I tend to be skeptical of the value of Facebook groups and reticent to invest time in them. But it turns out, I have nothing against Facebook groups. I just needed to find the right ones. I needed to discover the internet havens where editors can show their true colours without fear.
In the early days of the pandemic, I joined several groups, including the Editors Canada members-only group and the Editors’ Association of Earth (EAE). The latter has several offshoot groups, my favourite being the EAE Backroom. It’s intended for light-hearted fun and personal stories that invite either celebration or commiseration.
In a post on this blog, Brendan O’Brien said that the EAE values collegiality, inclusiveness and tolerance. “For EAE, the enemy is rigidity and meanness of spirit — not authors,” he wrote. From my experience, the group succeeds in upholding these standards.
Admittedly, I’m a lurker rather than an active member. I admire those who are willing to joke about their inexperience or mistakes. I’m too scared of asking dumb questions. But I’m grateful for the many who bite the bullet and ask anyway for the benefit of the rest of us.
Many smart, thoughtful editors contribute to these pages. As they’ve shared pieces of their backgrounds and experiences, I’ve realized how many roads can lead to becoming a professional editor. Their personal stories have helped to chip away at my imposter syndrome.
Here are three take-aways I’ve gleaned from these editors’ Facebook groups:
Invoicing and rates advice
If you’re a newer editor or you want perspective on how your pricing compares to others, searching related keywords in these groups brings up a wealth of information. I’ve appreciated input from editors on ways to charge for projects, how to interact with clients about payments and best practices for laying out the terms of a project before starting.
One editor suggested Natural Voice, an online tool that reads text aloud while highlighting each word. For final edits, I find a fresh voice — even an automated one — helps me hear the text differently and catch smaller errors. It has a free version for personal use.
Online course on Indigenous history in Canada
Another editor posted about a course called Indigenous Canada. This free, non-certificate course is offered by the University of Alberta through Coursera. The course explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. I took it last summer and am still mulling over everything I learned.
On the more cathartic side, I’ve spent many minutes enjoying lively anecdotes and editing-related memes shared in the EAE Backroom. The friendly, supportive environment makes asking questions accessible; the advice given is down-to-earth and often humourous. With all the difficulty and stress caused by COVID-19, these communities of editors are needed now more than ever.
Do you have a favourite tool you learned about or piece of advice you received from an online editing community? Feel free to share in the comments so we can all learn!
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