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A Generosity of Editors

by Michelle Waitzman

Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) Toronto mini-conference, November 6, 2019. From left to right: Janet MacMillan (SfEP Toronto mini-conference co-coordinator), Jennifer Glossop, Heather Ebbs, Malini Devadas, Erin Brenner, Amy J. Schneider, and Paul Beverley. Photo credit: SfEP member Jeanne McKane. Courtesy of SfEP.

Editors sometimes have fun sharing—and inventing—collective nouns for various groups of creatures or people. When it comes to editors themselves, I propose to call the group “a generosity of editors.” When they gather in large (or even modest) numbers, editors are exceedingly generous with their knowledge, experience and wisdom. I was reminded of this recently when I attended the second annual Toronto mini-conference presented by the UK-based Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and organized by Maya Berger, Kelly Lamb, Janet MacMillan, and Rachel Small. Their first generous act was allowing non-members to attend an event with very limited space, and even providing a discount for Editors Canada members. This type of cross-association cooperation is becoming the norm, and it benefits editors around the world.

The day consisted of five sessions featuring presenters from the UK, the US, and Canada. (The previous day, an editor and business coach from Australia, Malini Devadas, gave a pre-conference workshop aimed at freelance editors.) The topics covered were diverse, but a theme of “working smarter” connected many of them. This theme demonstrated that learning how to edit well is only the first step to becoming a successful editor. Editing skills can be enhanced by learning how to work efficiently, provide more consistent results to clients, and collaborate effectively with other publishing professionals.

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