Having been a teacher for nearly a decade now, I value continuous professional development highly. I need those pockets of quietly sitting down and listening to other professionals speak about new work techniques, ways of dealing with troublesome software, clients, or grammar, and methods for getting through the work week with all your hair and social connections intact. Their words resonate with my concerns and provide me with solutions or at the least solace.

As my young editing business grows, I am starting to find the support of the professional editing community indispensable. There are so many channels to connecting with other editors: associations, organisations, social media communities, forums. Over the past year I have tried out most of them, and so far been happiest at CIEP.

The Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders is a British organisation that has been around for a long time, and which has recently gone online in a big way due to the pandemic. My first encounter with it was at the 2020 conference, which was online, making it possible for me to participate directly from my office in Malta. I was impressed at the immediate usefulness of the presented content, and at the friendliness of the editing community attending. Fast forward a year, and I am now an entry-level member of CIEP, attending (more or less) regularly the weekly online meetings for members, and working through a couple of training programmes.

So when the dates for CIEP2021 conference were announced, they went in my calendar immediately, as I looked forward to learning more about my profession. The CIEP did not disappoint.

This year the conference was a work of art, with parallel sessions to allow for audience choice, and a separate app for networking for those who crave the coffee-break contact of physical conferences. Four days of talks, speed networking, and additional Wonder app networking conversation, all supported by Twitter chats and LinkedIn posts as the audience shared the highlights of the conference with their peers.

I missed some parts of the conference due to my teaching commitments, but I attended the first speed networking event on the Saturday. It was nerve-racking at first, although the regular Cloud Club West meetings have prepared me for it better than I could have expected – personal introductions in 10 seconds or less are a skill. I met a good number of interesting people from a variety of backgrounds and have some fun.

This year’s conference was rich and varied – even more so than last year’s, which I had thought brilliant. Some of the talks I attended in real time included topics like building a marketing mindset (Malini Devadas), tips on carrying out developmental edits (Sophie Playle; Louise Harnby), easy English (Cathy Basterfield), using Word Styles (Jill French), using LinkedIn productively (John Espirian), and making blogging work for your business (Liz Jones, Claire Bacon and Kia Thomas).

The key to making blogging work for you is to show the world who you are, and show authors you’re human and understand their doubts and concerns. There is no point in trying to be liked by everyone – that results in bland, unremarkable copy. Instead, write what comes naturally, and make it original through your spin on it, and accept that if someone doesn’t like your blog, they probably shouldn’t work with you.

Beyond those, there were also 2 sessions by Crystal Shelley, one on authenticity reading and one on conscious language, both fascinating and eye-opening to the way others can perceive what we consider everyday, innocuous language.

The Lightning Talks were great fun: 6 5-minute presentations, on topics as varied as “Editors are powerful” (E? Nao), the Korean alphabet and language (John Ingamells), and historical re-enactment (Michelle Ward).

I found the conference to be a great way to network with other editors, learn more about the craft, and increase and reinforce my knowledge. Quality conferences recharge me for the year to come. As a fitting end to this post, I give you the Chairman’s opening words which, as they often do, made the listeners tear up a little: https://blog.ciep.uk/ciep2021/

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