Between us, Jess and I have named four cats, five children, two dissertations, assorted books, and a business. What have we learned? Sometimes a name is instantly, exactly right…and sometimes it takes a little time to grow into.
Double Shift Press…it took a little time.
Actually, we researched, registered, and sketched a whole webpage around a totally different name. But that name wasn’t perfect, so we decided to let it go. When we went back to our list of possibilities, Double Shift Press had already started feeling exactly right.
Double Shift is our second shift, after all. But it’s not a side hustle—it’s a concentration and an expansion of what we already do at Modern Writing Services.
Double Shift is our clients’ second shift, too. Developing, writing, designing, and publishing a book is a lot of (very worthwhile) work. Perhaps even more so for women, who are already—as Arlie Hochschild wrote way back in 1989 in The Second Shift—uniquely accustomed to this reality.
But Double Shift is about way more than work, even very worthwhile work. It’s about the—quite literal—expansion of possibilities.
Did you know that in the late 1800s, a “double shift key machine” described a category of typewriter with two shift keys? Adding a second shift key to the keyboard enabled each key to denote three characters instead of just one or even two.
So Double Shift Press also speaks to the value of collaboration, and to the way that collaboration can make a good book exponentially better (for authors and readers).
We're excited to share news about our inaugural titles—stay tuned!
Are you a human? Then you are probably sometimes in the position of presenting your ideas to other humans in a manner that you hope is convincing. Maybe you regularly give presentations at work. Maybe it’s the occasional board or PTO meeting. Maybe you're in charge of the family reunion slideshow. Or maybe you just need ammunition to convince your spouse to watch the show you want to watch.
Whatever the case, you want your presentation to be good. Because as we all know from bitter experience, little compares to an awful presentation.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a designer to create a truly engaging presentation. If your budget doesn't allow you to hire a professional, you can find free tools that make your presentation a pleasure to behold. One tool we like is Prezi. Here's why:
In this time of tech-induced attention-deficit-disorder, in which distraction is censorship, reading books for pleasure is both a powerful antidote and a tiny commitment to the coming revolution.
Maybe I go too far?
And yet, a few books over the last few weeks have given me so much…well, if not deep and democratic thoughtfulness, then an opportunity for the kind of far-ranging meditative rumination that makes life meaningful. If you also require an unTwitter, consider taking a tour of the following titles.
First, head west to L.A., where IQ (Joe Ide) is set. It’s a detective story featuring the kind of Sherlockian genius who is erratic and cold but also earnest and redeemable. It hits some familiar urban-mystery beats, but its South-Central-L.A. backdrop is so playful and poignant, and the idiosyncratic detective is so over the top and understated, that it exceeds the category.
Next up, travel to rainy Dublin, where Conversations with Friends (Sally Rooney) unfurls. It was a critical darling of late 2017, and though I almost hated the emo-reanimating, aggressively first-person narrator, I felt like I got her (which…?). The book’s inability to conceive of a woman in her late-30s as anything but completely irrelevant (sorry, ladies) is (mostly) offset by an interestingly indirect, unresolved depiction of marriage.
Now go back (way back) to the 1970s Midwest of Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng). Everyone loves Little Fires Everywhere, but Ng’s first book about a disconnected interracial family is affecting. I spent the first half arching my brows at the pat characters and adherence to the plot’s pattern. I spent the last half crying my eyes out. And it wasn’t just because I was sad. It was because—what’s the cliché?—the world is so beautiful and life is so short.
End your tour in France with How to Behave in a Crowd (Camille Bordas). Isadore, the protagonist-narrator, is an empathetic 11-year-old kid brother of five genius older siblings. His anthropological view of his family, and his tendency to engage rather than alienate make him a delightful narrative companion. Also delightful: This is Bordas’s first book in English, and the slight disruption in the English-language rendering of the French family is very charming.
These books took me places, but mostly by offering a respite from the hot takes and Twitter feed that regularly ignite the flames on the side of my face. I wouldn’t call them escapist, though—or I would, but what they allowed me to escape was my own tiny sphere of tech-abetted interiority. My new problem is that the only book left on my bedside table is Behave. Help! Which books have helped you log off, mute all, and carry on?
Kudos if your practical streak compelled you to continue reading past that headline. The fact is, when you think of a template, you're probably not moved to soaring flights of spiritual inspiration.
But maybe you should be. After all, the word template has its etymological roots in temple, a consecrated place of worship. The closer relative templet came into usage in the 17th century, to refer specifically to part of the support structure of a building (holy or otherwise). And by the 19th century, that architectural usage had developed into the word template as we use it today: a pattern or gauge that provides a guide for the creation of something new.
If you ask us, it's not crazy to think of a template as a sort of holy architecture for communications.
Every organization has routine communications to create, whether a simple blog post or complex client-facing correspondence. And too often, we waste time reinventing the wheel (and risk introducing errors or inconsistencies) when it's time to get those communications out the door.
Not only are templates enormous time and money savers, they also ensure that your communications are visually and formally consistent, and anchored in your house style.
A template that provides the structure for visuals and content makes simple communications almost effortless. And even with more complex communications, such as strategic plans or project reports, working with a template frees up your brain—and your budget—to focus on your message.
Building a temple of templates: it's often one of the first things we discuss when consulting with clients about how to streamline and improve their communications. And it doesn't have to be complicated. When creating a blog post, a slide deck, or a project report, set your document design, determine your formatting styles, and block out space for visuals and captions. Then your save your work as a template.
English PhD, former arts administrator, obsessive cook, native East Coaster, and mom to two rabblerousers.
English PhD, former high school teacher, obsessive organizer, native Midwesterner, and mom to three troublemakers.