Last week, we talked about why freelance editors should attend their clients’ conferences. This week I’ll cover why editors should attend conferences dedicated to editors and the craft of editing.
Always Be Learning
It’s easy to get complacent in our work and think we don’t need to learn anything new. But some grammar rules are in flux, style manuals update their guidelines, and technology tools change quickly. Regular conference attendance will keep you up to date on skills, developments in the field, and opportunities. Continual learning and professional development should be part of your career plan.
If you are employed as an editor, you can bring this valuable information back to your workplace and share it, which positions you as an expert and leader. If you are a freelancer, you will certainly find some new tools, techniques, and topics to boost your skills.
Tip: When attending any conference, take along two index cards. Label one of them “Love it! Do it NOW!” Label the other “Like it! Do it later!” When you hear things you want to take action on, write a reminder on the appropriate cards. When traveling home, you can review your top ideas without having to scramble around in your notes or handouts.
Meeting a bunch of like-minded editors in one place offers great opportunities for networking—and not just for your next job or freelance client. You might find collaborators for projects, referral partners for business, and other freelancers or working editors in a similar career stage for a mastermind group.
You will meet and learn from people you admire and leaders in publishing. You will certainly make many new friends. That may not be a monetary payoff to going to a conference, but it is a powerful thing to “find your tribe” among a large group of your peers.
Tip: Read “How to Hand Out Business Cards.”
There are long-term payoffs to regular conference attendance. Relationships that are begun or cemented with in-person meetings can lead to wonderful career and business growth down the road. My mastermind group was informally organized with people I admired online and then met in real life at conferences.
I hear two common objections to conference attendance, and both are valid:
- I don’t have the money. Once you add travel, lodging, and registration, you might be dropping a wad of cash on conference attendance. Look at it as an investment in your career. Ask your employer if they’re willing to pay for you to attend. If you’re a freelancer, you can write the trip off as a business expense. Don’t try to go to every conference every time. Plan strategically.
- I don’t have the time. Not every editor can put aside daily work to go to a conference. Some editors squeeze in work around breaks and while in transit. Again, look at this as an investment in your career. Time away from the daily grind can be intellectually refreshing and can spur some creativity!
Attending a conference for editors can boost your career, often in unforeseen ways. Once you feel confident attending, you can present at conferences yourself. Speaking positions you as an expert to other attendees, employers, and clients. It’s tempting to look for a the most immediate payoff from conferences, but I encourage you to take the longer view.
Copyediting is proud to sponsor several editors’ conferences this year, including ACES 2016, Editors Canada 2016, and EFA 2016!