Monthly Archives: August 2017

August News

It’s been a busy summer. I’m excited to have so many opportunities to edit and so many ideas for my writing, but sometimes I miss the days when summer meant slowing down.

Early in the summer, Alicia Stemper interviewed me for her Vitamin O blog, which highlights “the robust and wonderful people who make Orange County, North Carolina strong”! Her post is here:

Emily wearing eclipse glasses, sitting on a hay bale

Jessica and I watch the eclipse. Photo by Dane Summers.

I made my third trip to the Folk School for the eclipse, which was amazing. When totality came, we were sitting on the hay bales in the middle of the fields, with Venus overhead and the Davidson Hall barn swallows swooping about us. Read about it, here:

I’m teaching again in October (the class is full), with additional classes in January and June, 2018.

Then Conor O’Donovan interviewed me for the Modernist Breadcrumbs podcast, in anticipation of the arrival, this fall, of Modernist Bread. The series debuts on October 4 (not sure of my interview’s date yet), and you can hear the podcast here:

I’m currently working on a series of sourdough-relayed bread articles for The Kitchn, also in anticipation of Modernist Bread. Amy Halloran and the Modernist Bread team will be doing posts as well. They’ll be posted in October.

Emily rides her bike while brandishing a baguette

Photo by Alicia Stemper

Writing about bread, and stumbling upon interesting new facts (like the different temperatures that bacteria and yeast thrive at, which can enable the baker to control the sourness of her sourdough), is making me want to delve back into bread research. Another game changer was finding out that through my William and Mary alumni association, I have online access to academic journals–I wouldn’t have to take the bus to UNC, where non-students are now limited to one hour of computer time. I might be able to revive Food Chem Blog! 

I’ve never had an interest in a second edition of Bread Science. I thought I had written everything I knew. I’m about to get more copies printed, and I had to open the Indesign file to make a few corrections (my email address and location). It was tempting to start copyediting the whole book–I didn’t even know about the Chicago Manual when I wrote it!–but each page that has changes adds additional cost to the printing. I shouldn’t start editing until I’m going to redo the whole book. And if I’m going to do that, I might think about adding new content. I wonder if there will be a second edition someday!

stacks of colorful post-it notes

Organizing with Post-its

I’d like to share my system of organizing tasks and deadlines. It involves a physical calendar and a lot of Post-it notes.

I’m a paper person. I’m not a luddite, and I’m all for “going green” to avoid waste, but I actually enjoy writing and reading on paper. I don’t want another task that requires checking a device, especially not multiple times per day. I use a paper weekly planner for my personal life,* and I needed a system for my writing and editing business. Here’s what I eventually came up with.

calendar covered with post-it notesI hung a calendar near my desk. (I picked from the dozen or so free calendars my parents get from wildlife and veterans organizations; I went for nice photos but also large squares.) Each time I have a new task to do, whether it is an assignment or simply something I want to look into, I write it on a Post-it note and stick it to the calendar, like this:

  • Items with a deadline go on the date of the deadline
  • Items I’d like to do soon go in the borders of the current month
  • Items I’d like to do in the near future go on an upcoming month
  • Items that must be done in a certain month go on that month
  • Items for someday go on the wall near the calendar

When I finish a task, I move the note to the top page of the calendar. (I’m working on color-coding the tasks. I just have so many colors of Post-it!) (UPDATE: I now use pink for writing and editing, blue for education, and yellow for business and marketing.)

This system works for me because I can move the notes around if dates change, if I don’t accomplish something when expected, and when I finish a task. I hate a messy calendar; the Post-its enable me to keep it neat. I like the “reward” of moving a note to the finished pile, and often push to finish a bunch of items toward the end of the month. Then I flip to the new month and leave them behind. Sometimes, when I get overwhelmed, I’ll postpone an item, moving it a month or two ahead and then easily forgetting about it. As an added bonus, I also use the calendar to write down the tasks I work on each day, which makes me feel good.

*Several years ago, I decided to look for a more sustainable planner—recyclable and made from recycled materials. I stumbled upon Little Otsu, a company in Portland, Oregon. In addition to being sustainably produced, their planners are designed by independent artists, and they are a small company I feel good about. The planners are actually cheaper than what I was getting at my big office supply store. They are not dated, so you have to spend some time filling in the dates when the planner arrives; I actually kind of love doing this each year.