|A parting shot: |
My nametag and computer at my fifth editing class
This weekend I completed my fifth of five classes to complete the University of Chicago certification for editing. For years I have edited manuscripts and articles. Throughout the process (and especially as I was getting ramped up to take my first class in Chicago), I’ve had to explain to people why I would take the time (and money!) to complete the classes…especially since I have editing experience.
Here are a few of the reasons I sought certification, which may help you decide if you should pursue more education for your writing or editing.
1. Validation. While I learned a lot of tips and tricks from colleagues at work, there sometimes seemed to be a limit. Taking the classes helped validated my knowledge and made me more confident in my own skills, even if I’m not the strictest grammarian. It also shows prospective clients that I take editing and continuing education seriously. (And it already helped to garner a large editing client.)
2. Learning Style. I recognize that I learn better when I have someone directing my lessons. Interestingly, if I teach someone, I find that often directs my learning. But I’m not someone who can sit down and start at the beginning of the Chicago Manual of Style (or The Associated Press Stylebook) and read it straight through. Some editors I’ve met are self-taught that way. I take my hat off to them.
3. Against Procrastination. Editing is something I’ve wanted to learn for many years. Following a sequence of classes ensured that I would have fewer reasons for procrastination and more reasons for getting it done.
4. Networking…and friendships. In the classes, I joined a network of others who also veer to the “word nerd” balance. These other editors are my resources and friends I can discuss freelance projects with. We are able to discuss our classes, as well as best practices. Most of my classmates have specialized niches, which helped me narrow my own niche. Also, the camaraderie has been great. I’ll miss seeing my new friends, but will plan on keeping in touch with them.
5. Skills. My skill level has skyrocketed and made me more productive. While the tips and tricks I knew were a great starting point, I have learned a wealth of information since I started my journey in the certification.
What are some of the reasons you might use to justify “going back to school?" Instead of taking classes, what are some of the ways you keep up with your writing skills?
Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor living in coastal North Carolina. Follow her @Eliz_Humphrey.