I have not yet reported on my new(ish) membership of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (effective as of March). This UK-based organization has members all over the globe and offers many benefits to editors, including a wide range of courses and many (local) events to attend. Seeing as I’m based in Europe for now, it made sense to join an association located next door with events that are only a train or boat ride away (I’m trying not to fly within Europe; more in this below).
What I especially like about the SfEP is its focus on training and community. Let me say something about training first. The SfEP offers training in core and editorial skills and for in-house editors. Members can obtain different grades of membership: Entry, Intermediate, Professional, and Advanced Professional, dependent on the amount of training they have completed and their work experience. Only members who have obtained the last two grades can advertise their services in the SfEP directory.
I think this thorough vetting process lends a lot of credibility to the SfEP and its members. I am currently an Entry-level member but am planning to upgrade to Intermediate soon (I should have enough training points by now). I will probably take the “Brush Up Your Grammar” course (next to my ongoing coursework at Queens University) and am planning to reach the Professional level as soon as I can.
The second thing that’s great about the SfEP is its focus on community. The society has a very active forum for members, with all kinds of topics relevant to editors. There’s a dedicated forum for newbies, a main forum to discuss matters related to editing and proofreading, an off-topic forum, a marketplace… There are also a large number of local groups in the UK (and one in Toronto), which organize monthly meet-ups and events dedicated to discussing matters relevant to our profession. For those of us who are located outside the UK/Toronto, there is Cloud Club. This is a forum and monthly virtual meet-up for those who cannot attend in person, run from Toronto by the lovely Janet MacMillan.
Apart from local events, there’s an annual conference in September and an assortment of “mini-conferences” throughout the year. I’m attending a mini-conference in Newcastle at the end of this month, which I’m traveling to by boat. Everyone I have told about this has snickered and told me that the ferry in question, which runs between Amsterdam and Newcastle, is a notorious party boat full of English stag dos and hen nights. I’m worried. I pictured myself sitting on a calm deck with my book and a cocktail, not dodging projectile-vomiting youngsters. My potentially disastrous trip has become somewhat of a running gag among editors in the forum and on Twitter. I hope I can prove everyone wrong and that my two nights on this ferry will be blissfully uneventful…
No matter how my trip there will go, the mini-conference is going to be great, with lots of info on how to market your business, how to edit more effectively, and much more. To my great honor, I’ve been asked to write a blog post about the conference once I’m back, so you will hear more about it in a few weeks!