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by Ann Kennedy
On June 7, 8, and 9, editors from across North America and as far away as Australia gathered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to reconnect, learn new skills, and refresh long-used ones. The annual Editors Canada conference was held this year at The Westin Nova Scotian, an ideal location for hitting the local farmers’ market for breakfast before sessions started, and just around the corner from the boardwalk for an evening stroll and a lobster roll at one of the popular waterside restaurants.
Four pre-conference seminars were offered, and though I wished I could have attended all four, I opted for Amy J. Schneider’s seminar, “Macros 101: Work Smarter, Not Harder.”
For the uninitiated like me, a macro is a computer program that runs inside Microsoft Word and enables a set of pre-defined, customized instructions to efficiently, accurately, and consistently perform tasks. These tasks can run from the mundane (such as converting two spaces to one or changing British English to American English) to the complex (such as ensuring that every instance of a certain abbreviation is capitalized and in bold). As someone who just finished a manuscript that was in dire need of consistency, I was very excited to learn more about macros and how they can save editors time by automating frequently performed tasks. The session was well worth the extra fee, for both content and quality. I came away with not only several pages of hand-outs with the session highlights, but also a list of websites and books to consult for more information.
The main conference itself took place over two days and included an opening keynote by renowned journalist and author Linden Macintyre; a closing keynote by multi-award-winning writer, speaker, and educator Sheree Fitch; the Editors Canada annual general meeting; and 40 sessions on topics ranging from managing a freelance business to editing scholarly papers to navigating language and diversity to preparing for the Editors Canada certification exams.
Highlights from the main conference programming for me included Michelle Waitzman and Jess Shulman’s “Making smart choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?”; James Harbeck’s “Translating medicalese into everyday English”; and Dean Jobb and Kim Pittaway’s “Negotiating the truth: Drawing the line in creative nonfiction”. As a freelance editor living with a physical disability whose dream is to edit memoirs, these sessions alone were worth the trip to Halifax!
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By Robin Marwick
- The American Copy Editors’ Society’s (ACES) 2015 National Conference, held at the end of March, featured a wealth of inspiring speakers and informative sessions. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t there, it also attracted scores of diligent tweeters, as seen in this Storify of the first day’s social media activity. Explore the conference blog for much more. (Copydesk.org)
- One theme from ACES 2015 was the growing acceptance of the singular “they,” with the Associated Press Stylebook being almost the lone holdout. Here’s everything you ever needed to know about this much-maligned usage. (Stroppy Editor)
- EAC, of course, has its own conference coming up in June. Freelance writer Nicole Dieker has excellent advice for conference-going freelancers who hope to stand out from the crowd. (Contently.net)
- Working with multiple authors or reviewers can be a headache, particularly if one or more of them doesn’t quite understand how Track Changes works. Martha Carlson-Bradley explains how to set up Word documents so that Track Changes has to be used. (Editor Queries)