National e-news update, October 20, 2016

News, events, tips and updates from Editors Canada

In this issue:

1. CERTIFICATION: Sharpen your test-taking skills
2. KAREN VIRAG AWARD: Nancy Flight acceptance speech
3. WEBSITE: Updated launches October 26
4. MEMBER SERVICES: Staples Advantage discount is back
5. VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: Leslie Vryenhoek
6. GET INVOLVED: Volunteer opportunities to boost your resumé
7. CONFERENCE 2017: Session ideas and proposals wanted!
8. MEMBER NEWS: A round of applause!

1. CERTIFICATION: Sharpen your test-taking skills

Sign up for this year’s certification exams before it’s too late! Registration closes October 28.

Date: Saturday, November 19
Exams: Proofreading and structural editing (copy editing and stylistic editing will be offered again in 2017)
Locations: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax

Has it been a few years since you’ve written a formal exam? Mitigate the factors that can throw you off your game by brushing up on your test-taking skills.

“Failing a test doesn’t mean people are bad editors,” explains certification steering committee co-chair Anne Brennan, CPE. “The exam setting adds an extra dimension of stress to an editing task. Simulating the test while studying—practising hard-copy markup or imposing a three-hour time limit—can be a great way to help people to cope with their nerves on exam day.”

Prepare mentally and physically

  • Choose a technique to help you relax and focus (for example, deep breathing), and practise it.
  • Pack the books and tools you need the night before.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Wear comfortable clothes so you can concentrate on the test.
  • Know where you’re going—and arrive on time!

Writing the test

  • Before you begin, read the instructions carefully.
  • Budget your time, and keep an eye on your watch. Allow yourself time to review your exam before you hand it in.
  • Be neat. Ensure your markup is legible.
  • If you get stuck on a question, move on and return to it later—working through the test may inspire your answer.
  • Use the time allotted. There’s no reward for finishing first.

2. KAREN VIRAG AWARD: Nancy Flight acceptance speech

Earlier this month, we announced Nancy Flight of Vancouver, BC, as the recipient of the inaugural Karen Virag Award. This award recognizes exceptional efforts by an individual or organization to raise the profile of editing in their community, and is named for a highly accomplished member of the Editors’ Association of Canada (Editors Canada) who died in 2014.

We’re pleased to share Nancy’s acceptance speech with you.

“I am thrilled to be the inaugural winner of the Karen Virag Award, and I thank the nominators, West Coast Editorial Associates, and the distinguished judges on the awards committee for this honour. Karen was a brilliant editor and communicator, a wonderful person, and a good friend of mine, so I am doubly honoured and touched.

I have always loved editing books and working with authors, but it has been a special privilege to share that love with students, newcomers to the profession and others. I have been so inspired and impressed by those I have taught and have learned so much from them. They have enriched my life and aided my own work immeasurably.

It has also been important to me to raise the profile of editors, which I have tried to do through teaching, sitting on panels, giving talks to various groups, and otherwise being visible rather than invisible. I have always loved Max Perkins’s description of an editor as “a little dwarf on the shoulders of a great general advising him what to do and what not to do, without anyone’s noticing”—but at the same time I believe in promoting the important work that editors do and doing what I can to dispel our image as unobtrusive dwarves or stern taskmasters or patient probers or any of the other rather unglamorous monikers that have attached themselves to us, and to imbue our image with just a little fun and perhaps a soupçon of glamour. At least we can wear some nice shoes and earrings while we are sitting on that general’s shoulder.

It has been wonderful to be part of this great enterprise for almost 44 years, and it is wonderful to receive this award. Thank you.”

Congratulations, Nancy!

Want to learn more about our national awards and scholarship? Visit Editors Canada awards.

3. WEBSITE: Updated launches October 26

Our updated website is nearly here! We have currently frozen the site so our web developer and staff can put the finishing touches on our updated site. Look for our updated home on the web Wednesday, October 26. Many thanks to all of the testers and the members who took a look at the beta site and gave us some great feedback during the preview period.

4. MEMBER SERVICES: Staples Advantage discount is back

If you looked for our Staples Advantage discount for members recently, you may have noticed it was temporarily unavailable. We’re pleased to announce this discount is back and it’s better than ever. Staples has added many more items to the core list of items offered exclusively to Editors Canada members at a discount. Visit our Staples Advantage page to learn more.

Want to know more about exclusive Editors Canada discounts and services? Visit the member services page.

5. VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: Leslie Vryenhoek

Headshot of Leslie Vryenhoek

Writer and communications professional Leslie Vryenhoek turned to editing later in her career, when she realized that an increasing amount of her work involved improving other writers’ texts. She joined Editors Newfoundland and Labrador four years ago, when the twig organized a professional development and social networking event for local editors. She saw the event as a chance to reduce the isolation of her work, and she stayed on with the association.

Although she has a number of other commitments that can make finding time for volunteering hard, she always tries to participate in twig meetings and sessions because she finds the information and social connections to be rewarding. The twig’s small size requires all members to help run the program of events. Leslie does her part by attending meetings and brainstorming sessions, taking notes, managing and updating the twig’s website, and occasionally booking speakers and making arrangements. She’s also presented a session called “Short Cuts: Editing to Any Length” and led an Editors Talk Shop session on dealing with difficult clients.

Her most memorable volunteer experience involves a session where editors and authors came together to discuss their experiences of editing a novel. It was an interesting session for Leslie in that it let her think about editing from the author’s side. She enjoys helping to plan the twig events because she can suggest sessions that address an issue she’s having or a topic she wants to learn more about.

Much of Leslie’s work has been for non-profit organizations, especially educational institutions and international relief and development groups. She also edits fiction and non-fiction for publishing houses and individual authors who intend to self-publish their work. Between her work, family, book tours, writing festivals and research trips, she spends many weeks each year travelling.

The volunteer of the month highlights the dedicated people who keep Editors Canada going. Volunteers are the backbone of the association. We are grateful for the many members and affiliates who answer the call when help is needed. Visit the Members’ Area for more information about actively participating in the association.

6. GET INVOLVED: Volunteer opportunities to boost your resumé

Are you looking for valuable experience and accomplishments to highlight on your CV? Here are some Editors Canada opportunities that are available today.

Continuity Officer

An exciting opportunity exists to build your management experience! Recognizing the importance of managing our corporate memory, the national executive council is looking for a continuity officer to lead a team to work on several tasks. We have a very capable indexer in place and some of the work has already begun. There are other components to this complex project and you and your team will be tasked with helping us make informed decisions about how we proceed. If you are interested in volunteering to manage this project or want to find out more about this opportunity, we’d love to hear from you. Please send an email to

Chair, Francophone Affairs Committee

We want to do more to support our francophone membership. To do so, we need a chair (or two co-chairs) for the francophone affairs committee. (Fluently bilingual members are welcome to be chair/co-chairs!) This committee already has four members. The members of the committee will help come up with ideas and work on the projects it decides to execute (e.g., completing the final stages of French-language promotional material, such as brochures and posters the committee began working on last year). If you’re interested, please contact Marie-Christine Payette.

7. CONFERENCE 2017: Session ideas and proposals wanted!

June 2017 may seem very far in the future now, but conference planning is already in progress, and the organizing team would like to hear from members about what kinds of sessions you’d like to attend in Ottawa–Gatineau. Whether you’d like to see a particular speaker or instructor, a specific topic or an area of editing covered, let us know at! The 2017 conference theme is Guardians of the Lexicons.

We’ll also be seeking session proposals from potential session speakers soon, so keep an eye out for that message if you’re hoping to present a session at the conference!

The Editors Canada conference is of, by and for our members, so make your voice heard now and be a part of what makes the 2017 conference amazing! We can’t wait to hear your ideas and suggestions.

We’re also pleased to announce that some website content for the 2017 conference is now live, as are our Facebook page and Twitter account! More information will be added regularly, so follow us and check back for news as it happens!

8. MEMBER NEWS: A round of applause!

Editors Manitoba member Melody Rogan has won first place in the Marie Barton Postcard Fiction Award held by The Writers’ Collective of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Do you have an achievement you’d like to share? Are you excited about a new project or opportunity that has come your way? We’d love to hear from you! Please send your stories to the member news coordinator. Each item will be posted on our website and will be included in the Editors Canada e-news updates.

The national e-news update is produced on behalf of the national executive council by the national office.

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