The Editors’ Conclave at Chennai was the perfect place to connect with people we only knew through the Indian Copyeditors’ Forum (ICF) on Facebook. As a member of ICF and as the one who follows the posts of the veterans in this field, I was excited to sign up for this conclave as soon as it was announced. Attending the conference and listening to one great speaker after another was an experience that cannot be put in a few words or even pages, for that matter!

Meeting my ex-colleague and friend Murugaraj at the entrance was a morale booster – he was the only known face when I reached the place, not that it mattered after the sessions began. He introduced me to Visa – who was unbelievably simple and unassuming and in total contrast to what I’d expected her to be.

As the day wore on, we were in awe of the speakers as they took us on a tour of a fairy-tale-like recount of their work, the position they currently enjoy and the journey forward. That success comes only through hard work, discipline and perseverance was proved again and again by the speakers’ narration of their way up the ladder. We were delighted and motivated to hear them talk enthusiastically and with passion about their journey, giving us hope that we too can venture into an entrepreneurial path and seek our fortune there!

Although all the topics and the speakers were equally amazing, I felt a close connect with Chitraleka Manohar. Like her, I too am uncomfortable about an article being distributed across people and processes and ending up with no one being accountable for it. Though I do agree that not all processes can be done by the same person with equal passion or skill and that some processes (e.g. reference editing) may need tools to take care of the mechanical editing part, I would prefer an editor taking total ownership of the article/book and ensuring that it gets the amount of attention it deserves.

Also, for many years now, I’ve been thinking about venturing into the kind of setup that she operates in – with remote freelancers pooling their strengths and working on projects together. As she spoke on, I could relate entirely with all that she had gone through in the initial period and could almost feel the euphoria that she must have felt when she found her niche. She suggested – as did the other speakers – that joining international editors’ associations would prove helpful in acquiring projects and in meeting editors from around the world during conferences.

Chitraleka has certainly given me a spark and rekindled my lost interest. I now have this restlessness that keeps me constantly thinking about making a start in that direction.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

This is a guest post by Manjula Sridhar. In her own words, “As a child, I was fortunate to travel to Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi because of my father’s transferable job and pursue the education in those places. This helped me cultivate social and adaptability skills, develop an interest in languages and appreciate the diversity of our country.”

Manjula holds a postgraduate degree in physics and an Hons. Diploma in Computer Applications from NIIT, Chennai. Joining Laserwords as a copy editor provided the opportunity to Manjula to explore this field and find her passion. Since then, she has worked in various e-publishing houses at various levels and is currently working as Senior Manager – Editorial Services, managing a team of language editors, for Perfect Digital Media Resources, Chennai.

Manjula loves to read, mostly fiction and biographies; enjoys word games, spell bee, and grammar tests; loves music, mostly ghazals, movie songs and semi-classical Carnatic music; enjoys movies and Pakistani plays;  loves traveling, especially by road; and likes to take up challenges once in a while.

Manjula Sridhar