ACES 2012 | New Orleans

Advice from Small Staffs Forum

About 20 copy editors who work for organizations with small editing staffs got together Thursday to discuss the unique issues facing them at work and to share ideas and solutions.

Some of the advice editors at the ACES Small Staffs Forum shared was:

• Learn when to say “no.”
• Deal with stress by learning how to balance your life and work (with suggestions to look to exercise or meditation for assistance).
• Develop cheat sheets on what you do so that others can step in and do your job if you are away.
• Be more assertive with management if you aren’t getting what you need to do the job.
• Underscore your value in the office by doing things that draw attention to your skills. One idea was sending out “words to watch,” a list of words that are commonly misspelled or misused as an educational tool for the writers on staff.
• Develop a network of fellow copy editors outside your work who you can turn to if you need someone to have your back on editing decisions.

For the past several years, the moderators of the ACES Smalls Staffs Forum have been facilitating that last piece of advice by developing an email list of past and current participants.

Many of those editors have made use of the list to ask questions about all types of editing dilemmas that crop up at work. Some of those copy editors work on a one-person copy desk, and having an informal collaboration network has helped them get the kind of interaction people who work on larger copy desks get every day.

Anyone interested in being part of the Small Staffs group can email to have your name sent to the forum leaders.

— By Tim Yagle

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