10 September 2008

A moan* of editors

Garblage warning: I'm tired. Apologies in advance for typos and general ramblingness.

It's September and that means it's time for the annual gathering of the SfEP. I almost didn't go this year but had my arm twisted by the organisers, who wanted me to present something. Copy-editors and proofreaders tend to be seen as rather staid, possibly because many of us live with a level of pedantry akin to borderline OCD. I don't mean that we are inflexible about language rules, more that it's hard for us to resist whipping out a pen in a restaurant and correcting the typos on the menu.

Put more than 100 of us together for 2 and a bit days and, well, you can probably imagine what a lot of the conversations might be like. However, we do like to have fun. And while some of the older, more staid members are indeed likely to toddle off to bed at 10pm after a small sherry, there's enough of us who are bit more rock 'n' roll about staying up drinking beyond chucking-out time. So quite a few of us are probably coping with extended hangovers just now. I certainly didn't relish falling into my own bed back at home last night at midnight, then having to get up at 6.30 this morning to edit for an overseas client on a major time difference...

But I digress. there was a lot to pack in over the 2 and a bit days, what with workshops, seminars, guest lecturers (including the very wonderful David Crystal, our VP and witty speaker) and entertainments. I prepared nothing in advance for my slot, because I'm like that - I like to just run with something. And as I was doing a live on the net demo, it didn't need a lot of prepping. Although I could have done without the hangover from the previous night's bar antics. As usual, I failed to win anything on the raffle but I did come home with a nice mug and a book.

What I most enjoy about events like this is the opportunity to take a break from work and let my hair down among friends and colleagues while learning new things. One workshop I sat in consisted of a collective brainstorm to share useful resources such as online specialist dictionaries. You don't know what you don't know until you sit down with others who know things and offer them to you freely.

Now I'm home - the cat has pissed on the mat to show his displeasure at being left to fend for himself (with only a neighbour between him and starvation), I have 7 messages on my ansaphone, a mountain of post and a very full inbox. Normal life - hello!



* As far as I know editors have no collective noun - moan was recently suggested by a colleague and rather appropriate it is too...

4 comments:

Anne said...

A moan of copy editors or subeditors. A flatplan of magazine editors. And a spike of newspaper editors!

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Ooh I like those! Great suggestions.

The Bureauista said...

There was drinking and revelry? This was my first SfEP conference and I only stayed for the Monday day sessions - very useful they were too. Maybe I'll do the whole thing next year.

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Aha! Surely the whole point of a conference is the drinking and revelry? You didn't think we actually go to work and learn, did you?

Just teasing. But seriously, it's the after-hours stuff that often makes it all worthwhile. Friendships forged, secrets swapped, antics hushed up next day...