On August 29, I accomplished something great.

I finished Macros A to Z, the six-week online course I had been taking through the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), one of my professional organizations. Boy, did I learn a ton of information! I learned about downloading and installing macros, assigning them keyboard shortcuts, and trying out many of the different macros on Paul Beverley’s macros menu (there are thousands). I learned how to pick and choose the macros that were the most helpful for me and install them.

Also, very importantly, I learned how to back up my macros and how important it is to do so every time I install a new one.

(If you are unfamiliar with what macros are, please refer to my post from a few weeks ago, “Macros, macros everywhere.”)

The course instructor, Jennifer Yankopolus, was awesome. She provided helpful how-to videos in her weekly lessons and promptly answered each student’s posts in the class discussion forum. Jennifer also facilitated three Zoom sessions during the six weeks, where students could ask questions and learn “bonus” information. We even got a treat during the third Zoom session: Paul Beverley attended from his home in the UK. (Poor Paul…it was nine o’clock at night for him when our session started!)

I’ve taken a few other courses through this same organization—namely, Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Copyediting (all taught by Lourdes Venard), as well as Getting Work from Publishers and Book Packagers (taught by Jennifer Lawler). Lourdes and Jennifer are awesome as well. I highly recommend all three copyediting courses to anyone who is just starting out as a professional copyeditor, and I greatly recommend Getting Work to anyone who has just become a freelancer.

I have to admit that after I took the four courses mentioned above, I thought to myself, “There. I am done with courses. I don’t want to be bogged down in courses forever. That’s it.” But then I heard about macros and kept hearing about them over and over again, and thought, “I really should learn them so I can become a more efficient editor.” Macros A to Z was first offered last fall, but I passed on it because I knew my schedule was going to be pretty full then. Then it was offered this summer, and I jumped on it.

What kinds of professional development courses have you taken? What did you think of them?

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