For Laura Bontje, there was no question: if she was going to build a career as a professional editor, then the natural first step was to join Canada’s professional editing association. That said, even though she had been long interested in editing, she came to it in a roundabout way.
After completing a BA in English and Drama (2011), Laura declined admission to an MA in Publishing and Writing, only to spend the next decade wondering “What if?” She worked as an English teacher and library assistant, then moved into fundraising support and non-profit communications. It wasn’t until she was laid off in 2020 that she finally jumped into freelance editing. “I’ve never looked back,” Laura says. “Freelancing isn’t easy, but I’m truly doing what I love.”
Based in London, Ontario, she still edits and writes for non-profits but works mainly with fiction. “I specialize in children’s literature, and it is such a joyful field to work in.” Laura’s own debut picture book, Was It a Cat I Saw?, will be released in 2024.
Soon after joining Editors Canada, Laura began volunteering for The Editors’ Weekly, first as proofreader and now as managing editor. In 2022, Laura brought her grant writing experience to the Editors Canada group working on the creation of a new Canadian English dictionary. “I’ve always had an amateur interest in linguistics,” Laura says. “It’s such a thrill to listen to experts discuss lexicography and Canadian English.”
A parent of two, Laura finds her biggest challenge as an Editors Canada volunteer is time. “It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and desire to take on more. I have to be mindful of my existing commitments,” Laura says. “But freelance editing is a solitary role, and belonging to an editing association helps ground me in a community of my peers.”
The featured volunteer recognizes the contributions of our dedicated people who keep Editors Canada going. Volunteers are the backbone of the association, and we are grateful for the many members and affiliates who answer the call when help is needed.
Want to make a difference in your association? Find out more about volunteering for Editors Canada.~S. Robin Larin