference was smaller and so it had a more intimate feeling. But it wasn’t too small—I also met a lot of new people and caught up with some of the editors I met last year.

A standout of the conference for me was the conference buddies program. Kitty Elton did a wonderful job of organizing the whole thing and acting as the leader for my group. Somehow she unobtrusively kept track of everyone and knew just when we wanted to be pointed in the direction of other buddies.

Both the opening (Mary Norris) and closing (Bill Walsh) keynotes were fantastic, funny and thought-provoking in turn. I loved Mary’s “comma shaker.” And Bill gave us this test for deciding whether to insist on usage that’s correct, but may be confusing to many people—ask yourself, “How ridiculous would it look to keep enforcing a more established rule?” (One example: enforcing the correct use of “comprised.”)

Ok, the sessions: all of the sessions I chose to go to were as advertised and were very worthwhile. Here are a few highlights. In Ann Carlsen’s session, I learned that when you purchase a piece of art, you don’t automatically obtain all of the rights to it and you can’t do whatever you like with it (“Copyright Law for Editors”)! Daniel Heuman introduced some very promising free productivity tools that I plan to investigate further (“It’s Not Me, It’s You: Improving Your Relationship With Your Computer”). My inbox is actually cleaner after implementing some of the strategies offered in Luigi Benetton’s “Inbox Zero: Roadmap to a Calmer Mind.” And Laura Poole presented many tips for surviving and thriving in a freelance career in her session “Breaking the Feast or Famine Cycle”. She encouraged us to view “life balance” not as having it all, but figuring out what you want and deserve—and what you should probably say “no” to.

After being eminently practical in my choice of sessions, I decided to take in the debate entitled “Is It Time to Kill the Apostrophe?” Both James Harbeck and Elizabeth D’Anjou put up spirited and hilarious defenses of their positions: for and against, respectively, the abolition of the apostrophe. Attendees got in on the debate and, in the end, voted to keep the apostrophe alive (disaster averted!).

Not a bad way to spend a weekend, hanging out in a beautiful city and learning about so many fascinating topics. And all this surrounded by other editors, who always inspire me with their collegiality.

Sylvia Siemens

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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Summer Break

What a difference a year makes!

Almost a year ago, two dozen Calgary editors gathered in the upper lounge of Raw Bar on a warm evening in late June. It was a chance to eat, drink and mingle with local editors. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the newly formed Editors Calgary twig and discuss the needs and wants of twig members. While it was a casual affair, the room seemed abuzz. Conversations flowed easily and the general consensus seemed to be that the time was ripe for a local group of Editors Canada, open to both members and non-members, as a place to share tips and commiserate with other editors, in addition to offering one or two workshops a year.

Fast forward to June 28, 2016, the date selected for the first Editors Calgary AGM, at the Old Y. The plan: to go over the year’s successes (which included one half-day workshop on style sheets, one full-day workshop on grammar and a few more socials) and plan for the next year. But despite the promise of 10 or so RSVPs, I found myself sitting in an empty room with my co-chair Chrissie Mains. After waiting for about 30 minutes, Chrissie and I walked over to Raw Bar for the second part of the evening’s festivities, uncertain whether other editors would show.

It turned out to be a lovely evening in the end, with six members sitting down to enjoy a selection of hors-d’oeuvres and beverages, courtesy of Editors Calgary. It was a far cry from the buzz of a year ago, but the evening was yet another lovely opportunity to catch up with existing editing friends and make new ones.

But the lukewarm turnout at these events has left us wondering whether the twig is meeting the needs of its members (of which at present we have more than 50, according to Editors Canada). We have surveyed our group, we have offered events in different parts of the city and on different nights of the week, we have tried making the Old Y our home base, but so far, turnout has been very low. We’d love to repeat the success of one year ago, to become a hub for Calgary-area editors to share conversations both social and professional. But perhaps that’s not what you need from Editors Canada.

We’ve cancelled our room booking for July and August and will take a break over the summer. We’ll still check email, so please do send your comments and questions and suggestions. And we’d love to add guest posts to the blog, if you want to send something along. We’ll keep the Twitter feed active also. But we won’t arrange social gatherings or workshops until the fall, when we’ll hold a social gathering in September and a professional development workshop in October.  And at that time, we’ll also be asking for volunteers who’d like to step up and get more involved in the behind-the-scenes work, such as running the Twitter account and/or blog or organizing a workshop.

Have a lovely summer, and Happy Stampeding!

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Courtesy Wikimedia Commons