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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.
by B.A. Tanner
Editors Toronto and Canadian Authors – Toronto (CA-T) were thrilled to co-present their first event of the fall season, in partnership with the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto, on Tuesday, September 24.
The evening brought together award-winning, medium-crossing writers Zoe Whittall and Wiebke von Carolsfeld. Zoe has published four novels and three poetry collections to date and written for TV shows such as Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Wiebke started as a film director, editor, and writer with her directorial debut, Toronto International Film Festival winner Marion Bridge. She launched her first novel, Claremont (Linda Leith Publishing), earlier this year.
CA-T co-president Lee Parpart moderated the discussion and Q&A session. She guided an enlightening conversation focused on writing for both screen and page, and the differences between the two processes. Lee warmed up the audience for the featured discussion by showing video clips from Zoe and Wiebke’s film and TV work. Wiebke shared a trailer for The Saver, a drama she wrote and directed about an orphaned teenager with a desire to build a new life using a self-help book she found at her cleaning job. The tone switched gears when Zoe contributed a short skit called “Buffin’ Your Muffin” that aired on Baroness von Sketch Show and captured oodles of laughs from the audience.
by James Harbeck
If you edit academic books or articles, you probably spend a lot of time tidying up references. Sometimes as much time as editing the entire rest of the text. First, you have to pick your style: Chicago (note or name-date), MLA, APA, or, in the sciences, AMA or Vancouver. Then, you have to make everything consistent with it, to the extent possible. On top of that, you may have to look up the sources to double-check them.
I’ve edited medical continuing-education presentations that had no bibliographies and would cite some sources as just, for instance, “Heinz & Wong 2013.” I would have to find the rest of the citation—and I would, nearly every time, with a single search. Which means that anyone else who wanted to know would also be able to find it as quickly. Our citation standards were developed before the wonderful world of high-powered search engines. If we can find the source from an incomplete or inaccurate citation, how much of this tidying up is necessary?
Now, yes, there are more reasons than just findability to give detailed and consistent bibliographic information. You want to be tidy. You want readers not to have to spend undue time and effort: “Wasting our time so that readers don’t have to waste theirs” is in the editor’s job description. You want to give credit where it is due, and accurately. And you don’t want any risk of ambiguity—you don’t want people flipping fruitlessly through the wrong edition, for instance.
But still. Not all standard parts of a bibliographic citation are truly necessary. Here are several things some styles require that we should consider just getting rid of:
by Tasneem Bhavnagarwala
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.
by Summer Cowley
As an editor with editor friends, I find myself often reading works by authors who use citation styles other than the ones I regularly use in my own writing. Even though I become more comfortable with different styles every time I see them, many styles are unfamiliar in my APA-dominated world of the social sciences. Many times, I have wished there were an easier and more reliable way to quickly learn citation styles than running internet searches. Luckily, I’ve recently found Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More (2018) by Charles Lipson.
Cite Right is a short book (180 pages) in which Lipson provides summary explanations and examples of many citation styles. The book is divided into two general sections: “Citations: An Overview,” which contains introductory material and a general explanation of the practice of citing, and “Citations in Every Format: A Quick Guide,” which addresses Chicago/Turabian, MLA, APA, CSE, AMA, ACS, AIP for physics/astrophysics/astronomy, and mathematics/computer science/engineering citation styles.
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.
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.
- 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.
Recommended reading: Sue Bowness shares a preview of our seminar topic in her latest Networds Blog post.
Being a freelancer is much more than working in your pyjamas. For the privilege of setting your own hours, you also have to be your own boss, the sales team, the office manager, the bookkeeper, as well as the employee. Learn how in this seminar, which outlines the basic steps to your dream job.
Part 1: Getting Ready
Part 2: Getting Going
As a result of attending this session, attendees will be able to start their own freelance business. They’ll know how to register for a business name and HST number, how to start marketing their services and what to track for basic bookkeeping and taxes.
This webinar series is geared towards communication professionals at all stages of their career.
Presenter: Christine LeBlanc
Date: Saturdays, May 5 and 12
Time: 12 p.m., EDT / 9 a.m., PDT
Length: Two 1 hour sessions
Member price: $84
Non-member price: $120
Christine LeBlanc started Dossier Communications in 2005, after a decade in publishing. She has a degree in journalism and a professional certification in marketing.