If it’s your first time going to ACES, you gotta blog about it, right? 

I truly didn’t expect to be as fangirlish as I was, and I geeked out (mostly) in the acceptable, introverted way: on the couch in my hotel room. Crawling back into my temporary shell gave me time to put together some highlights:

  1. I was actually in the room for events I’d previously only read about on Twitter, like the “What’s New in AP Style?” session. They now capitalize “Civil Rights Movement.” Presenter and AP Stylebook editor Paula Froke said someone called the stylebook a “history book of sorts,” and that aspect of AP is one of my favorite things about it.
  2. It was the perfect time to figure out what to do with Outside-the-Book.com and another side project. Melanie Padgett Powers’s “Maximize Your Time and Efficiency and Build a Better Freelance Business” session gave me some ideas on how to move forward, as did conversations with Constance Brossa, Crystal Shelley, and Vee White. I’ve been chewing on a linguistic justice idea for a while, and my ACES adventure will definitely inform that: Katya Jenson’s “Strange and Unusual: Does English Deserve Its Oddball Reputation?” session, Mary Norris’s book recommendations from the “Lives of the Editors” session, and Merrill Perlman’s “Tone: The Music of Editing” session.
  3. Even when you miss sessions, you can win. I heard great things from Dragonfly colleagues about the “Maintenance Phase: Maintaining Your Program’s Style Guide” session (gonna get those slides). I stayed in “Medical Editing 101: All You Need to Know to Get Started” for a hot minute before realizing I do not want to get started at this time.
  4. Proposal editing is the jam for lots of folks. While “Editing Grant-Funded Research Proposals” focused on higher education and smaller proposals than the ones Dragonfly edits, Katherine Yaun’s approach to her work was very similar. Her session and “Editing for and in the Government” (presented by Kim Cragg and Melissa Cichantek) gave me the context I crave about how much Dragonfly’s clients do before their reports and proposals even get to us.
  5. ChatGPT could be like spell-check or Wikipedia. Dragonfly’s own Corinne Jorgenson was featured on a special Saturday edition of That Word Chat, and she made me a little less worried about ChatGPT (but not AI in general).
  6. You can’t come away empty-handed. I missed a lot of the extras: the spelling bee, the peer chats, the Henry Fuhrmann Memorial Celebration, the banquet. But Kate Post’s “The Internal Red Pen: Editing with Mental Illness” session reassured me that I could “stet” my negative self-talk about being MIA and enjoy the conference in the way that worked best for me.

Anyone have a favorite session or two from ACES? Share them so I can make sure I get the slides!

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