Written by Denise Loock

“Americans report having fewer close friendships than they once did, talking to their friends less often, and relying less on their friends for personal support,” says the Survey Center on American Life. In other words, even though the pandemic demonstrated how much we need one another, fewer Americans prioritize connecting with friends.

The same survey revealed that “Americans are now more likely to make friends at work than any other way, including at school, in their neighborhood, at their place of worship, or even through existing friends.” So if you work from home in a solitary profession such as editing or proofreading, where do those friendships germinate?

The seeds are often planted at PENCON. Here’s what attendees say:

  • The live chat was wonderful because it allowed for fun, connection, camaraderie, and relationship with other attendees.
  • Thanks to PENCON, I got to know other editors a little, and I feel like I’m part of a wonderful community now.
  • “Ask a Question” and “Chat” features of Crowdcast allowed us to interact with each other and the speaker in real time.
  • Even a mega-introvert like me felt a sense of community and belonging.
  • The fellowship helped me to not feel so isolated.
  • Writing is usually lonely work. Freelance editing can be even more disorienting because you are now a solo-preneur. PENCON helps us connect with others who understand the joys and stresses of a life focused on shaping words as Jesus’s people. Rarely have I experienced the kind of comradery we instantly have just knowing we are working in the same field.
  • I loved having the chance to fellowship with and learn from other editors.
  • Online conferences are great for people like me who have difficulty walking into a roomful of new faces, and a much harder time walking up to someone to introduce myself! Behind my computer screen, I could be bold, with so much to gain and nothing to lose.
  • PEN members are funny, real, and honest. I appreciate you all.
  • I absolutely loved the fellowship times. It was wonderful to meet and talk shop with the other editors and just get to know one another. This was one of my favorite parts of the conference and totally unexpected.
  • PENCON is the only conference where the other attendees get me. It’s so refreshing to be among like-minded editors who do what they do because they see it as a calling and a gifting rather than a job.
  • I was impressed with how well the team worked to provide avenues to network—almost better than a live conference! Even the chat was beneficial. Ideas were flowing!
  • If you are an editor or are considering becoming an editor, I say this with my whole heart: you need this conference.

Come to PENCON 2023. We want to meet you, laugh with you, learn with you. And maybe the connections you make will be the seeds of a lifelong friendship.

Denise Loock is the owner of Lightning Editing Services. She teaches Editing Devotionals 101 and Sentence Diagramming 101 for The PEN Institute and is the director of PENCON, the only annual conference for Christian proofreaders and editors.