Artificial intelligence was a hot topic in 2023; this is reflected in the Merriam-Webster and Cambridge Dictionary choices for word of the year.
This year marks WCEA’s 30th anniversary. How we work as editors and the tools we use have changed substantially in those 30 years, but much has stayed the same. So how have we—and the partnership—stayed on top our game? To wrap up 2022, we offer our favourite finds for keeping each of us working at our best.
This year, Amy levelled up her editing workflow with an iPad and Apple Pencil. The Adobe Acrobat app has most of the standard editing tools and even lets you convert your handwritten notes to type. The iPad is more portable than a desktop computer or laptop and has a similar feel to working on hard copy, without the need to lug around all that pesky paper (bonus: no scanning!).
Audrey discovered the benefit of spending a little more for an ergonomic chair, after years of sitting in cheap office chairs—or even cheaper kitchen chairs. She enjoys spinning around the office in her Herman Miller Sayl chair. And doing a little editing too.
Barb found great advice in Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear. Clear says one of the best ways to build a new habit is to connect it with things you already do. Now she spends 15 minutes every morning learning Spanish in hopes of being better able to communicate during a future trip to Peru. After that, she does a few basic back exercises following the acclaimed McGill Method. Small changes for body and mind!
Lana attended her first Plain Language Summit. While this free annual mini conference is targeted at US federal government employees, the sessions are highly applicable to WCEA’s training and editing work. One of Lana’s favourite sessions was Jargon Madness, a knockout tournament–style exercise that any organization can run to raise awareness of plain language (and have a little fun).
Lucy downloaded FIPLAB’s free Smart Countdown Timer to use in her online classes. Setting a time and sharing it onscreen during breaks helps everyone return at the same time. She also sets the timer to be more productive while editing. When the chime sounds, it’s time to take a break and then move on.
Merrie-Ellen’s best discovery of the year was Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction, by Canadian productivity geek Chris Bailey. The book shows that while attention is both limited and in demand, it’s also our most powerful resource for getting things done. Becoming more productive is about managing our attention rather than our time.
Rowena found herself turning to the Conscious Style Guide, a compilation of links to articles, style guides and other resources about inclusive and respectful language. She tries to read a few articles every week and always finds something interesting and enlightening.
Ruth didn’t discover any great new editorial tool or technique this year, but she was constantly reminded of the strength in numbers—specifically in partnership and collegiality. Since joining WCEA 24 years ago, she’s had the benefit of lifelong learning from the advice, wisdom, and practice of 17 past and current partners. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Happy Holidays from WCEA!