It takes a lot of time to pull together The E-Sylum each week, but I've learned to be fairly efficient about it. Last year I
told my wife I wanted an external monitor for my laptop for Christmas, and the extra screen real estate has been a godsend. I'll never
go back. Here's a picture I took last weekend while working on the October 4, 2015 issue.
A draft of the issue is shown on the top screen. You're looking at the table of contents, and you can see that several articles have
complete headlines, while others just have placeholders. I create a template at the beginning of each week with the ads laid out and
placeholders for the articles in between. Then I spend the rest of the week filling it up with content.
On the laptop screen below are two windows side-by-side. On the left is the latest email message I'm reading. On the right is the
raw text of the issue. To publish a reader's comment, I'll cut text from the message on the left and paste it into the draft on the
right, surrounded by the HTML codes to display it as a quote. There are only a handful of codes I use regularly, such as quotes, Editor
comment boxes, italics and bold.
I use Microsoft Outlook to read my email, and I set it up so I have a separate folder for all of my incoming E-Sylum mail. When
I'm done with a message, I move it to a "done" folder. I have Outlook configured to automatically bring up the next email.
Over the weekend I basically just plow thru that folder until I'm out of messages.
The only problem is that it's like trying to empty a bathtub while the faucet is still running. New emails come in sometimes as fast
or faster than I can empty the folder. Often I work through the folder from newest to oldest, which can help when readers send me multiple
emails on the same topic. That way I work on the latest version and can often just file or delete the earlier versions. To mix it up I also
work sometimes beginning with the oldest messages. And when I feel overwhelmed I'll look at the folder directly and pull out priority
items I want to make sure to include.
That top screen is a browser window. If you look close you'll see I have a lot of tabs open. Several of these browser tabs are set
up to open automatically when the browser starts up. So whenever I'm on my computer I've always got quick access to the
E-Sylum archive, the email list management page, our Flickr image archive and other handy web pages. I never have to remember or dig
around for web addresses or logins. Whatever I need is already there. Cut. Paste. Click. Done. Next.
George keeps me company, although I'm rarely alone. My office is connected to our living room, and my wife and one or more kids are
often in there staring at their own screens, whether it’s the TV or their phones or tablets. That's a Sacajawea Dollar mouse pad from
the U.S. Mint that David Gladfelter sent me one time. Thanks! Keep those emails coming, folks. Your input is vital - without you I'd
have to make all this stuff up, and then we'd be the Weekly World News..
Wayne Homren, Editor
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