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S. Robin Larin

Why I Chose to Join a Professional Editing Association

A black cat wearing a pair of red glasses sits on a stack of four colourful books.
A black cat wearing a pair of red glasses sits on a stack of four colourful books.
Copyright: selena81

Like many freelance editors, I’m an independent introvert. I prefer a private working environment, forming my own definitions of my editing services and working alone to my own schedule (with regular reminders of break times by my feline editorial assistants). So you’d think I’d turn up my nose at the idea of any need to join a large professional association such as Editors Canada.

You’d be wrong.

When I began pondering freelancing in 2017, one of my first steps was to seek out a local editing group, because I realized I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Yes, pursuing Simon Fraser University’s Editing Certificate would teach me the nuts and bolts of editing materials curated by instructors. But what about the actual lived experience of being an editor? I was leaving behind years of teaching in the private and public sectors. I didn’t know any other editors. How would I know what was happening in the editing industry if I sequestered myself at home? Where would I find editing work? And perhaps most importantly, with whom would I share my love of all things grammatically geeky?

Even an introvert needs fellow travellers.

Fortunately, online searching helped me uncover an organization I had never known existed: Editors Canada. Specifically, my local twig, Editors Hamilton-Halton. After actually getting myself out the door to attend a meeting — always the hardest step for an introvert — I discovered a group of people who welcomed me warmly. And they actually liked talking language, such as whether to use the Oxford comma or how so many writing “rules” are really stylistic conventions (the English teacher in me shuddered in self-reproach).

Taking that first step opened the door to a world of opportunities and resources, friendships and referrals. My Editors Canada membership helped me refine my editorial interests (fiction, especially children’s) and pursue further professional development (webinars galore!). It even helped me find my very first paying job via the Online Directory of Editors (someone wanted to hire me! To edit their book! Wow!).

And I have been able to give back to the Editors Canada community in return. I have volunteered on the Editors Hamilton-Halton executive, on the student relations committee, as featured volunteer coordinator and profile writer and, most recently, as session host and speaker at the 2023 Editors Canada conference. I’m grateful for all the benefits my Editors Canada membership provides — conferences, publications, The Chicago Manual of Style online (free!) — and I’m pleased to be part of the vast reserves of volunteers who make it all happen.

That’s why I’m proud to display my Editors Canada membership on my website and on social media. Doing so conveys to potential clients my commitment to professional editing standards and often draws the attention of writers specifically seeking a Canadian editor. But it also allows me to highlight — and thank — the association that started me down this satisfying career path trodden by so many before me.

Because even we introverts with feline editorial assistants need our fellow travellers.


Previous post from S. Robin Larin: Ask an Award Winner: An Interview with Naomi Racz

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