Alexandra Peace is a freelance editor, proofreader, and indexer who currently serves as co-coordinator of Editors Nova Scotia, a regional “twig” of Editors Canada. She is also co-president of the Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI). In 2015 she received the President’s Award for Volunteer Service from Editors Canada, and in 2016, the President’s Award for service from the Indexing Society of Canada.
CMOS: Who belongs to Editors Nova Scotia?
AP: We have just over thirty members. We have some in-house editors, some student affiliates, and a lot of freelance editors. However, our events are open to nonmembers, so some people who come out regularly aren’t Editors Canada members.
CMOS: Many of our readers might not be familiar with Nova Scotia. Does your location in the furthest reaches of North America present any special challenges for freelance editors? Any advantages? Has this changed over the years?
AP: It has indeed changed. Because most work is online now, our geographical location isn’t an impediment anymore. It’s possible for us to compete for jobs across Canada, the US, and the UK. We can meet colleagues and clients by Skype or Zoom. However, living in Nova Scotia does mean that it’s expensive to get out to conferences across Canada. And we’re far from each other. I live an hour and a half’s drive from Halifax, where many of the members of my group live.
But Wolfville is a great town with a small university and lots of locally grown food, and it’s rich in music, art, civic responsibility, and volunteerism. I have better high-speed internet than most people in the cities!
CMOS: Do you have a formal structure, with officers, or are you an informal group?
AP: Julia Cochrane and I are the coordinators, and lots of other people help out. We have three sorts of regular events:
- A group of us from the Wolfville area have been meeting every month for lunch for years.
- We are now on our second year of offering quarterly events in the Halifax area. For the first year, they were just social events, but we have now added a professional development section. We rent a room, hold a meeting, and discuss a particular topic. We’ve been trying to include off-site people by using video-conferencing software, though we’ve had mixed results.
- Finally, twice a year, we try to hold full-day workshops.
CMOS: What kinds of topics do you discuss?
AP: Our last few workshops included Microsoft Word styles and templates with Martha Hickman Hild, intermediate copyediting with Elizabeth d’Anjou, grammar boot camp with Frances Peck, and plain language with Diane Macgregor.
Our first two professional development meetings focused on the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style and conference sessions from the Editors Canada 2017 conference. We’re hoping to talk about copyright issues at the next one.
CMOS: Those are serious undertakings—worthy of a much larger association. Do you also meet more socially?
AP: Absolutely. We meet at restaurants for the monthly Wolfville lunches, and we go out for dinner after both the professional development meetings and the workshops. When we go out for dinner, the association usually pays for a round of appetizers and then everyone buys their own dinners.
CMOS: What would you say are the greatest benefits of having a local editors group?
AP: I think I can speak for the entire group in saying the benefits are collegiality, friendship, learning, laughing, local knowledge, and access to national and international opportunities.
Photos: Alexandra Peace, by Ethan Lawrence; workshop with Elizabeth d’Anjou, by Alexandra Peace; an Editors Nova Scotia lunch, courtesy Alexandra Peace. Map: Nova Scotia peninsula within Canada, Nova_Scotia, Canada.svg, EOZyo (derivative work by Olos88).
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