hot topic: Carolyn Brown will talk reference management software at this month’s speaker night

The major theme at the national conference in Toronto this June was new technologies — some that are changing the nature of what we work on, some that help us be more efficient at tasks we’ve always done.

Carolyn Brown will help us carry that theme forward into EAC’s fall season in Ottawa with a presentation on reference management software — EndNote and Mendeley. Learn how these applications can help you manage references, style them, and add them to documents. The best part? It can all be done automatically.

Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served.

When: Wednesday, September 17, 7:30 pm
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street
How Much: Free for members, $10 for non-members

Advertisements

Now Available: On-Site Seminars from the EAC-NCR

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)

This year, the National Capital Region branch is offering more opportunities for government departments and businesses to take advantage of instruction while keeping their employees on-site. Instructors come to the workplace to teach the seminars, which can be tailored to meet client needs. In some cases, a full-day seminar can be condensed to a half-day. These learning opportunities used to be offered upon request, whereas now they are officially available and the information on half- and full-day seminars is published on the branch’s website.

In addition to the seminars available at the Capital Hill Hotel and Suites, communication officials can also choose from Fundamentals of Technical Writing, Writing Strategic Briefing Notes, and Advanced Writing Style Techniques.

These in-house seminars are an excellent business opportunity for the branch. Word has already spread and, by early August, the branch had received its first in-house seminar request.

New Workshops Add to Old Favourites

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

• Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
• Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)

What we learn from our mishaps: Tips from editors’ blunders

By Antonia McGuire

Most people would rather not repeat their most embarrassing editorial gaffes, especially in a room full of professionals. But as mortifying or daunting as it may be, sharing these experiences with each other offers an opportunity to learn and grow. Besides, no one’s perfect!

Our last speaker night featured local editors, writers and members themselves, who checked their egos at the door, and chimed in on a lively roundtable discussion. Over 15 brave souls kept the story-telling alive with tales of their biggest blunders and what they learned from them.

Here’s the digest version.

1. Sleep in your clothes. This one is pretty basic but there is something to be said for simply being prepared. Especially when you have a big meeting with clients the next day!

Editor’s tip: To avoid a rushing around frantically in morning, set aside your outfit the night before. Better yet, when travelling for work be sure to pack your work clothes, including undergarments and all those kinds of essentials. Lie them all out on your bed before stuffing everything into a carry-on piece… that way you won’t just have jogging pants to wear to a business meeting. Eeek.

2. Know your weaknesses and arrange your work around them.

Editors’s tip: If you know you have a tendency to be late, set your deadline a week ahead of schedule.

3. Confirm the goods were received. How many times have you submitted the end product to a client or editor on deadline, only to receive nada in return? No hint of, “yup everything is a-okay on this end.” So naturally, panic sets in when you realize your deadline has passed.

Editor’s tip: Ask client to reply, confirming the deliverable was received. Use read receipt feature in Outlook.

4. Proofread every round as if it’s a new draft – with fresh eyes if possible.

Editor’s tip: try reading each paragraph backwards, starting from the end to the beginning.

5. When networking or trying to make a connection, be respectful and professional. There is an acceptable yet strategic way to reach out to potential clients or new editors to pitch… but pointing out their mistakes in x publication, book, article, etc., is not recommended if you actually want to get work or get a call back. Remain courteous, professional and attentive to their needs at all times. Because a real know-it-all is a real turn off.

6. “Tolkien was not a misogynist.” Find out who you are speaking to before offering your opinion to others, especially before going on a rant in an elevator to the editor of that famous book series, for example.

7. Norwegians know their grammar, but write like Yoda. To make a long story short, check your ego at the door and don’t be afraid to use your reference books or dictionaries to look things up. Always fact-check and proofread your work (sort of obvious) but it’s amazing how many “tweaks” one can find after third and fourth reviews.

8. Commentary or feedback that doesn’t improve the text feels insulting. The 360 feedback loop we get from the editorial process is essential to producing the best quality work possible. And … avoiding career-crushing mistakes or factual errors. Professionally speaking, we all need to learn how to take feedback – the good with the bad. Novice writers especially tend to struggle with this. To survive and thrive in this business, you develop thicker skin and a sense of humour. For editors, reviewers and writers alike, there is a way to give constructive feedback. Ranting and raving is not one of them. If you’re being defensive and difficult to work with, chances are it will be your last chance with that publication.

9. Adjective pile-ups make for translation problems. When working with bilingual documents, it is common to discover the occasional awkward English sentence that is difficult to translate. Editing is an iterative process. Practice doing text concordances by comparing English to French. If your language skills aren’t up to snuff, ask a colleague to help you look it over.

10. Double negatives can stymie readers in both languages. Whether it’s due to poor grammar, false punctuation or simply that the writer failed to explain something clearly, double negatives only confuse the reader. Editors shine in this respect by adding clarity, consistency and polishing to pieces when necessary.

11. Know your terminology limits. Use this rhyme to remember: when in doubt, check it out. Some editors and writers who specialize in technical, medical or financial writing will have acquired this in-depth knowledge and terminology from their studies or years of experience in the field. However, most of us don’t, so acknowledge that limitation and compensate accordingly by using back-up resources, contractors or by reading up!

12. Google before you diss. Or, just don’t throw insults out into the public via your Twitter or Facebook account – ever. It’s a small industry once you’ve been in it for awhile. You never know who will be listening or watching.

13. Rigorous checking of dictionary is a must.

14. Extra-rigorous checking of dictionary. Did I mention that?

Okay, now it’s your turn! What did you learn from an editorial mistake? Did you find this post helpful?
Share your thoughts or suggest a blog topic.