Copyediting | Fend Off #Freelancing Loneliness: Attend a #Conference


I maintain connection to the outside world with email alerts. Some I receive daily, others I get weekly. Either way, it’s instant information that I’m always looking for and I always benefit from–especially because it’s information I get to share with my peers that comes from my peers (though, in time and experience, really, my superiors). Which brings me to the point that freelancing–though wallowing in freedom and flexibility–can be quite lonesome. Though, I am living with my fiancee, that isn’t exactly the kind of lonesome I’m talking about.

It isn’t as though I have a water cooler in my kitchen that my editing cohort can surround to pretend enjoying small talk when all we really want to do is talk about our co-workers. You know? So, in an effort to make up for that, I try to follow other editors and writers on Facebook and Twitter. But, sometimes even that source of immediate socializing gratification just isn’t enough. In that case, I’ve begun looking into Editing conferences . . .

Enter stage right . . . the Copyediting newsletter I receive in my email weekly. The most recent one is expanding upon a New Year’s Resolution post on networking by the educational and entertaining Katherine O’Moore-Klopf. Likewise, Erin Brenner consistently provides thoughtful advice and tidbits of trivia that keep me informed and feeling timely. This post is no different.

Brenner presented three upcoming Editing conferences, domestic and international, that would be beneficial for any editor to attend–new or seasoned. Quoted directly from the post, here are the dates and information for each of those conferences:

American Copy Editors Society (ACES), March 26–28, Pittsburgh, PA. If you can attend only one conference this year, this is the one. It’s three full days of sessions and networking events. Several of your favorite Copyediting writers will be there, and Visual Thesaurus’s Ben Zimmer will give the keynote.

Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC), June 12–15, Toronto, Canada. Canada’s editing conference is officially going international. Keynotes will be given by Carol Fisher Saller of The Chicago Manual of Style and Katherine Barber of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Other speakers include Peter Sokolowski of Merriam-Webster and editor extraordinaire John McIntyre. You’ll also get to meet some of Copyediting’s writers. And, yes, Canadians really are as nice as you’ve heard they are.

Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), September 5–7, York, England. Maybe you want to travel a little as well as network. Check out SfEP’s annual conference, which this year is being held in conjunction with the Society of Indexers conference. If you’re interested in indexing or need to network with indexers, or, heck, just want to make it to England, this is the conference for you.

Brenner noted there are other organizations that hold yearly conferences, even though they haven’t released any information regarding those conferences yet. I’ll provide the links here for proper bookmarking: American Society for Business Publication Editors, Communication Central, and Northwest Independent Editor’s Guild. [Update: On October 10, 2015, Northwest Independent Editor’s Guild will host Beyond the Red Pencil.] Be sure to check them regularly for updates!

So, if you’re freelancing like me and feeling kind of lonesome, maybe save up a couple bucks and check out a conference in your specialty. Anyone ever been to a professional conference before? Share your good and bad experiences below; as a conference first-timer, I’d love to hear them!