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By Ashley Valli

Back in April of this year, I was lucky enough to receive a sponsored mentorship with IPEd. I applied for this mentorship hoping to improve my editing skills while I worked towards the IPEd accreditation exam. I also wanted to improve my knowledge around running an editing business. I was open to any method of communication, mostly depending on where my mentor would be located. Luckily, my mentor, Michèle Drouart, happened to be not too far from me in Perth. 

I had no idea what the mentorship experience would be like; I just knew I wanted to be proactive with my editing passion and to seek what few experiences were offered in Australia to help encourage this passion. 

Prior to meeting my mentor, I was unsure how the mentorship was going to go, but Michèle proved to be absolutely fantastic, with a warm and encouraging attitude that made me feel like this mentorship was going to be a great and wholesome learning experience. 

There were a lot of goals that I wanted to work towards with my editing, but I decided to focus on the two main things I needed to achieve in the short term: a decent knowledge about what you need to run an editing business and also my accreditation. Of course, these focuses were still pretty broad — but with the help of my mentor, I was able to narrow them down. 

We set up a get-to-know-you meeting at a relaxed café close to both of us and I discussed what I was looking for. By the end of the meeting, we decided to focus on what held me back from getting my accreditation in the previous 2020 exam as well as what was needed to successfully run an editing business. 

Given I was working part-time at pretty random times of the day (sometimes at night; sometimes during the day), we agreed on a set day and time that worked for both of us to meet once a week in person. Michèle also always made sure I was happy with the tasks and level of commitment set each week, and was more than accommodating when I had other commitments. During a period of time that I was sick, we also worked via Zoom to ensure we stayed on track with the mentorship. 

During and after the mentorship, I felt a lot more confident about my skills as an editor. Not only was Michèle able to tell me where I was doing well, but she was also able to tell me where I was falling short. It was great to talk to someone else who was passionate about words and how they come together. Even outside of the days we would meet, Michèle would send me helpful documents and links to relevant information. Having a mentor set and review tasks for me each week also helped to keep me on track with my editing goals. It was also beneficial to have someone other than me determine whether I was making the right corrections to text. 

With Michèle’s help, I was able to further determine what I needed to focus on so I could do better in the next accreditation exam, as well as what documents I needed, should I get any editing clients. 

I would highly recommend IPEd’s mentorship program to anyone looking to improve their editing skills. Their program is a fantastic resource for editors seeking professional editing support and a great way to learn on the side while working/studying.