Editors Weekly interview

Ask an Award Winner: An Interview with Mary Rykov

September 28, 2021

Filed under: Becky Heaman and tagged with: award profilesBecky Heamaneditor advicefreelance editingfreelance editorsinterviewMary Rykov

Mary Rykov
Photo credit: Dahlia Katz

The Editors Canada student relations committee recently completed a series of interviews with Editors Canada award winners. Each month, we’ll bring you the highlights of our interviews in the hopes that those featured may inspire student editors beginning their careers, as well as editors who are already established.

This month, Becky Heaman shares the committee’s interview with Mary Rykov (Toronto, Ontario), who was the winner of the 2019 President’s Award for Volunteer Service for her work in updating the Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Student Texts. Her 2019 webinar, Academic Editing Beyond Basics,” is available from Editors Canada. Last year, Mary published a book of poetry, some conditions apply.

(This interview has been lightly edited.)

What inspired you to become an editor?

Mary Rykov: Necessity is the mother of invention. And inspiration. I needed a career change because following a surgical injury, my work as a music therapist-researcher was too physically demanding.

After taking a self-inventory of my skills, editing seemed the most logical choice. I then researched coursework and talked with editors I knew. I don’t regret this career path. I am now as enthusiastic about editing, writing and mentoring writing as I am about music therapy.

What advice would you give to Student Affiliate editors?

MR: Volunteer with Editors Canada in every role available to you. I learned so much as a novice editor by proofreading and copy editing Editors Toronto newsletters at the same time that I was acquiring those skills through coursework. I also volunteered at seminars. My advice is to jump right in and involve yourselves.

Cover of "some conditions apply," a book of poetry by Mary Rykov

What has been your biggest challenge in your editing career?

MR: The biggest challenge in my editing career was finding work early in my career. I would have preferred to work as an in-house editor, but I needed the flexibility to rest when needed. I was fortunate that the freelance skills I acquired in my first career were equally useful for editing. The Online Directory of Editors, although costly, continues to serve me well.

Who has been one of your biggest influences in the editing world?

MR: I was fortunate to study substantive-structural and stylistic editing in the last Ryerson University class taught by Rosemary Shipton.

What is your favourite editing-related resource (book, website)?

Editors, Scholars, and the Social Text, edited by Darcy Cullen (University of Toronto Press).

What effect has winning this award had on your editing career?

My work as an editor, writer and writing mentor is rewarding enough. Aside from the opportunity to engage with enthusiastic students such as you in this forum, receiving the 2019 President’s Award, although affirming, has had no effect on my editing career. At least, not yet.

Previous post from Becky Heaman: Ask an Award Winner: An Interview with Amanda Lewis

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Written by Becky Heaman

Becky Heaman started her business, Bex Consulting, in 2013, offering virtual assistant and operations management for small businesses. She started the professional editing certificate at Mount Royal University in 2019 and is a member of Editors Canada’s student relations and career builder committees. Becky enjoys proofreading and editing non-fiction work and aspires to work on cookbooks!

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