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

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.

Meet the Instructor–Marketing for Freelance Editors

Second picture of Adrienne Montgomery

Adrienne Montgomerie is a certified copy editor and an educational editor with more than 130 titles and 18 years under her belt–mostly high school science textbooks and all of the support materials that go with them. She is also an experienced instructor, computer support tech, and course designer. In fact, she has produced handouts, lesson plans, activities, teacher guides, course notes, and worksheets for a staggering range of topics. You will find her in person at Editors Canada’s Kingston twig, or online as scieditor teaching software for editing as well as writing at and her Right Angels and Polo Bears adventures in writing blog.

Marketing for Freelance Editors (Tuesday, November 10) will address the following topics: networking, cold “calling,” guerilla marketing, social media and traditional marketing products and methods. You will leave this half-day seminar with an idea of how to market to your clients, whether they are publishers, businesses, or authors. In your hand will be the beginning of your marketing plan. To sign up, go to Registration closes on November 4, 2015.

To chair or not to chair by Gael Spivak

To chair or not to chair

What’s it like co-chairing an Editors Canada conference committee? Well, it depends.

I’ve done it twice. Once, by design. The second time, totally by accident.

The first time was for the 2012 conference in Ottawa. The national executive council approved Christine LeBlanc as the chair and she then asked me to be her co-chair. We’d worked well together on the branch executive and I thought it would be fun. It was (mostly!). A lot of work but really fun.

And I learned so much. I learned

  • how to supervise a team (we had about 15 core volunteers),
  • how to use social media to market,
  • how to run a big event, and
  • how to split tasks with a co-leader.

All of those are transferable skills that I took back to my workplace. I’d just been laid off in the big sweep of government cuts, so I knew I’d be looking for work once the conference was over.

I went on an assignment in another branch at my workplace. After a few months, my new boss said something about my volunteering (on the conference and on the national executive council). He commented that with all my skills, and all the things I’d learned in my volunteer work with Editors Canada, there was no doubt they’d find a place for me. That really struck me, that he noticed that (it wasn’t something I talked about a lot but he’d seen my resumé). And they did. I got hired back on, in another job. And I was told that my volunteer work contributed to me getting the job.

The second conference I co-chaired, the international one that happened in June of this year, I did not intend to be so involved in. Yes, I am the director of training and development but I figured that would be it. And with Greg Ioannou chairing, there would not be much for me to contribute (except cajoling him to submit chair reports). Then he asked me if I’d help him by providing some input and advice, and maybe working a little bit on getting speakers.

After I agreed to that, this conference (to some unusual circumstances) ended up being almost entirely volunteer run (instead of the usual volunteer–office division of tasks). And I got completely drawn in to helping.

It was a ton of work but we had such a fabulous team (and we never did really settle on if I was truly the co-chair or if we actually had five co-chairs). And I got to be part of something brand new and huge: the first ever international editing conference, a pretty cool thing to get to work on.

Things I learned about this time around included

  • figuring out how to effectively work with someone whose style is utterly different from my own (and everyone else’s on the team),
  • learning how to delegate with no strings but still keep a good grasp of the overall picture, and
  • creating mini-communities of editors from around the world, to talk about how to run editing associations.

I also learned that there is more than one way to run a conference and both ways are right. There often is not one right way to do something.

Those are also things I can take back to my workplace. In fact, the people at my work who got really excited about the last point (creating international groups) are two executives. They immediately understood the significance of that kind of experience, as a volunteer but also for government work.

Running a conference is a big deal. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also a lot of fun, and you learn so very much. Co-chairing these conferences were a big investment of my time but the return on my investment was pretty big.

Call for volunteers

The Ottawa-Gatineau branch of Editors Canada is hosting the Annual Conference for 2017, and we are looking for volunteers for the position of co-chairs. We will need two (or more) co-chairs. According to Appendix II of the Editors’ Association of Canada Conference Handbook (2015), the conference co-chairs have the following responsibilities*:

Conference co-chairs

  • Two (or more) co-chairs.
  • Co-chair weekly teleconferences with conference committee and national office staff; meetings take about an hour.
  • Establish conference theme (approved by NEC) and steer conference direction.
  • Recruit, hire and manage committee members.
  • Manage work of committee to meet deadlines; prepare task lists or other tracking methods.
  • Recruit advisory group (optional); ask advisory group for input on theme, speaker line-up, marketing.
  •   Review and approve all communications.
  • Source, evaluate and recommend conference venues (NOTE: all agreements, quotes, contracts must be approved and signed by the executive director).
  • Facilitate branch/ twig involvement in conference. Your branch or twig will organize and promote pre-conference workshops, promote conference to branch members, host welcome reception, share connections to potential speakers, etc.
  •   Source and coordinate sponsorships; keep track of amounts committed, contact info and mailing addresses (sponsor thank you letters prepared and sent by the office).
  • Source and coordinate donations, samples and giveaways, such as items for conference bags; keep track of items committed and received, including contact info and mailing addresses (donor thank you letters prepared and sent by the office).
  • Find opportunities for ongoing informal and formal volunteer recognition.
  • MC the Awards Banquet (optional); main role as MC is to introduce award presenters.
  • Write thank-you notes to conference committee volunteers after conference.

If you believe  you can help organize our conference, please contact We look forward to hearing from you.

*Reproduced with permission from Editors Canada

The National Capital Region branch has a new name: Editors Ottawa–Gatineau by Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr

With our national association changing its brand name from Editors’ Association of Canada to Editors Canada this summer, the time was right for the NCR branch to change its name as well. The impetus behind the change, from the branch executive’s point of view, was to make our seminars—far and away our biggest source of revenue—easier to find online since attendance had been dropping due to increased competition. This search engine optimization (SEO) is the same reason that the history magazine The Beaver changed its name to Canada’s History (well, they had other issues as well…). The point is, the Internet doesn’t do subtle, it doesn’t do abstruse, it doesn’t do equivocal. It does precise. And no one searches for “National Capital Region” when they want to find an editing seminar in Ottawa or Gatineau.

In May the branch executive consulted in person with members and found general support for a name change. Then we launched an online discussion to include people who had not been at the May meeting. In September we polled the membership, Survey Monkey fashion, and got a great voter turnout. From our 177 members, we received 80 responses—a 45% response rate that would be the envy of any survey company. The choices for a new name were Ottawa, Ottawa–Gatineau, and Eastern Ontario–Western Quebec. Of those who responded, 77% agreed that the branch name should be changed and 76% agreed that the new name should be Ottawa–Gatineau. Paired with the national rebranding, the new name of our branch is now Editors Ottawa–Gatineau.

A couple of members who did not support the name change were concerned that the rebranding would cost money, but since we are only rebranding once—both national and branch at the same time—it will not cost us any extra.

We also asked members why they supported the name change. The response was evenly split (40%/40%) between two main reasons:

  1. Because “National Capital Region” is understood only by some people
  2. To improve search engine results when we advertise seminars

Some respondents who supported the name change also sent comments:

  • It’s shorter. As an editor (and a marketer), brevity and punchiness are always my main concerns. Also, not everyone understands “NCR.”
  • To be specific and clear.
  • To be more inclusive but also to be realistic about where most of the branch’s activities occur. It gives an idea of the central “broadcast” point of the branch.
  • Because it lends itself to an unhelpful acronym.

Over the next few weeks, you will see the new brand roll out. Our branch’s Executive Director, Maureen Moyes, is all ready to go with the new branding materials sent by the national association, into which we will plug our new shorter, punchier name.

EAC-NCR Seminars: An Essential Tool By Jean Rath

When I was a high school student, I earned good marks in History and English; I barely escaped grade 10 Chemistry, but at least I could construct an essay to satisfy my teachers. In Quebec in the 70s, high school (and all its required sciences) ended when I was 16 and I gratefully immersed myself in CEGEP courses I could easily handle: more History and English. My Bachelor of Arts in University was a breeze. I didn’t have any vision for what to do with it, but it was fun. Unbeknownst to me, it was actually a preparation for a far-future occupation.

During my years as an at-home mom, I somehow gained a reputation among my friends of being good with words. Over the years, a few of them handed me their manuscripts to look at, and I found that I enjoyed doing that. Dabbling in all that text made me salivate; I wanted more.

Meanwhile, outside my dreamland of academia and novice editing, the world of serious, professional editing was unfolding: spaces after periods were lost, sentence adverbs fell in and out of favour, the mysterious Oxford comma came into common usage, and, most importantly, the Editors’ Association of

Canada was founded. It was ready and waiting for me in 2012, the year that my at-home-mom/homeschooling tasks eased up enough for me to look into the future. The story goes that the founders of the association, when deciding on the group’s name, argued for half an hour about the apostrophe in “Editors’.” Such arguments were still going on decades later when I joined the association: I knew I was in the right place when a discussion broke out on the listserv regarding the use of the hyphen in Spider-man.

By 2012, my novice editing had gone from dabble to serious and I needed training. The NCR branch seminars were easy to find and I was soon enjoying Moira White’s take on eight-step editing. The seminar was great; I wanted more. I attended seven seminars over the next two years. Every single one has turned out to be useful.

That same year, the EAC conference was in Ottawa and I had the opportunity to enjoy many more good seminars, one after another. Every session I attended was revelatory, but I was especially struck by Elizabeth d’Anjou’s advice in her seminar, “Freelance Editing: The Top 10 Things I Wish I’d Known.” Her last point was especially notable: “I’m not an editor; I’m someone who runs a freelance editing business.” I realized then that if I was seriously going to be a copy editor, I was going to have to run it as a business. That idea took some getting used to: in all my years submerged in history and literature I never once pictured myself as a business woman……and so I signed up for Christine LeBlanc’s “Starting a Freelance Career.”

The benefits of NCR seminars go on and on.

Stretching at your desk by Tom Vradenburg, EAC-NCR Chair

Stretching at your desk

By Tom Vradenburg, EAC-NCR Chair

If you’re chair-bound for most of the day, your body can gradually cramp up. You may feel tension in your neck; your hip flexor muscles will gradually tighten, your posture may deteriorate.

You may not have an hour to spare, or the inclination, to hit the gym. Here are some quick stretches you can do in the time it takes your kettle to boil—and of course you have time for tea, don’t you?

Do these for the neck muscles:

  1. Sit upright in your chair—good posture, now!—relax your shoulders. Your pelvis should be tilted slightly forward, your spine ‘neutral’—meaning there’s a slight forward curve in the lower, lumbar region, but otherwise it’s straight.
  2. Imagine there is a string wrapped around your earlobe and hanging beside your arm. Imagine that string being pulled gently, gradually and incrementally. Don’t let your shoulders tilt, and don’t worry if your neck does not flex very far. Don’t push your head with your hand, just use gravity and the weight of your head. If you feel mild discomfort, keep going; if you feel pain, stop.
  3. Hold this position for 30 or 45 seconds. You can hold this, or any, stretch for two or three minutes.
  4. Repeat with the other ear moving towards the other shoulder.
  5. When the kettle comes to a boil, pour water into your teapot.
  6. Now that you’ve done east and west, repeat with north and south while you’re waiting for the tea to steep. When you tilt your head back, you’ll feel some tugging in the neck muscles that support your jaw: as long as there’s no pain, that’s natural.

I have been a YMCA-certified group fitness instructor for seven years. I teach group cardio and strength classes at the gym at my office about once a week.

Meet the Instructor –Laurel Hyatt

laurel hyatt

Laurel Hyatt is a multi-skilled, creative and award-winning communicator equally comfortable with editing, writing, and production managing. She has more than 18 years’ experience in several media, including books, magazines and the Web, with a strong journalism background.

Her practical approach to editing is evident in her seminar, Editing Charts. “Charts should try to impart knowledge, not just data or information,” says Laurel, who gives several reasons why proficiency at editing charts is a good skill.  “Many readers will read a chart on a page first, or maybe only the chart. The use of visual information is exploding and charts are important to persuade the audience and for readers’ decision making. “

By the end of the morning, you’ll be confident about when to use the various types of charts or perhaps choose a table instead.  Registration for the Wednesday, April 29, 2015, half-day seminar closes on April 26. Click here to register.

April is time for an Ottawa town hall by Tom Vradenburg, EAC NCR Chair

  • Wednesday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.
  • Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert St.
  • Free for EAC members and non-members · Door prizes too!

It’s been a couple of years since the branch executive has ‘checked in’ with the membership, and I’d like to do it before relinquishing the chair in May.

But this is not about my needs, it’s about yours as professional editors. The simple question the executive would like to ask members is, How can we make NCR more relevant to today’s professional editors?

This not to say our branch, one of the ‘original four’ branches of the association, is in any crisis. At times over the last few years, the seas have gotten dangerous, but we all grabbed onto the gunwales and rode it out. We kept holding meetings, presenting good Speaker Night programs, and organizing a full slate of seminars.

All is not well at the end of my watch, however. Branch membership is stagnant, just below 200, slipping by half a dozen per quarter, then gaining two or three. Each month we’ve had good speakers talking about interesting subjects, but perhaps a couple of dozen people come out. We wonder if it’s the weather, or the coffee, or something deeper than that.

Each year we budget $50,000 or $60,000 in expenses, then just barely break even or, more often, lose a thousand or two. We used to have a healthy cash reserve, but years of leakage has it down to about $36,000. The seminar program has suffered from government budget cuts and curbs on training, and we have more competition than ever before. We are still the cheapest training option in the market, but we are being out-marketed.

I don’t worry as much about the money as I do about people—not just having enough volunteers to keep the boat afloat, but becoming a group with enough critical mass that others want to get involved to help push the branch forward. Elections for the branch executive will be held at our meeting May 20: please consider volunteering, even in a small role.

I hope you can sense in these words a desire for renewal. The branch executive has some ideas for making our program more compelling, but this town hall is a call for more—ideas and people. Please come out on April 15, and let’s see if we can find a way out of the doldrums.

Call for Membership Chair by Jean Rath

When I set out to become a freelance editor, the imperative that I heard everywhere, so much so that it is still a constant ringing in my ears, was “network.” So I started attending National Capital Region speaker nights. When I heard they needed new board members, I could see that this was an even better way to network. Besides I had the time to give to it.

But I didn’t have endless amounts of time. So the position of membership chair was a perfect fit for me. It’s a very straightforward position, and it doesn’t demand much time.  The other benefit for me, since it’s not always easy for me to circulate a room, is that as membership chair at speaker nights the room circulates me.

The membership chair is present at the door at all eight monthly National Capital Region speaker nights, from September to November, and then from January to May. She greets the attendees, notes the number of members who attend, collects the $10.00 from non-members, and provides name tags. The NCR executive director provides her with current Editors’ Association of Canada pamphlets and advertising, which she distributes on the tables. She also places the NCR branch surveys on the tables, collects them, and later collates and reports on them.

This position can be held by two people. During my first year on the board, I had a co-chair. This allowed us to occasionally skip a speaker night when we had to. We also shared the administrative duties.

The membership chair attends board meetings (which happen at the same location as the speaker nights, two and a half hours before) and gives updates on the current membership status of the local branch. She also writes up a brief report of the details (not the substance) of the speaker nights, such as number of attendees, name of the presentation, and survey results.

At the beginning of every month, the executive director sends the membership chair a list of all the members in the NCR branch, with the new members highlighted. The membership chair emails welcome letters to these new members. The welcome letter is prewritten  and only has to have the personal details added.

During my first year on the board, my co-chair and I distributed the Editors’ Association of Canada pamphlets and advertising farther and wider than the monthly speaker nights. We both agreed that restricting this material to editors’ meetings was preaching to the choir. The whole NCR board contributed their connections and imagination to this effort. Between the bunch of us we got the material out to coffee shops, the writers festival, government buildings, and university bookstores. The new membership chair will continue to co-ordinate this group effort, ensuring that old material is replaced, and using the board members’ connections to send the material out.

I began as membership chair in September 2013. It was the only reason I got to know people at the NCR branch very quickly. This made me bold enough to actually attend the November wine and cheese (besides, I had to be there to collect money at the door), where I met a woman who runs the local branch of a women’s business network. I joined this organization, and it was through my connections there that I got my first paying freelance work. Networking is indeed a strong imperative.

I’m grateful for the years of learning and support that came from being part of the National Capital Region branch of the Editors’ Association of Canada. I enjoyed contributing to the collective energy of the NCR board, who see the value of the local branch and would like to keep it going. I would have continued doing this job, but my husband’s employer sent him to Australia, and I’ll continue to freelance from there.  I’m sure the new membership chair will enjoy this position very much.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me:

If you would like to volunteer for this position, please contact the chair or vice-chair of the National Capital Region branch:

or the executive director: