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Post-script: Professional Editorial Standards in action

By Michelle Waitzman

Anyone who has considered (or completed) any of the Editors Canada certifications has probably reviewed Professional Editorial Standards (PES). But how were these standards developed, and what do they have to do with the day-to-day tasks of editors and proofreaders?

Editors Toronto’s November program looked at PES through the eyes of four editors, each working at a different career stage and/or in a different editing niche. The speakers made it clear that the standards involve much more than taking tests; they are a practical and evolving guide to professional editing, which editors can use in a variety of ways.

The program started with an overview and history of PES from experienced freelance editor and instructor Elizabeth d’Anjou. Editors Canada first began discussing the standards in the early 1980s, and Elizabeth’s mother was a member of the committee that first created the standards, so Elizabeth practically grew up with them!

One of Editors Canada’s early goals was to set up a certification program so that professional editors could be easily identified (and their work properly valued) by potential clients. But before the organization could create a test for editors, it first had to define what it was testing. They considered questions such as the following: What skills are important? What tasks should editors know how to do? What kind of industry knowledge should they be expected to have? PES was created to answer these types of questions—a task that took many years and involved a number of consultations with members. The standards were not only important for informing a certification program, they were also a key tool for Editors Canada to use to raise awareness about editing as a profession and to explain what editors do.

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So you want to be a medical editor?

By Olga Sushinsky

AMA Manual of StyleIf you’ve ever thought about pursuing a career in medical editing, you might want to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the industry. At first, it may appear daunting, but learning this craft is perfectly doable with a little help from print and online resources, such as medical dictionaries and industry-specific style guides. If you do come from a science background, the odds of success are in your favour, but if not, you can still master medical editing. Regardless of your level of expertise, it is important to have these resources on hand.

The American Medical Association’s AMA Manual of Style 

Most likely, you will be provided with log-in access to the AMA website when you rece­­ive a medical editing gig. However, it’s also a good idea to invest in a physical copy of the AMA Manual of Style if you plan to edit medical documents long-term. It is so much easier to look up the treatment of terms, grammar points, and other peculiarities of medical writing in the physical book. The price for the book is on the higher end, but this investment might be worthwhile if you hope to make a career in medical editing. If you cannot afford the book, you can still find a few free resources on medical editing online.  The School of Pharmacy at Concordia University Wisconsin provides a document on citing references according to AMA style.

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Professional Editorial Standards in Action (Part II)

Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.

 

Jennifer DinsmoreJennifer Dinsmore

What were your goals when you started your career and have you reached them?

When I first started this career and got my Creative Book Publishing certificate from Humber College, I definitely saw myself as an in-house editor. But the job market didn’t make that easy. I went on to complete an internship and bounced around a bit in related roles, the longest as a publicist/proofreader for a small academic publisher. I still wanted to focus on editing, so I started a freelance editorial business three years ago. Now, my goal is to help independent and self-publishing authors prepare their books for market or to query [literary] agents. When a client tells me how much I’ve helped them, I know I’ve been successful, but it’s something I strive toward all the time.

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Professional Editorial Standards in Action (Part I)

Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.

 

Amy BrownAmy Brown

What were your goals when you started your career and have you reached them?

I was looking for a career that I could develop on my own time, do from home, and be intellectually engaging. Editing absolutely fit the bill on all three counts! As I’ve matured as an editor, I have learned so much about communication, respect, and empathy.

If you could pick a new profession, what would you be and why?

Funny you should ask. As of this month, I am training to become a personal and business development coach. I wanted to keep the freedom and challenge of freelance editing and add more human contact; I’m perhaps too much of an extrovert to be a full-time editor!

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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…)