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Event Review: Attending the Editors Canada Conference 2019

Written by Karen Smith; copy edited by Katie Beaton

This past June, I flew from British Columbia to Nova Scotia and joined Editors Canada in celebrating the organization’s 40th anniversary conference. It was both my first Editors Canada conference and my first time in Halifax. As a novice conference attendee, I wanted to learn as much as I could at the training sessions. I also hoped to make some new connections in the publishing world. However, as I prepared to fly east, I wasn’t sure what to expect at the conference and whether it would be worth the time and cost to attend. Ultimately, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I was glad to have been part of it. In return, I hope that sharing my experience may give other editors insight into whether attending the conference will be of value to them.

What can you expect?

To start, there was a Conference Buddies program offered through the conference. I chose to sign up for this program, and prior to the conference, a buddy group was created where each member’s contact information was shared with the group. After some introductory emails, my buddy group arranged a time to meet in person at the conference. This plan was helpful as I wouldn’t have to start the conference completely on my own. Instead, I would have an instant connection with others attending the conference. It didn’t hurt that those in my buddy group proved to be an interesting and like-minded group of people whom I enjoyed spending time with outside of the official conference events. Overall, it was a great experience, so whether you’re a new or returning editor attending the conference, I would personally recommend joining a buddy group.

The conference itself was well organized. The official training sessions were on schedule, and it was easy to navigate between each one. There was also a wide variety of presentations with diverse topics. The topics were sometimes hard to choose between. Regardless, the quality of the presentations that I attended was very good, and I was able to learn a great deal from each presentation I saw. In short, I found that I was extremely busy while in Halifax and was relieved that I had looked up the speakers and their topics ahead of time (a tip for future attendees).

Outside of conference hours, there were plenty of opportunities to meet new people, connect with professionals, and make new friends. For instance, the organized walking tour of Halifax was a relaxing way to start the weekend with others and become familiar with the historic city. A group of us even joined an event where we threw axes at giant wooden targets in a friendly round-robin competition. (Although I didn’t come close to winning, I had a lot of fun.)

During unscheduled time, it was easy to meet other people in the lobby of the hotel to go for an impromptu lobster roll or for a stroll on the pier.

Why go?

While attending the conference required a significant commitment, it was energizing in ways that I did not expect. I had a chance to focus on career and business concerns, and I was inspired when I heard others’ stories of challenges, experiences, and successes.

It was refreshing and a valuable morale boost for a solopreneur to meet so many people with similar interests. In one whirlwind weekend, I met a huge number of like-minded people and made both personal and professional connections. The other attendees were friendly and approachable, and the volunteers organizing and running the events were exceptional.

The diversity of presentation topics ensured that I strengthened my current skills and expanded my awareness on topics I was less familiar with. I gained new perspectives on different issues and enjoyed discussing different ideas with other editors. I was also fortunate to have received some mentorship from some highly experienced professionals.

Although one editor’s reasons for attending this conference may differ from another’s, it is my belief that doing so helped enhance my professional development, and I would recommend that any editor consider it in the future.


Karen Smith is the owner of Lakehill Editing. She specializes in copy editing and proofreading non-fiction and is a member of Editors Canada. When she isn’t reading, she spends her free time knitting, cooking up a storm, and spending time outdoors with her family. Visit her website at lakehill.ca.

Katie Beaton recently discovered her love of editing and decided to enrol in the Editing Certificate program at SFU. A year and a half later, having completed the program, she knew she wanted to work as a professional editor. To achieve that goal, she plans on gaining as much experience as possible in order to take the Editors Canada’s professional certification test. Until then, she continues to pursue her other love: travel. When she’s not exploring the world, she can be found teaching yoga, writing, and enjoying every brunch spot Vancouver has to offer.

Image by Wikimedia Commons

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