Editors Ottawa Gatineau: AGM

 

Barbara Erb

Welcome to the 2018-2019 year of activities for the Ottawa-Gatineau Branch. Thanks to Bhavana Gopinath for her work as the former blog editor. As your current blog editor, I hope I can fill her shoes.

As you may recall, I was the person in the “editing crisis blog entry last year. I will follow-up with more thoughts on editing and the like…with hopes of getting input, comments, and entries from all of you in the near future. I will also be inviting your suggestions as to ways we can continue to make our branch activities meaningful to you.

This entry is to provide you with an update from the AGM which was held on April 16th, 2018 at Christ Church Cathedral. We are hoping to have a much better show of members next year. As we plan for events of the coming year we are also extending the invitation for you to participate and join the team who are currently striving to meet your membership needs. If you wish to review the job descriptions of any of the volunteer positions, they are available on the “About Editors Ottawa-Gatineau” page of the blog.

Please take note of Sara Caverly’s message below:

 “As a member of Editors Ottawa–Gatineau, you’re invited to participate in building our executive team for the year ahead.

Your branch executive for 2018-19 is made up of members in the positions below, but there is still a chance for you to join them. This is an exciting time to volunteer with the branch, as we work together to stay relevant, support professional development, promote editing and build community.

If you would like to hold a position on the executive, please submit your intent to stand to the Acting Chair ott-gat.vicechair@editors.ca by June 30, 2018.

The vacant roles to be filled by board appointment are: (Student affiliate or full members)
Membership Co-Chair                      Speaker Night Co-Chair

The vacant roles to be filled by membership election are: (Full members only)
Chair
                                                   Secretary

Note: Acting officers are assuming vacant seats until members are elected to fill them.

A/chair: Sara Caverley, vice chair      A/secretary: Tom Vradenburg, past chair

Should you have any questions, please contact us at: ott-gat.vicechair@editors.ca. We look forward to sharing results with you in July.”

Thanks for your support and involvement,
Editors Ottawa–Gatineau executive

 Editors Ottawa–Gatineau Executive (2018-19)

Returning executive officers

Vice Chair: Sara Caverley

Past Chair: Tom Vradenburg

Treasurer: Lindsey McDonald

Public Relations Chair: Ariel Vered

Returning appointed board members

Seminars Chair: Sara Fowler

French Relations Chair: Béatrice Verley

Membership Co-Chair: Maurie Barrett

 New appointed board members

Capital Letters Blog Editor: Barbara Erb

Emily Stewart (standing for appointment)

Upcoming Events

Book Club: Editing Canadian English — December 5

We’re reading Editing Canadian English, third edition. Need a copy? Order it from UBC Press, Indigo, Amazon or your favourite bookseller. The Ottawa Public Library has 12 copies in circulation. There’s also a Kobo edition. This meeting will focus on Chapters 1-5.

Tuesday, December 5, 5:30 p.m.

Le Moulin de Provence KD, 30 Metcalfe St., Ottawa (Not the Byward Market location)
Seminars — November 30December 12

Invest in yourself at every stage of your career with our professional development seminars. Take advantage of discounted rates for members. Learn more and register on our website.

Creating a House Style Guide: A Simple Tool for Producing Better Documents Faster: Thursday, November 30

Stylistic Editing: Tuesday, December 12

All seminars are held at the Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street, Ottawa, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

My thoughts on Writing and Editing for the Web—By Virginia St-Denis

Note from Bhavana Gopinath, Blog Editor: Editors Canada Ottawa–Gatineau presented Moira White’s seminar, Writing and Editing for the Web, on November 8, 2017. I attended that seminar, and found it be informative and thought-provoking. Here’s another take from an Editors Canada member, who took the same seminar in 2016.

I am a 25-year publishing professional—writing, editing, photographing, desktop publishing and managing newspapers, magazines and journals. The majority of my work has been in print and I have personally experienced the decline in this industry. To help me transition into online and social media platforms, I am taking various courses and seminars.

One such seminar was Writing and Editing for the Web through the Ottawa–Gatineau Branch of Editors Canada. I read printed material differently than I read web pages and I don’t think I’m alone. I wanted to learn the difference so I could better use online platforms to meet my readers’ wants and needs.

Moira White of Ubiquitext and past president of Editors Canada presented the full-day seminar on November 24, 2016. I was particularly interested in learning techniques that draw readers to web pages and creating engaging content to keep them there longer.

For Moira, the answer to my question of how people read online today is simple: They don’t! (How’s that for a quotable quote? lol) Most people skim for information.

As a November 2013 report showed, more people get information on their mobile devices than their laptop and desktop computers. Mobile devices have narrower columns of text, giving the illusion of longer, more intimidating paragraphs. I need to remember to provide bite-sized chunks of information in smaller paragraphs because of that one fact.

As well, people retain less information when reading online, which makes organizing information into small chunks and providing plenty of headings even more important.

Moira suggests writing for the web should answer only three questions in this order:

  1. What?
  2. So what?
  3. Now what?

This gets the take-home message out quickly and succinctly, then provides context before making a call to action.

She also suggests starting each paragraph with a topic sentence (remember those from grade school?) For those who don’t remember, the first sentence of each paragraph introduces what the rest of the paragraph will be about. If readers want more information, they will read it. If not, they go to the next paragraph.

As an Editors Canada member, I get a $125 discount on each of their seminars. (http://www.editors.ca/local-groups/ottawa-gatineau/seminars-ottawa-gatineau) The majority of the six seminars I took last year and two I’ve already taken this year (I have one more in March), have been invaluable. I expect I will take more next year. I highly recommend them.

Writer-Reader-Loop2-DSC00307

During the Writing and Editing for the Web seminar for Editors Canada, Moira White explains how writers encode and readers decode information. Depending on which medium the writer chooses to share their message, readers can provide feedback.

Photo by Virginia St-Denis

 

How I Became An Editor – by Stefani Nielson

My earliest training as an editor was as a reader. Personal reading time as a child and onwards was crucial. I read everything from newspaper horoscopes and tabloids  to supermarket flyers and fashion articles to book reviews and history to teen romance and spy fiction. Later, as a university student, I read “serious” literature, communications and philosophy.

 Reading widely creates a feeling for language. The rules of a language can be studied but an understanding for language and what it can and should do comes from reading. In short, reading widely creates a sense of taste: what I like, what others like and what is published (which is sometimes different from the previous two).

 Work experience is important, too. Work creates real demands on your writing and editing ability. Having an employer or client who requires an end product that accomplishes a certain task keeps your writing focused. Hopefully those employers and clients have style guides for page and content development. If so, these guides are invaluable tools for learning the rules of “good writing” for that particular organization or publication.Like Hemingway learning his rules of the trade from his Toronto Star editor as a cub reporter, so  I learned (in my humble way) editing, copywriting and proofing principles as a page design assistant for an old-school course designer. This experience was formative for my career.

 Since then, graduate degrees, certificate programs and writing for different professional purposes have sharpened my editing and writing skills for different contexts. I have written and edited general interest magazines, academic papers and courses (including some for developing writers), and technical and business documents for public and private organizations.

 The key is to keep growing . Improvement requires active work. So I advise the following:

* Read everything that can help you write better for the contexts in which you work and build a toolbox of tried and true references. Read guides for online writing (McGovern’s Killer Web Content), the classics of English style (Orwell’s Politics and the English Language) and staple references (The Chicago Manual of Style).

 * Take courses to freshen up your skills. Recently I took a technical writing course to remind myself of what I can and should be doing to write for a new employer. Don’t rest on your laurels.

 * Keep learning about new media and adapt. Publishing platforms keep changing and expanding. Read guides about new media for a sense of how to keep your language alive and useful in ways that are appropriate for different formats and audiences.

 * And finally, practice. Exercise your writing and editing muscles by editing and writing as much as you can even if it be in a personal journal.

Remember that language is a tool supported by other tools.  Taste + continuous practice + growing knowledge = formula for the ever-developing editor and writer.

On Being Edited: An Editorial By Kaarina Stiff

As editors, we are taught about the importance of communication. University courses and professional development seminars emphasize the need for clarity and sensitivity when making recommendations, and Editors Canada’s own Professional Editorial Standards indicate that “professional editors should communicate clearly and tactfully.”

All of this matters. But even though we think we know what this means, the truth is, sometimes the best way to learn something is from experience. And that can be tricky, since not all editors are writers or creators of their own work.

Last month, I attended a seminar on substantive editing, where veteran instructor Jennifer Latham helped us navigate the thorny topic of how to tell a client or colleague that their text needs more than just the spit and polish that they asked for. The advice, simply put, comes down to diplomacy. We all nodded, because of course that was true, right? Jennifer also recommended that, when possible, a phone call or a face-to-face meeting is often the easiest way to communicate complex thoughts that might present as sarcasm or impatience in written comments.

“Having said that,” said one participant, “I have a good working relationship with several of my colleagues, and I don’t need to be as delicate with them as I do with some others.” Indeed, Jennifer stressed that rapport and trust counts for a lot but there is still value in treading with caution.

As someone who edits and writes (and is therefore edited), I endorse this caution wholeheartedly: never underestimate the value of thoughtful feedback.

I recently updated my business website by adding some testimonials from past clients. One in particular said, “… she was positive and encouraging, while still clearly describing the issues she found and possible approaches to addressing them.” Until I read those words, I had no idea how much my client valued the effort I put into my recommendations. And then I thought about recent experiences that I’ve had being edited, and how much professional respect I have for the people whose feedback was crafted most thoughtfully, even when the feedback was critical.

Diplomacy and tact often take effort—sometimes a lot. I have no doubt that the colleagues I’m thinking of spent a lot of time choosing their words carefully. But as editors, that is part of our job. Even if it takes time, in my opinion, it is time well spent.

While anyone receiving editorial feedback should also practice accepting it graciously, it is worth remembering that giving gracious feedback is about much more than just preventing hurt feelings or out-of-joint noses. Among other things, it is about precision and efficiency. Marginal notes that say, “Really?!” might express your gut reaction, but it does nothing to help the writer understand how to fix the problem, and it doesn’t resolve things any faster.

Just as importantly, it’s about the personal impression you want to leave with the person that you’re giving feedback to. Would you want to be on the receiving end of your words? If not, pause to ask yourself if there’s a better way to convey your advice. As editors committed to high standards of excellence, such as those described in the Professional Editorial Standards, professionalism should always take the place of impatience and sarcasm, no matter who you’re working with—for your client or colleague’s sake, for your own sake, and for the benefit of the editorial profession.

Editing Identity Crisis by Barbara Erb

Barbara Erb

I have been mulling over the results of our branch’s survey to know our members better and I realize that at the dawn of a new career, I am experiencing an identity crisis!

I am a student (campus and distance education) at Simon Fraser University, nearing completion of the Editing Certificate program. I am not young, and neither do I consider myself over the hill.

When I retired from public service, my lifelong love affair with the written word continued to haunt me so I decided to pursue editing as a post-retirement occupation only to find myself where I am today! My demeanor may not reveal the identity crisis but let me tell you, it exists—because I feel like a 19-year-old trying to find my place in life. This is my fourth diploma. One would think I would be accustomed to the ventures of pursuing a new career by this time.

It may well be that novice editors—younger and older, are feeling the same angst. In the branch’s survey, my demographic profile hovers painstakingly in the minority percentages of the results. This adds to my dilemma and cultivates a whole new set of questions:

Is editing a viable career? Is the advent of electronic technology diminishing the need for editors? Which aspect of editing is feasible for me to pursue? What are the industry needs for skilled editors? Where do I start? Will I be prejudiced against because of my age? Did I study editing to become an editor or do I really want to be a writer? How do I market myself?

The survey results provide a gateway to membership engagement and growth for the future. Personally, it has revved up thought processes to help me resolve the career issues currently on my radar. Whether the resolution of my editing identity crisis is to edit, write, or do something completely different… continued networking and professional development with Editors Ottawa–Gatineau is highly beneficial and can only be helpful.

Editors Ottawa–Gatineau is a community of like-minded colleagues who see a common need to learn and grow through seminars, speaker nights, pub meets, and especially a Wine & Cheese event once a year! Thank you for being there and for all you do.

Barbara Erb

Student Member and Branch Secretary

Editors Ottawa–Gatineau

 

Join us for wine and cheese on November 15!

As the days get colder, what could be more enticing than spending a cozy evening with friends? Especially friends who love language, wine and cheese?

If this sounds like your idea of fun, then join us on November 15 for Editors Ottawa—Gatineau’s annual wine and cheese social. Our guest this year is Rod Phillips—a wine writer, wine historian, and wine judge who writes a regular column for the Ottawa Citizen.

Write down your top three favourite wines, and we’ll swap and collect them to build a list of editors’ recommendations! RSVP by November 10 to ottawa-gatineau@editors.ca.

When: Wednesday, November 15, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street, Ottawa

Cost: Tickets are $20 for members and non-members for sale at the door for cash only. Please also consider bringing a non-perishable, nutritious food donation for the Ottawa Food Bank.

2017–18 Seminar Overview

By Elaine Vininsky

We’re excited to announce the seminar lineup for another season at Editors Ottawa–Gatineau.

Just like one stretches before exercising or warms up before the cardio in a fitness class, the 10-seminar season starts on September 21 with a good grammar warm-up and with Graham Young at the helm of Grammar and Punctuation.  Last year’s seminar evaluation sheets indicated a strong demand for Substantive and Stylistic Editing, so we’re bringing back these two seminars on October 16 and December 12, respectively.  On November 8, Moira White returns to teach Writing and Editing for the Web. Creating a House Style with Elizabeth Macfie is offered on November 30.

Elizabeth Macfie and Moira White will ring in 2018 together, co-presenting Copy Editing II: Judgment Calls and Added Value on January 11.  We are pleased to offer a French seminar this year: on January 31, Louise Brunette of the University of Ottawa will teach Révision de textes unilingues et bilingues. On Saturday, February 24, Christine LeBlanc leads two half-day seminars:  Starting a Freelance Career and Social Media Marketing. The latter course is a more advanced version of her previous Social Media seminar. As the weather warms up, we’ll have Practical Proofreading on March 15 and conclude the season on April 10, 2018, with 8-Step Editing.

Past seminar participants will be happy to learn that our host hotel, the Capital Suites, has changed the modem (routers) in the meeting rooms to improve the Wi-Fi.

Please visit the Editors Ottawa–Gatineau seminars web page < www.editors.ca/local-groups/ottawa-gatineau/seminars-ottawa-gatineau > for complete details.

Speed mentoring sessions available—deadline extended

Editors Ottawa–Gatineau will close out its season May 17 with its annual general meeting, followed by a couple of rounds of speed mentoring.

Get expert advice and fresh perspectives from our Seven Sages on your editing business or career. Whether you’re just starting out, changing the focus of your career or wanting to discuss specific editing challenges with a peer who’s been there, the Sages will have…advice.

You’ll need to make a reservation, though, by emailing Tom Vradenburg by Tuesday, May 16. State your preference for up to three Sages—we’ll do what we can to match you up, according to demand. Each session will last 15 minutes.

The Seven Sages and their specialties are:

Laura Byrne Paquet: freelancing, copy editing, proofreading, government work, journalism, travel writing, genre fiction writing and editing, social history writing, blogging, teaching

Moira White: teaching editing and writing, building a diversified business, substantive editing, copy editing, plain language editing and writing, government reports

Elizabeth Macfie: copy editing, stylistic editing, proofreading, comparative reading of translations, training (groups and one-on-one coaching), style guide development, business networking, indexing, conference session delivery

Christine LeBlanc (Dossier Communications): marketing (for your clients and yourself), social media, event promotion, integrated communication strategies, project management (ranging from textbooks to journals), freelancing, editing and writing

Marion Soublière: winning Government of Canada contracts, writing and editing for the federal government (web writing, and plain language writing and editing), social media, copy editing, proofreading

Beverly Ensom: copy editing, proofreading, freelancing, prep for certification, transition from in-house to freelance, government work, House of Commons work

Carolyn Brown: scientific and medical editing and writing, managerial positions in editing, making the move to freelancing, money management, teaching and public speaking, stylistic editing, certification

Annual General Meeting

We will start the evening with our annual general meeting, which will include a recap of this year’s highlights, as well as elections for next year’s Executive.

Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 pm

Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Queen St., Lackey Room, 6:30 p.m.

Free for members; $10 for non-members

March Speakers Night—Stacey Atkinson on Self-Publishing

Speaker Nights March 15How to self-publish a book

Stacey Atkinson is a freelance writer and editor based in Ottawa. In 2012, she began Mirror Image Publishing as a way to self-publish her first novel, Stuck. She learned so much along the way, especially when it came to publishing and marketing a book, that she began offering advice and services to other independent authors. In 2016, she self-published her second novel, Letters from Labrador.

After self-publishing two books and working primarily as an editor of self-published fiction and nonfiction, Stacey took what she had learned and developed an online course on how to publish a book.

At this event, Stacey will explain her ten-step process and answer your questions about self-publishing. She’ll also be asking people to share their own self-publishing stories.

Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Queen St., Lackey Room, 6:30 p.m.
Free for members; $10 for non-members