When I joined the CIEP in January, lots of people told me about the value of their annual conference. Seeing as it was online this year, it was easy for me to attend. I expected to pick up some tips and maybe meet a couple of new people. However, I was unprepared for just how much I got out of it.
The event ran from Saturday the 11th to Tuesday the 14th of September. As well as plenty of amazing talks from industry pros, it featured a range of opportunities to network with other editorial freelancers. There was also a quiz on Monday evening.
The webinars are available for attendees to watch again, which I’m really glad about. I’ve already learned so much from the speakers, but I’ll need to go over them in future to get their full benefits. There were talks on developmental editing, narrative distance, conscious and inclusive editing, writing for people with low literacy levels, blogging, marketing, LinkedIn and more. Some of these helped me think about how I can improve the running of my proofreading business. Others taught me how to approach my work with the needs of a wider range of readers in mind. All of them pointed me to resources to further my knowledge.
The networking sessions were just as good as the webinars. Some of them were themed around specific topics (e.g. fiction editing); there were also speed networking sessions on Saturday and Sunday. I met so many people, making friends and learning from their expertise. The most valuable thing I took away was that others struggle with the same things I do. I met some editors and proofreaders who’ve worked for decades, and many said they still deal with imposter syndrome, or worry about a comment upsetting a client. It was lovely to find out that the CIEP contains a large number of musicians too.
And then there was the Wonder room. This functioned as the online equivalent of the coffee lounge or bar at an in-person conference. Despite some technical issues it proved very popular. At one point I joined a group that contained several members of the CIEP council. For a few minutes I was the only other person there! This could have been terrifying, but they were all so welcoming. Louise Harnby and Denise Cowle told some hilarious stories about their interactions over the years, and everyone was so friendly.
The quiz was great too. This was done over Zoom, and hosted by conference director Beth Hamer. We were sorted into random teams and put into breakout rooms once each round’s questions had been read out. Again, it was a chance to meet some other editors and proofreaders, but it was mainly a chance to relax and enjoy ourselves. Our team in Room 5 (we chose the name The Fifth in their Element) had far too much fun, and there was plenty of laughter. Seeing as I’m terrible at quizzes, it was no surprise that we placed last. It was still a blast though, and I’m smiling at the memories as I type this. (The highlight for me was having no idea about an answer and suggesting Zorro, which turned out to be right!)
In short, the conference made me feel like I belonged. It made me want to further my knowledge, and get more involved with the editorial community. I’m sad it’s over, but I’m already looking forward to next year!