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Recap of A Discussion on the Business of Editing

by Anna Patricia Cairns

five women of colour sitting around boardroom table, talking

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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:

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Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellist for Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?

 Interview conducted by Sandra Otto.

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. 

This month, we are honoured to be joined by Michelle Waitzman, who will be talking about ways to evaluate new opportunities, so you can move your career in the direction you want. 

Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you? is based on her standing-room-only session at the 2019 Editors Canada conference in Halifax (co-presented with Jess Shulman).

Was there a time you stepped outside your comfort zone and loved it?

To be honest, I don’t find my “comfort zone” all that comfortable because I’m easily bored. As a result, I’m always pushing outside of it. The biggest leap I’ve taken out of my comfort zone was the most rewarding. In 2005, I moved from Toronto to Wellington, New Zealand, where I had no job lined up and no friends or family. I loved it there and stayed for seven years (and met my now-husband)! But professionally speaking, I think as a freelancer you sometimes need a “fake it till you make it” attitude. I often apply for “moonshot” gigs because you never know when someone will say yes. For example, I responded to a job posting for writing biographical material in the computer science field. I have no computer science background, and the only bios I’d written before were short website blurbs. I got the gig, and so far I’ve had the opportunity to write 15,000-word biographies of five fascinating people who’ve all won the highest honour in computer science, the A.M. Turing Award.

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Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you?

Date: Tuesday, January 28, 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Location: Viola Desmond Room (3rd floor) at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), 192 Spadina Ave.
Map: goo.gl/maps/VRvEPVLumjmuHWbz8

In 2020, get the jobs you really want and stop working on projects you might regret later. Michelle Waitzman’s Making Smart Choices: Which freelance projects are right for you? is based on her standing-room-only session at the 2019 Editors Canada conference in Halifax (co-presented with Jess Shulman).

The discussion will include ways to methodically evaluate new opportunities, so you can move your career in the direction you want. Bring a pen and paper (or your favourite device), and you’ll leave with a game plan for the year ahead. In this interactive presentation, we’ll crowdsource ideas and share experiences. Whether you are just starting out as a freelancer or have decades of experience, Michelle will get you thinking about what you’d love to work on and what you’d rather avoid.

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Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

Join us on May 28 for our Annual General Meeting, a branch business meeting, and what promises to be a stimulating panel discussion on barriers to entering the editing profession.

The business meeting and AGM will begin at 7 pm. The panel discussion will begin at 7:30 pm. We have the room until 9:30 pm, so please plan to stay and chat. We love to get to know our members!

Panel discussion

Breaking Down Barriers to a Career in Editing

When: Tuesday, May 28, 7–9:30 pm (business meeting and AGM first; panel starts at 7:30 pm)

Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F

Are you new to the field of editing? Have you struggled with impostor syndrome or faced other barriers to a full editing career? For the final branch meeting of 2018–19, we are pleased to present a panel discussion on common obstacles facing new editing professionals and the strategies organizations and individuals can use to break down those barriers. This program will explore how the industry can better welcome and recruit new talent, how organizations can combat ableism and improve access, what individual editors can do to gain a toehold in the editing and publishing industries, and related questions.

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So you want to be a travel writer?

by Tasneem Bhavnagarwala

Journal with world map on cover and camera to the side

This world is big, and it offers us more destinations than one can explore in a lifetime. This is where travel writers step in. Whether it’s gazing into the sunset at a beach in Indonesia, enjoying a conversation with the rickshaw driver on the streets of India, or admiring a graffiti artist’s work in Barcelona, there is something in each experience that is inspiring. Travel writers bring these moments and stories to readers who want to experience travel adventures vicariously or need assistance in developing their travel itineraries.

The key challenge for travel writers is how to bring these moments to life through words. Magazines and newspapers are always covering stories about exotic and offbeat destinations. To stand out from the crowd is not an easy task, but if you, like me, love travel writing, then the guidelines below will definitely help you break in to the business.

While travelling is something I have always loved, travel writing as a career was not something I had considered. In 2015, after I made a trip to Ladakh, India, and seeing my offbeat itinerary, a friend encouraged me to document my experience, and that’s when my journey began with travel writing. After much reading, researching, and exploring, I managed to get an opportunity to work with a small travel start-up in Mumbai as a writer. Though I consider myself still in the learning phase of my career, I would like to share some points that have helped me break in to the world of travel writing.

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Let’s Talk Rates! How to Ask for What You’re Worth and Get Paid on Time

Learn about setting rates (and raising them) from long-time freelancers at the PWAC Toronto February seminar. Note, Editors Toronto members are eligible to receive the PWAC Partners discount.

PWAC Feb 25 seminar Let's Talk Rates

Date: Monday, February 25, 2019
Time: 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Location: Miles Nadal JCC, Room 318 (third floor)

Why is talking about freelance pay rates and money in general so challenging? In this seminar, we ask long-time freelancers to share advice on how they’ve set their rates and how they’ve raised them over the years.

Speakers:

  • Carol J. Anderson, an editor, proofreader, researcher, and writer for the private sector, non-profits, and government
  • Allan Britnell, freelance writer and editor and past-president of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
  • Diane Peters, a writer and editor who has covered a variety of topics for national publications and also teaches writing at Ryerson University
  • Suzanne (Sue) Bowness (seminar moderator), a long-time freelance writer/editor and writing teacher

To learn more about the seminar and the speakers, visit pwactoronto.org.

As always, PWAC Toronto evening seminars are FREE for PWAC members, and while non-members who register online in advance receive a discount.

The organizers ask that you please register in advance so they know how many people to expect.

REGISTER FOR THE SEMINAR

Recommended reading: Sue Bowness shares a preview of our seminar topic in her latest Networds Blog post.

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: Help me navigate the stormy seas of financial insecurity!

By Elizabeth d’Anjou

Looking for advice on editing the editing life? Whether you’re a beginner looking for tips on starting out or an old hand looking for another perspective, veteran editor Aunt Elizabeth is ready to address your queries. Submit them to [email protected]—you may find the answers you are looking for in next month’s column.

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: Help me navigate the stormy seas of financial insecurity!

(1) Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

I’m a freelance copy editor in my early 30s, with a partner who also freelances, albeit in another field. We want to start a savings account and eventually a family, but due to the feast-or-famine nature of our work, we are not sure about where to start. What approach should we use to set aside money for the future amidst financial uncertainty?

Sincerely,

My Clock Is Ticking

Dear Clock,

No wonder I never had kids—given the huge frustration I recall early in my career of just trying to plan a modest vacation (when I had the time I never had any money to spare, and when I had a bit of money I never had any time). I couldn’t even have imagined trying to arrange for a maternity leave. Since then, the government has introduced an EI maternity leave option for self-employed Canadians, but its restrictions are such that its appeal is severely limited.

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Video: Watch Sunny Widerman discussing taxes for freelancers at our February meeting

At the February 2015 meeting of EAC’s Toronto branch, tax advisor Sunny Widerman spoke with editors about how to make tax time less frightening. Discussion topics included expenses, registering for GST/HST, and what the Canada Revenue Agency really wants from you.

For more information, contact Sunny at personaltaxadvisors.ca.