Editing is an ever-changing industry. To stay competitive, language professionals must continuously develop and hone their skills. There are many opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD) out there, but finding time for it can be tricky. In this post, I take a look at the different kinds of CPD and suggest how to make time for ongoing learning.
Conferences are a great way to find out what is new in your industry and to hone your skills. The pandemic has forced many conferences to move online, meaning you can now attend from the comfort of your own home (goodbye travel expenses!). Although we were disappointed not to be able to meet in person, I think we would all agree that SENSE 2020 was a big success. And those of us who attended the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) 2020 conference were similarly impressed with the quality of the sessions and how well the conference had been adapted for an online audience. A big advantage of online conferences is that the sessions are often still available after the event, giving attendees plenty of time to catch up on anything they missed. So why not attend an online conference this year? Here are some examples of what’s on offer:
- ACES: The Society for Editing conference on 22–23 April
- CIEP conference on 11–14 September
- Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET) conference on 14–15 October
- European Association of Science Editors (EASE) conference on 23–24 June.
Training courses are a good way to develop your editing skills. Once you have mastered the core skills, you can start to look for more specialist courses that interest you or are relevant to your work. I edit scientific research papers, so after completing some general copyediting training, the CIEP’s Medical Editing course seemed like a good place to refine my skills. Although some of the course content (such as the academic publishing process, and structure and format of standard research articles) was familiar to me after working as a research scientist, the course was invaluable because it taught me how to approach editing scientific texts methodically and be a more efficient editor. It also highlighted common style issues in medical editing. This specialist training raised my profile as an editor and helped me land jobs as a copyeditor for two medical journals.
Reading books that are relevant to your niche is an easy way to fit valuable CPD into your busy schedule. Books on academic writing give valuable insights into how I can better help my clients with their research writing (They Say/I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, Writing Science in Plain English by Anne E. Greene, Give Readers Nuggets by Ed Hull and Writing Science by Joshua Schimel are some of my favourites), while books about copyediting in general help to identify areas I need to work on (for example, Carol Saller’s The Subversive Copy Editor motivated me to make my editing more efficient by learning how to use Word’s features. Thanks to the CIEP’s course on Word for Practical Editing, I now use macros daily to speed up my editing).
Finding the time
One obstacle to CPD is finding the time to do it. Scheduling regular CPD time around your usual editing/translation work can help; perhaps an hour every morning for reading, or half a day a week to work through an online course. An accountability group of like-minded language professionals can help to keep you on track with your CPD goals.
If, like me, you suddenly found yourself spending hours every day home-schooling small children, taking an online course or scheduling time for reading might seem laughably unrealistic! Thankfully, there are easier ways to squeeze valuable CPD into your busy schedule: listening to podcasts while doing the ironing or spending time interacting in online groups, for example. Scrolling through the Editors Association of Earth Facebook group is a great way to find solutions to problems you didn’t know you had, and The Editing Podcast by Louise Harnby and Denise Cowle is crammed with useful information for writers and editors.
If you have any additional tips for effective CPD, share them in the comments below!