As many of you know, the first-ever editors’ conclave was recently organized (in Feb 2018). My good friend Venkatesh and Chandra, whom I met and befriended during the conclave, wrote detailed notes on how it happened and how it felt. (I would love to link Chandra’s narration of her experience, but could not find how to link an FB post here. Can someone help?) Vivek rightly commented that it was “the best thing to do as it is best to write when the memories are still fresh”. Now that two fellow ICF members have vividly described it, I lacked the motivation to write about the conclave. But almost three weeks after the conclave, I still ruminate some of the discussions and sessions and thought why not write about those that stayed with me. So here is a series of posts on the sessions that stayed with me.
I have to shamelessly confess that I could not attend the sessions by Dr. Nilima Vyas on alt+text writing and the editor’s journey by Chitralekha. Both were super-hit sessions and everyone that I met after said I missed those sessions. Thinking if there is a way to catch up.
Well, the lunch was already postponed by 30 minutes and I guess most of us were hungry. In came Surit Das. He was to talk about financial planning for editors. Heck, lunchtime and someone is going to talk about financial planning. Should I skip? No, not the lunch. Perhaps the session! A seasoned presenter that he is, Surit knew this would happen. He talked about his first editing experience. With his wit, he pulled me, and everyone else, into the session.
The moment we hear the phrase “financial planning for freelancers”, we knew what is going to be in store: keep the money for the next n number of months, keep track of expenses, enrol for a pension plan, and so on and so forth. Ubiquitous advice on the Internet but only a handful would follow it (the successful ones, for that matter).
Surit talked nothing about them.
He talked about putting (read: investing) the money in the right pockets, rather than about spending money wisely. What is the use of earning so much by leading a sedentary lifestyle and paying all the hard-earned money for the medical bills? He talked about the need for editors to invest in ergonomic keyboards. In his words, “they cost a bomb”, but a bomb worth buying.
Surit talked more about investing in learning and equipping ourselves to the trade. Subscribing to dictionaries, enrolling for courses that will make us better editors, and purchasing software that will simplify work to name a few. When you want to look up for that important word, what if the free online Merriam-Webster’s dictionary tells you that that word is available only for the paid subscription? PerfectIt may save hours of an editor’s precious time by taking care of abbreviations. Why spend time when a piece of software can do it effortlessly and quickly?
Another perspective of his — I’m not sure whether he talked about it during the session or later when we met — is subtle yet significant. Paying bills upfront for as many months or even years as possible – – in his words, ridiculously enough. What if you are engrossed in editing an article that might provide a solution to poverty and someone at home interrupts complaining that the mobile service is disconnected. Or that they cannot watch their favourite “Young Sheldon” because the digital TV connection expired.
The 30 minutes went like a breeze; it turned out that it was a session worth attending.
PS: Made some silent corrections. Thanks, Visa; from the first day of my editing career, you are there to correct me!
What was it that caught your imagination from Surit’s session? We would love to hear from you so this post is complete; please drop your comments in the comment box.