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

Vancouver_west_end.jpg
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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