If you’ve ever attended the national editors conference, you’ll know that it’s two full days of intensive professional development and inspiration, in addition to the various networking and social events. With so much action packed into such a short time, it can be tiring (getting a good night’s sleep is essential!). So why might you spend extra time (and money) on a pre-conference workshop?

Let’s workshop it!

“Attending workshops beats reading textbooks or surfing the web,” says Maryna Mews, one of the powerhouse organisers on our conference organising committee.

And with the pre-conference workshops ranging “from editing popular commercial fiction to mastering macros”, there’s something for (almost) everyone on offer in May 2019.

One of the main benefits of workshops is that they offer “a great opportunity to delve into a topic in greater depth; and learn from an expert, says Margie Beilharz, who attended the thesis editing workshop at the 2017 Brisbane conference. With participant numbers capped and a runtime of over three hours, attending a workshop offers you the access and scope to really dig into the subject at hand.

“It’s great to draw on the knowledge of the trainer, but I’m continually surprised by how much I learn from the other people in the room.”

Speaking of hands, workshops are also very ‘hands on’, with exercises, activities, discussion and sometimes even homework! Our legal issues for professional editors workshop, for instance, will run a free legal advice clinic for participants, giving you the chance to speak confidentially with a lawyer about your specific circumstance and legal questions.

Two women at a table, one with her hand raised to ask a question
Photo: rawpixel

The hands-on nature and small size of the workshops also fosters deeper social interaction than is possible in conference sessions. Among the benefits highlighted by Brisbane participants were the discovery that others faced the same challenges and concerns, and the workshops providing opportunity to discuss those issues with one another, face to face.

This is especially pertinent for those of us who work freelance, as Jane Fitzpatrick AE learned: “Freelance editing is rewarding, but I miss the water-cooler chat,” she says. Workshop “training gives me a chance to come out of my bunker, develop new skills and keep in touch with industry developments.”

“The presenter broke the ice with a fun game that got us talking to each other … and kick-started networking opportunities.”

Jo Vabolis AE attended two workshops at the 2017 conference, both of which she found to be excellent, but she “particularly enjoyed the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ with the content and learn new skills. It was also great to chat with fellow editors and make new contacts,” she adds.

Getting hands-on and making new contacts also appealed to Lorna Hendry AE, who notes that “attending a workshop the day before the conference started in earnest was a great way to ease into the networking side of things, and also a strong reminder of why I was attending in the first place: to learn new skills, meet new people and focus on developing my editing business in a strategic manner.”

a woman about to place a Post-It note on a wall, in front of two seated colleagues

Photo: rawpixel

The smaller group size and structured format of workshop training is also a bonus for editors who identify as introverts as well as conference newbies or anyone whose gut instinct is to run away at even the mention of networking:

“First stop for my very first IPEd conference was a workshop about structural editing in fiction,” says Patrice Shaw. “The presenter broke the ice with a fun game that got us talking to each other and set the tone for the rest of the workshop. As well as [offering] vital information about the topic, it kick-started networking opportunities.”

The value of such networking opportunities is also recognised by our presenters. Peter Riches, who will present the workshop on tendering for government work, is always impressed by what he can learn from his peers when attending professional workshops. “It’s great to draw on the knowledge of the trainer, but I’m continually surprised by how much I learn from the other people in the room,” he says.

Choosing the right workshop for you

In 2019, the workshops day is split into two half-day sessions, with three workshops on offer per session. Structure the day to suit your needs and interests by booking into a workshop in each session. For example, learn how to successfully tender for government work in the morning then find out how to increase your income with Money Matters.

Or maybe you’d prefer to pair Legal Issues for Professional Editors with Publication Ethics and Plagiarism. Want to break into editing commercial popular fiction? Pair that with Mastering Macros in the afternoon.

If you don’t want to fill your day with workshops, that’s fine too. You’re welcome to join us for a morning workshop then spend the afternoon exploring our beautiful city, or to ease into your stay with a delicious brunch (you’ve not done Melbourne until you’ve brunched in Melbourne!) followed by an afternoon workshop.

Post-It Notes on a wall
Photo: Kelly Sikkema

Tell me more

You can find all the details on the Workshops page, but if you’re short on time we’ve prepared a quick snapshot:

  • Tendering for Government Work, presented by Peter Riches, director of technical writing and editing firm Red Pony. Peter has successfully tendered for work with numerous state and federal government agencies, and in this workshop he will give you practical tips on how to meet the RFT requirements that are unique to public-sector projects.
  • Editing Commercial Popular Fiction, presented by Kate Cuthbert, the award-winning founder and managing editor of Harlequin Australia’s genre romance imprint, Escape Publishing. Kate loves popular commercial fiction because “it prioritises reading for fun and pleasure, and because it uses and transcends its frameworks to reflect the best and worst of humanity back to ourselves”. Through real-world examples and hands-on exercises, Kate will introduce you to the genre and the principles of editing within readers’ horizon of expectations.
  • Money Matters: How to Increase Your Income by Understanding Your Mindset, presented by Dr Malini Devadas, an IPEd Accredited Editor who runs her own editing and writing coaching business. Aware that mindset is often the biggest obstacle for most sole traders, Malini will help you understand how to value your own skills, develop a marketing plan, work out what you need to charge per hour (at a minimum) and more. “I can’t wait to help more editors increase their income,” says Malini. “So many editors struggle to find clients and charge decent rates. By exploring their mindset, they will discover what has been holding them back and what they need to do differently to grow their business and earn more money.”
  • Mastering Macros: Unlocking the Full Potential of Word, presented by Kevin O’Brien, managing editor at Scribe Publications and a Microsoft Word expert and prolific macro-writer with nearly 20 years of professional experience. Kevin’s workshop will give you a solid knowledge of the most powerful time-saving feature of Word: the ability to set it on ‘auto-pilot’ while you focus on the more interesting aspects of editing.
  • Publication Ethics and Plagiarism, presented by Dr Tomas Zahora, a research and learning coordinator at Monash University Library who teaches writing, critical thinking and communication skills. In this workshop, Tomas will focus on current and emerging ethical issues relevant to editors (in-house and freelance), publishers, authors and other interested parties. As Tomas notes, “the increasing demand on researchers to publish and win grants under relentless pressure simply to maintain their jobs has resulted in a range of creative solutions. Many of them push the boundaries of intellect and imagination; some push the boundaries of accepted notions of authorship, plagiarism, and publication ethics. Awareness and discussion of these new developments has seldom been so important to editors.”

All pre-conference workshops will run on Wednesday 8 May 2019. Registrations for the workshops are now open, and the cost includes morning or afternoon tea (each workshop will contain a 30-minute refreshment break). The workshop cost does not include registration to attend the conference itself (9–10 May).

If you are already registered for the conference, please email iped@conlog.com.au to register for a pre-conference workshop. If you wish to register for the conference as well as the workshops in one action, simply go to the registration page.

Don’t forget that workshop places are limited, so if you don’t want to miss out Maryna has some advice for you: “Do check them out and enrol but hurry as they’re booking up fast!”