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Prize-winner learns value of mentors

By Deborah Joy Innes

I was the very lucky winner of two (yes, two!) raffle prizes at the Editors Toronto meeting in September.

The first was the book The New Vine by author Robert Marrone. There were two authors present that night (Robert Marrone and Trevor Cole), along with their editors, speaking about the author-editor relationship.

The second was the last prize of the evening: a one-hour mentoring session with Jennifer D. Foster—editor, writer, mentor, co-chair of Editors Toronto, and administrative director of Rowers Reading Series.

Embarrassed as I was to have won two prizes, the timing of the mentoring session was perfect. (The book set in Italy was also very good.) I’d recently lost my job after 10 years as an in-house copy editor, proofreader, and writer in a legal marketing and communications department. I was now in the process of setting up my freelance copy-editing business. I had many questions.

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Editing the work of English language learners in higher education

By Summer Cowley

Two laptops open side by side facing right. Stack of papers in between them. A set of hands holding a pen pointing at the papers while another hand (belonging to another person) is also holding a pen pointed at the stack of papers. Image implies one person teaching or reviewing material with another person.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

As classes in universities and colleges move forward, we ought to consider the process of editing the writing of post-secondary students. For me, this has largely meant checking the work of English language learners (ELLs). In my work as a writing centre tutor and as an English as a second language (ESL) instructor at four higher education institutions in Canada, I have noted two common pieces of advice given by instructors to ESL students and three higher-level concerns that editors might consider. ELLs are generally advised to use spelling and grammar software and to have their written work proofread by native English (L1) speakers/writers. For editors, a few higher-level questions may arise concerning the development of a writer’s voice, the question of how much editing is too much, and how editing for ELLs requires an approach different from editing for other groups. Below, I discuss how we might approach these issues when working with ELLs at post-secondary institutions.

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Book Review: The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai

The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai book cover

By Jaye Marsh

In general, North Americans are stressed, overweight, stuck to our desks, and disconnected from the world we live in. With The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai attempts to help us address these issues by offering tools, including online resources and email support, to “hack” a more balanced lifestyle.

I really wanted to like this book, but it was a challenge. The writing style is the culprit here, not the content. I was pulled out of the messaging, and the information to be gleaned here, too many times not to mention it.

The Urban Monk reads as if the publishers are Millennials/Generation Y or whatever generalization is currently en vogue. Our supposed readers are the ever-taxed and ever-busy 30- to 45-year-olds replete with children, mid-career angst, mortgages, housing problems, and stuff problems, and are in need of a current version of Zen to help them find a way to sanity that allows for who they are rather than completely. To that end, this book has its place, but it ignores a huge segment of depleted populace in need of help: those who don’t live an urban lifestyle. None of the case studies offered in the book take place in non-traditional settings like freelancing, consider people juggling multiple jobs, or explore those facing financial struggles.

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Book Review: The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People by Pedram Shojai

Art of Stopping Time

By Emma Warnken Johnson

Mindfulness is everywhere these days. There seems to be an endless supply of books, articles, and apps touting its benefits. The practices vary, but they all seek to focus the mind on the present moment, shedding distractions and helping us appreciate the little things in our lives. I’ve been meaning to try mindfulness for quite some time, but never seem to be able to fit it into my busy schedule.

This makes The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People a timely book for me, and I suspect it will be for a lot of other busy editors too. Taoist monk and Qi Gong master Pedram Shojai adapts the 100-day Gong—a traditional Taoist practice—to create a mindfulness routine that can fit into a busy schedule. The book is divided into 100 short chapters, and each one describes a brief daily activity that promotes mindfulness and a healthier relationship to the way we think about and spend our time.

The activities vary widely. Readers are asked to do some breathing exercises, to stretch and relax their muscles, and to eat a meal without the distraction of other activities (like watching TV). Some days include simple activities designed to give your mind a short break, like going for a walk, taking a bath, or making a cup of tea—and several of these seem tailor-made for an editor who takes regular breaks to improve productivity. Other days are more reflective, asking you to think about how you spend their time and review your priorities. Reading through the activities, I found several that I thought I would enjoy and could easily integrate into my daily schedule. (more…)

An evening with Michael Redhill and Martha Kanya-Forstner

By Joanne Haskins

Editors Toronto hosted a special branch meeting in January, when acclaimed author Michael Redhill took the stage with his editor, Martha Kanya-Forstner, to discuss the writing and editing of Bellevue Square, the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner.

Redhill’s novels include Consolation (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and Martin Sloane (a finalist for the Giller Prize). He has written a novel for young adults, four collections of poetry and two plays. Redhill also writes a series of crime novels under the name Inger Ash Wolfe and is an editor and Editors Canada member. Kanya-Forstner is editor-in-chief for both Doubleday Canada and McClelland & Stewart. Along with Redhill’s prizewinner, she’s edited David Chariandy’s novel Brother, which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

There were few empty seats and the audience of writers, writing students and editors anticipated an enlightening discussion as two of the most highly regarded figures in Canadian literature today promised to reveal the ins and outs of the editor-writer working relationship. The biggest takeaway of the evening for editors was “Ask questions.”

After introductions of both Redhill and Kanya-Forstner, each discussed their process as writer/writer-editor, and editor. The respect they had for each other was evident throughout the discussion as they listened carefully to one another, built upon each other’s responses, and focused on each other’s strengths and abilities to bring the best of the writer’s words to the page. (more…)

Joining Editors Canada forged my path!

By Ann Kennedy

I joined Editors Canada as a student affiliate looking for opportunities to network with “real live” editors. I was partway through the Editing Certificate program at George Brown College and already thinking past graduation. Three years on, I don’t remember my exact Google search term, but I was thrilled to discover that the 2015 Editors Canada conference—their first international one, no less—was taking place in Toronto. I’m an old hand at conference planning, having worked at the local NXNE Music Festival and Conference for nine years, so I jumped at the chance.

I had no qualms about joining the organization in order to volunteer with it. I recognized the enormous potential for meeting people who could definitely advise me in my new career. And the Editors Canada website promised all manner of other benefits to members, too.

I’m so glad I did.

Volunteering at the registration desk was the ideal way to learn who was who in the editing world. I quickly found out that editors are an extraordinarily friendly and supportive group. My Facebook friend list doubled after the conference!

I went on to volunteer at the Editors Toronto booth at Word On The Street and join a national committee. The student relations committee represents the interests of students and fledgling editors in the association. Our mandate is to raise awareness of the association in editing and journalism programs and grow Editors Canada membership through attracting new student affiliates.

I was also honoured to be asked to join a task force whose goal is to improve access to member services for people who live in remote areas or who cannot access Editors Canada services for other reasons, such as disability.

All of this activity has paid off! I’ve made some great friends and I’ve done two copy editing contracts that were referred to me by members I’d met through volunteering. I highly recommend both joining Editors Canada and volunteering. The more you give of your time and talents, the more you’ll get!

Ann Kennedy is dedicated to reviving the skills and importance of excellent spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax in the digital age. She specializes in biography and memoir, travel literature and plain language.

This article was copy edited by Ambrose Li .

 

Book Review: Boss Bitch by Nicole Lapin

Boss Bitch

(Crown, 2017)

By Alethea Spiridon

 

Nicole Lapin knows what she’s talking about. She’s a wildly successful career woman who has blazed a path for herself as both a businesswoman (launching the CASH Smartwatch) and as a news anchor for CNN and CNBC. A boss bitch is the “she-ro” of her own story, Lapin writes on page 1 of the book: “She is the heroine who doesn’t need saving because she has her own shit handled. I became a Boss Bitch by embracing being a ‘boss’ in all aspects of the word.”

 

That opening sets the tone and pace for this marvellous book that will no doubt empower women who need a nudge, or even an all-out kick in the butt, to take their career—and life—to the next level, and to be as successful as wanted and needed. Lapin’s tone is forthright and honest, and girlfriend to girlfriend, something she says at the outset is exactly how she intends it to be.

 

Her voice and approach make the content relatable and easy to digest; it’s like going for drinks with a great friend who has your back, but calls you out on your nonsense because all she wants is the best for you. Lapin has plenty of insights to share that can really help women get back on track or consider what track to finally take to become the Boss Bitch in their own lives.

 

Though the book promises a “12-Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career” it really isn’t a 12-step approach because not all steps will apply to all women. The steps are divided into three sections: Being the Boss of You, Being the Boss at Work, and Being the Boss of Your Own Business. This is the book’s only failing. Although many women will fall into one of these categories, it seemed as though there would be a 12-step outline you should follow to become a Boss Bitch. But no. This is a little misleading, but not enough to condemn the book as a whole. Boss Bitch contains hidden gems of advice given throughout and offers much valuable insight and advice for every woman at whatever stage of her career she is in.

 

One of the book’s best aspects is what Lapin calls the “Bottom Line”, offered at the end of each chapter, tackling a piece of conventional wisdom, then giving it her spin on the “Real Deal.” The real deal is her no sugar-coating take on the situation presented, and she shows how the conventional wisdom of the topic at hand may or may not be accurate. For example, one piece of conventional wisdom is that assertive women are overbearing. Her first response to this, her Real Deal reply? “Hell no.” These insights alone, as well as the Bitch Tips and Confessions of a Boss Bitch sprinkled throughout each chapter, are worth the price of the book alone.

 

She holds nothing back, from revealing her salary level along the course of her career, to personal anecdotes of failure, to how she got back up and learned from those experiences. Her strength of character and steadfastness in her desire to succeed is utterly infectious and is sure to inspire the women who take the time to invest in themselves by reading her book. Boss Bitch is a manifesto of sorts on how to achieve your best self and best life without compromising your values, ethics, and true desires.

Alethea Spiridon is a writer and editor in Southern Ontario. Her first book, Kissing Strangers: How to Online Date Like a Boss is out now and available on Amazon. [www.freelanceeditor.ca]

This article was copy edited by Nicole North.

Reporting back on new directions in self-publishing: A summary of challenges, opportunities and resources

Editors Toronto paired with PWAC Toronto Chapter to present a panel on self-publishing. The following post is from the PWAC Toronto Chapter blog,  Networds. Thanks to editor Suzanne Bowness for giving BoldFace permission to share the post.

by Suzanne Bowness

PWAC Toronto chapter president Karen Luttrell introduces the panel

If you’re one of the unfortunate PWAC members who couldn’t make it to the self-publishing panel held on March 27, which was co-organized by PWAC Toronto Chapter and Editors Toronto, you’re in luck: I took notes for you. It’s not quite the same as being there, but here are a few tips and images to give you a flavour of the event.

If there were a quote to summarize the evening, perhaps it was one of the first to be projected on the big screen in the University of Toronto (U of T) lecture hall, where we all gathered:

“Self-publishing used to be a scar; now it’s a tattoo.”

That’s from Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine: One Boy’s Journey through Boot Camp to Manhood. I forgot to take a picture, but the quote still sticks in my mind days later.

Helpful slide of panellists’ names!

If the evening had a theme, it was how much has changed in the world of self-publishing, even in the last five years. Seriously, most panellists said those exact words or similar.

Hosted by the Creative Writing program at the School of Continuing Studies, U of T, the panel consisted of four industry pros, who all did a great job of dividing this big topic into digestible sections, providing a helpful mix of new information and personal anecdotes, which allowed their talks to flow together nicely. You can read the panellists’ biographies here, in our original post advertising the event. (more…)