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Being a digital nomad: Or how to edit from the beach

Beach editing

Photo by Rachel Stuckey

By Rachel Stuckey

I’m a digital nomad. For years I’ve told anyone who asked that I was a writer and editor (even though editing pays most of my bills). But lately, the way I work has been more interesting than the work I actually do.

But I’m still getting used to saying “I’m a digital nomad” (and sometimes, I confess, I often use air quotes when I do say it). I know what “digital nomad” conjures up: visions of twenty-somethings with no job prospects and an unnatural attachment to their smartphones.

Air quotes aside, such visions are really just the surface of this cultural phenomenon. (And thanks to Insta-influencers and click-bait web content, that surface seems both beautiful and vacuous). But there are plenty of Gen Xers, Xennials, and even grown-up millennials doing marvellous and fascinating things on the road.

I’d like to think I’m one of the grown-up digital nomads. For the last several years, I’ve been seeking out new temporary homes for me and my editorial services business, sometimes spending months in one place and sometimes changing it up every few weeks.

In 2012, I was a burned-out freelancer looking for adventure. After months of preparation, I headed out on a trip around the world, with stops in Thailand, China, Cambodia, India, the UAE, Spain, France, Italy, and the UK before coming home nine months later. Everyone thought that might be it, adventure had.

But I wasn’t ready to settle back into the same old same old. And I’ve been on the move ever since, spending some months each year in Toronto and the rest of my time in Europe, South and Central America, Thailand, and Vietnam. In 2018, I’m returning to Thailand, and then on to Southern Africa.

This wanderlust may have begun as therapy for my tertiary life crisis. But over the last five years of living and working abroad and living and working in Toronto, I’ve realized that there is a strong economic argument for tackling our gig economy as a nomad. After several months living at home in TO again, my pocketbook is itching to get the heck out of Dodge! (Also, winter is coming, and I hate wearing socks and shoes.) (more…)

Editor for Life: Rehana Begg, editor of Machinery and Equipment MRO magazine and REM—Resource Engineering & Maintenance, Annex Business Media

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Rehanna Begg

 

Rehana, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

A couple of decades ago, an internship turned into my first paying job as an editorial assistant at Homemakers Magazine, a women’s lifestyle magazine. I had the pleasure of working with a group of brilliant women who inspired me to change course from being an aspiring news reporter to pursuing a career in magazine editing. I stayed on that course for about 10 years, working at Canadian Home Workshop and launching a freelance writer/editor career. As a freelancer, I was able to peddle my magazine journalism skills all the way to Cape Town, South Africa, where a stint at Best Life, a men’s lifestyle publication, allowed me to interview sources from the sandy beaches of Llandudno. The freelance experience strengthened my belief that journalism nurtures an insatiable curiosity and clued me into what I wanted to focus on in the next leg of my career. When I returned to Toronto in 2008, I decided to pursue a master of journalism degree as a way to foster my interest in business-to-business (B2B) publishing. But the program did not offer business reporting at the time and I had to find a role that would give me hands-on experience. I accepted a contract role as the editor at Benefits Canada, a B2B publication formerly owned by Rogers Media, which was an excellent inroad into the world of finance and institutional investments. From there, I was offered an opportunity at Annex Business Media, where I would edit a couple of maintenance and engineering publications. My role at Annex has been more of a content manager than magazine editor because my multi-platform portfolio includes managing the content of two magazines, two websites, and newsletters, as well as developing events such as webinars, round tables, and video production. It’s a busy desk, but I have still managed to complete an MBA with a project management specialization in my spare time. Staying relevant has been pivotal in ensuring personal satisfaction and career longevity in today’s content farm environment. (more…)

Editor for Life: Kerry Clare, editor of 49th Shelf, author, writing and blogging instructor, freelance writer and editor

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Kerry Clare

Kerry, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

My true confession is that I don’t feel totally comfortable identifying as an editor—I’m not very good at it. I learned this when I edited the essay anthology, The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood, which was published in 2014. I was very effective at coming up with a vision for the book, for conceptualizing it, coordinating the writers and the project as a whole. But when the time came for the nitty-gritty editing work, I realized that I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully my publisher, Goose Lane Editions, enlisted their fiction editor, Bethany Gibson, to come on board, and it’s from watching her work that I learned that editing is truly a vocation. She had such an awesome sense of the shape of the book and how its pieces fit together, and also a spectacular talent for diplomacy, which is an essential part of the job.

Since 2011, I’ve been the editor at 49thShelf.com, a huge and wonderful Canadian books website, where my tasks involve those that “editor” has grown to comprise in the digital world and helping to envision the site’s focus. I’ve been similarly fortunate to work with an excellent editor who makes me look legit. My colleague, Kiley Turner—nominally the site’s managing editor, among many other hats she wears—has taught me everything I know about style, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and being detail-oriented. Unfortunately for her, I forget a lot, and she has to tell me over and over again.

While I might fall down in the grammar department, I’m very good at other parts of my job, including staying on top of the hundreds of Canadian-authored books released each month and choosing which ones to feature on our site. Right now I am going through spring 2018 books to find noteworthy titles to feature in our spring preview. I write blog posts and create reading lists to draw interesting connections between different books and find different ways to spotlight titles and catch readers’ interest. I love that reading books is officially part of my job, and that I get to work with authors to help spread the word about their books. This isn’t a job that existed back when I was dreaming up my future, and my younger self would not be able to fathom it. Quite frankly, I still can’t quite fathom it.

My office is my kitchen table at my apartment in downtown Toronto, and I work while my children are at school. (more…)

Webinar: Copy editing live!

Try your hand at copy editing a short text provided in advance, then see how a seasoned editor works through it with lively and informative running commentary: explaining the edits, discussing alternative possibilities, pointing out how the editing tasks relate to the Editors Canada standards for copy editing, and recommending resources for further study.

Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions and will receive a copy of the professionally edited exercise with changes tracked.

Webinars:

  • Trade book excerpt
  • Academic article excerpt
  • Educational materials excerpt (elementary-school level)

Participants will get a chance to do the one thing that beginning editors need most: practise, with feedback from an experienced editor.

The idea is to recreate the experience of taking up an assignment in the final class of an editing course.

As a result of attending this session, attendees will be able to

  • apply their intermediate editing skills with more confidence
  • identify some strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in their editing
  • recognize some conventions of copy editing in particular genre of text

It is recommended that you have some knowledge of copy editing before taking this webinar—enough to know

  • how copy editing differs from stylistic editing and proofreading;
  • how to make a style sheet; and
  • how to write an author query.

Presenter: Elizabeth d’Anjou
Date: Mondays, January 15, 22 and 29
Time: 12 p.m., EST / 9 a.m., PST
Length: Three sessions of 1.5 hours each
Language: English
Level: Introductory
Member price: $178.50
Non-member price: $255.00
Register HERE

elizabeth-danjou
In over 20 years as a freelance editor, Elizabeth d’Anjou has edited trade books, textbooks, academic articles, memoirs, government reports, games, and more. She teaches copy editing for Ryerson University and presents communications workshops across Canada. Follow her on Twitter: @ElizdAnjou

Thank you to our volunteers!

Editors Toronto is part of a national professional association run by and for its members. Everything you see, read, and attend is organized and co-ordinated by volunteers. As editor-in-chief of BoldFace, I want to acknowledge all the volunteers who have contributed their skills, time, and talent to helping me make this blog an interesting, informative, fun place for readers. And thanks to everyone who helped at events and brought their expertise to bear. The executive committee and I thank you for making 2017 such a great year, and we look forward to working with all of you again in 2018!

BoldFace copy editors and writers

Christine Albert (copy editing, writing)
Joe Cotterchio-Milligan (copy editing)
Ellen Fleischer (copy editing)
Jennifer D. Foster (writing)
James Harbeck (writing)
Deepi Harish (writing)
Emma Warnken Johnson (writing)
Karen Kemlo (copy editing)
Afara Kimkeran (copy editing)
Ambrose Li (copy editing)
Shara Love (writing)
Jaye Marsh (copy editing, writing)
Tom Nicholls (copy editing)
Nicole North (copy editing)
Jeny Nussey (copy editing)
Berna Ozunal (writing)
Olga Sushinsky (copy editing)
Alethea Spiridon (writing)
Rachel Stuckey (writing)
Ana Trask (copy editing)
Jessica Trudel (writing)
Michelle Waitzman (writing)
Avivah Wargon (writing)
Vanessa Wells (copy editing)

BoldFace editors for life

Stephanie Fysh
Patrick Geraghty
Greg Ioannou
Marnie Lamb
Jeanne McKane
Wilf Popoff
Sara Scharf
Sally Sparrow
Suzanne Sutherland
Heather J. Wood

Branch meeting helpers

Nadia Aftab
Mel Bender
Marina Demetriou
Adrineh Der-Boghossian
Sue Gargiulo
Aquin George
Raya P. Morrison
Danielle Putinja
Erika Westman
Michelle Waitzman

Branch-meetings panellists

Jennifer Albert (non-member)
Carolyn Camilleri
Donovan Dill (non-member)
Jennifer D. Foster
Jayne S. Huhtanen (non-member)
Anne-Marie Jackson (non-member)
Marnie Lamb
Jeanne McKane
Nicole Roccas
Andrew Tolson (non-member)
Katie Underwood (non-member)

The Word On The Street helpers

Ruth Chernia
Catherine Dorton
Kerry Fast
Jennifer D. Foster
Ellen Keeble
Bob Kennedy
Deven Knill
Robin Marwick

Taming time

Lion tamer

A lion tamer at Bertram Mills Touring Circus, Ascot/Edward G Malindine/
Collection of National Media Museum/ CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION-NONCOMMERCIAL-SHAREALIKE (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

By Jaye Marsh

Time management was a popular topic to start off the year for Editors Toronto branch meetings.

A full house of approximately 40 people greeted the guest panellists at our new venue. Thanks to Greg Ioannou, lifetime member of Editors Canada, the Toronto branch now meets at the Centre for Social Innovation, a lovely multimedia-capable space on Spadina Avenue near Queen Street West.

The evening’s program, held on September 26, was about “Time-management for busy editors.” Program chair Lee Parpart invited four panellists: Jennifer D. Foster, Jeanne McKane, Dr. Nicole Lyon Roccas, and Jayne S. Huhtanen.

Jennifer gave us a list of practical tips and guiding principles that work for her: knowing your needs, discipline, attitude, and creating the right space in which to work. She reviewed her unsuccessful experience with the Pomodoro technique (setting tasks and using timers); making lists; using a hard-copy calendar; the importance of checklists to relieve the memory banks; taking regular breaks; exercising; setting rewards; and learning to say no. At the end, Jennifer stressed the importance of surrounding herself with positive, kind people who are supportive and respectful of her and her work. The end result? A favourable effect on productivity, motivation, and efficiency. (more…)

Editor for Life: Jeanne McKane, freelance editor, co-chair of the Editors Canada Certification Steering Committee, and 2017 recipient of the Lee d’Anjou Volunteer of the Year award

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Jeanne McKane

Jeanne, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I have been an editor for 21 years (gulp), and a freelancer for 16 of those (whoa). My first-ever paid work in editing was as a proofreader for a small company that publishes travel trade magazines. It was spectacular training ground: an endless supply of proofreading, and a production manager who wanted an apprentice, so I was able to learn a great deal about print production. From there, I worked in publications at the Canadian Diabetes Association, and when another staff member left, I suddenly became managing editor of their medical journal! I didn’t know much about the world of journal publishing, so it was a real trial by fire, but that job turned into another job in medical editing, which led to a freelance career specializing in medical and science editing, and I absolutely love it. Now I work with government, non-profit organizations, journal publishers, corporations and individual authors to improve the quality of science communication. My favourite thing is to help people prepare their journal articles for publication, particularly people whose first language is not English. Sort of an odd career path for someone who studied English, Celtic Studies, and Scottish Literature, but you never know where life will take you!

My work in science editing got me very interested in certification, because I work so much with doctors, nurses, and people in other regulated professions. Early in my career, I was very glad to find the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, which runs a certification program for science editors, so I took their exam as soon as I was eligible. Not long after that, Editors Canada launched its certification program, and I jumped at the chance to do that, too. I have appreciated the chance to test my editorial skills against the standards set by two national-level organizations. As well, both certifications have been really valuable in my everyday work: they allow me to present myself to clients as a specialist in another field, which creates a very different working relationship. (more…)

Join us for holiday cheer!

Happy Holidays

The chill in the air says it’s that time of year! Let’s get together for some holiday cheer.

 

What better way to celebrate the holidays and the end of 2017 than by swapping stories and sharing some laughs with your colleagues? Seize this opportunity to relax and review the year among friends. Members are welcome to bring a guest.

 

Where: The Pickle Barrel, 312 Yonge St. (Yonge and Dundas)

When: Tuesday, December 12, 2017, at 6:30 PM

 

Attendees pay for their own dinner and drinks.

 

RSVP by December 10, 2017.

 

Note: The Pickle Barrel is fully accessible, has a varied menu to accommodate food preferences, and validates parking. 

 

For elevators: Enter through The Atrium doors (just north of The Pickle Barrel entrance on Yonge Street).