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by Alicja Minda
The first Editors Toronto program meeting of this year, which took place on January 28, 2020, was especially relevant to freelance editors. Guest speaker Michelle Waitzman, a non-fiction writer and editor with experience in TV production and corporate communications, talked about ways to evaluate new opportunities to move your career in your desired direction. Based on the standing-room-only session at the 2019 Editors Canada conference in Halifax (co-presented with Jess Shulman), her engaging presentation “Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?” quickly evolved into a lively discussion with active participation from the room.
Michelle tackled a dilemma familiar to many editors, namely, how to decide which job is worth taking, and which will only cause stress, financial difficulties, or make you miss out on a better opportunity. In her view, even budding editors should avoid the temptation of taking whatever comes along, as there are many things that can make a job worse than no job at all.
To make the decision-making less painful and time-consuming, Michelle presented a four-step process whereby you evaluate the offer based on your personalized checklists of (1) deal-breaking terms, (2) criteria the project must have, (3) things you’d rather not deal with, and (4) things that are nice to have. The important thing to remember is that these checklists should be revisited from time to time, as you evolve as an editor. Factors to weigh include compensation, time constraints, interest in the topic, client demands, skills required, and prospects of networking and future business (although sometimes it all just boils down to a gut feeling).
by Anna Patricia Cairns
The November 26, 2019, Editors Toronto meeting was unlike any of the other meetings I’d attended. The room was set up with an open circle of chairs to allow attendees to participate as mentors or mentees in an informal, face-to-face discussion. A second, inner circle of chairs was added as more people arrived.
We started with an outline of the evening’s activities: a business meeting, then a question-and-answer discussion period, followed by socializing.
The twenty-minute business meeting was professional, yet brief. We were told different formats were being discussed for future monthly meetings, such as partnering with other organizations, more panel discussions, and day-long learning events.
The meeting started with introductions all around. Approximately 50 people were present. Some were seasoned editors, but most were students.
The seasoned editors were experienced in a range of areas: fiction, non-fiction, medical, scientific, scholarly, insurance, finance, magazines and journals. Students hailed from Centennial College, George Brown College, Humber College, Queen’s University, and Ryerson University.
With so many students present, the discussions centred on starting out in the business of editing. Here are the most in-depth conversations that took place: