The SfEP/SI joint conference, September 2015
Posted on 19th October 2015
York was where it was all happening this year, the University of York to be precise. A good crowd of proofreaders, editors and indexers descended from 5—7 September to hold the SfEP annual conference and the first joint conference with the Society of Indexers. The weekend promised some good sessions as well as a chance to catch up with colleagues who I only get to email and facebook throughout the year.
Bar getting lost on the way to register(!), the journey over was uneventful. (Let’s not talk about toiletries and hand-luggage restrictions. :-( ) In fact, it was made all the better because I and another colleague were picked up at the airport by a fellow conference attendee, which made for a good couple of hours of a car journey filled with chat. Three females in a car, and, as you can probably guess, we barely drew breath!
I thought I’d give you a snippet on the highlights of the conference for me.
1. The excellent sessions: with over a hundred people to cater for I’m sure it’s very difficult to get sessions organised to suit everyone, but I really got a lot out of the sessions I attended. Kathleen Lyle and Anne Waddingham gave a session on using Word professionally. Although I can use the basics in Word, I wouldn’t be the most tech-savvy of people, and I don’t work as efficiently as I could on-screen. This little confidence booster encouraged me to not be so afraid to try new things, after all I can always Ctrl + Z to undo!
John Espirian and Margaret Hunter conducted an excellent session on digital tools for the freelancer. I came away with lots of free apps that I can use to help me work faster and more efficiently. Check out Toggl, TransferWise and LinkChecker to name a few.
I really enjoy proofreading fiction and I’m thinking of heading down the route of fiction editing, so a structural editing session by Allyson Latta was a real eye opener. I was proofreading a fiction manuscript around the time I attended the conference and I was able to use her notes to give the author better feedback on his writing.
2. The gala dinner: oh, what a giggle! A lovely meal, a great table of people to chat to and a wonderful after-dinner speech by David Crystal. It was lovely to see everyone scrubbed up in their finery, and a new tradition was started with the wearing of tiaras. (A Facebook conversation about how fabulous editors are resulted in tiaras being worn to a conference held in Canada in June, and, not to be outdone, some SfEP members decided to follow the theme through to our conference. There’s talk of adding to the theme next year with something for the menfolk to wear too, although John Espirian did look rather fetching in Rachel Hamar’s tiara!)
3. Colleagues: what really makes the conference, and why I try to go every year, is meeting up with colleagues. Working freelance from home can be a kind of isolating experience, and it’s nice to know that somewhere beyond my four walls of a study are other editorial professionals doing what I do. It can be invigorating to connect and discuss issues relevant to work … and some not so relevant to work! And it’s lovely to meet new people and discover what they do on a day-to-day basis. It’s also great to network and hand out business cards. You never know when a colleague might send work your way, or when you could send work in the other direction.
Next year’s conference is in Birmingham and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll make it over for that!