On Becoming an Expert

I just gave two hour-long presentations at the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society. This year the good folks of ACES gathered in Pittsburgh.

This was my second time attending the conference, and my first as a presenter. Getting ready took up a surprising amount of time and mental energy. Emotional energy, too.

I’m not used to thinking of myself as an authority–certainly not a national authority–on any topic. But apparently, I am. I talked about stress reduction techniques for editors, and about editing language on disability and mental health.

Both talks went well. It was thrilling to get up in front of a supportive, like-minded crowd.

Anya Weber presenting at the 2015 ACES conference.

Presenting on stress reduction techniques at the ACES conference. Photo by Megan Huber.

ACES members come from journalism, book publishing, corporate, nonprofit, and beyond–but we’re all editors. More than once during the conference, attendees said to me, “These are my people.” It’s a joy to be surrounded by those who nerd out on similar topics.

If you have the chance to give a talk on any subject, take it! We all have so much knowledge to share. From the inside, we’re aware of the gaps in what we know. But even if we can impart one shiny fragment of knowledge to someone in our field, it’s worth the time and effort.

Editors, join ACES and come to the conference in Portland (Oregon) next year!