In the last couple of Tips, I’ve covered different types of copyeditor training and given resources for finding that training. In part one, I reviewed certificate programs and courses. In part two, I covered conferences and other short-form training opportunities. Today, I’ll wrap up this series with some less formal and more flexible training, plus a call to experienced copyeditors.
Maybe there are no course offerings that fit your needs, and conferences and their ilk leave you cold. Try creating your own course of study; there are books and websites aplenty to choose from. Get-It-Done Guy tells you how to create your own program:
- Set out a timeline and get a study group.
- Structure each week with new material and recall.
- Use exercises for applying and practicing the material.
- Get feedback on your progress.
- Concentrate on vocabulary.
Two of my favorite books for studying copyediting are The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn and The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller. But there are more great books out there, such as Copyediting: A Practical Guide and The Handbook for Proofreading, which you can find on this Amazon list.
You can also buy exercise books for practice, but I prefer online exercises because the computer does the grading for me. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab and Capital Community College’s Guide to Grammar and Writing are the best I’ve found. This Editor Training collection lists more, plus links to all kinds of lessons a copyeditor would find valuable.
The best way to learn copyediting is one on one. Anytime someone can review your editing and walk you through errors or missed opportunities is a fantastic learning experience. You can talk through your reasoning with your teacher and find the flaws in it. You’ll develop your approach to editing by learning how other editors approach it. I was fortunate to have such training with one of my managing editors and with some senior editors I worked with at IDC. I can never thank them enough for all the help they gave me when I was starting out.
I fear, though, that this type of training is quickly disappearing. Companies don’t have time or money to train new editors. I don’t know of any internships for copyeditors, although I do know one or two copyeditors who will act as mentors.
Would you be willing to mentor another copyeditor? Any feedback or conversations you have with a mentee helps your mentee grow and helps keep our industry full of capable, quality copyeditors. The relationship can be as formal or informal as you’d like, and you can decide how much time you can afford to give. Maybe it’s just an hour or two a week reviewing someone’s work and giving feedback. Maybe you offer more. Whatever you can do will help another editor reach her goals and will make our industry stronger.
If you’d be willing to share a little of your expertise with a new copyeditor, e-mail me. If I get sufficient responses, I’ll put a call out for those looking for mentors and match people up. And if you know of any internship programs for editors, please add the information to the comments section.
Update: The American Copy Editors Society is looking for a corporate communications intern. While not copyediting, the position is word related and could be a boon for your resumé.
Update: The Amazon list is now defunct. Check out this Goodreads Shelf instead.
Read the whole series