Emi Nietfeld

Emi Nietfeld

Who are you, and what did you write?

I’m Emi Nietfeld and I wrote Acceptance, a memoir of foster care and homelessness, Harvard and Big Tech. It’s also about our ideals of resilience and the pressure those ideals place on people. It’s on sale now from Penguin Press!

What hardware and software do you write with?

I’ve used Google Docs since I was fourteen (probably the exact day it comes out) so I always, always draft in it. During copy-edits, I learned how to use Microsoft Word, so now I typically draft in Docs and then spill some red ink in Word. And I always, always use Freedom to block the web while I write!

I write on a MacBook Air that literally can’t handle 10 Chrome Tabs! I also use an external keyboard, trackpad, and 27” monitor – a holdover from my days as a software engineer and a serious game changer!

When I’m really struggling with structure, I print everything out, cut it up and tape it back together. It helps turn an intellectual problem into a physical one. I add margin notes, but only in huge highlighter so I can’t get too in the weeds! I’m always looking for new ways to edit and I write about them in my newsletter.

When and where do you write?

I write in the morning after breakfast but before listening to any music, checking emails, witnessing the news. I’m very lucky to be writing out of my late grandfather-in-law’s wood paneled office, filled with bronze sculptures of mostly nude women.

What's your dream writing setup?

An office with a skylight at Blue Mountain Center, facing a picturesque lake. I went for a residency last summer, and it was nice and chilly even when New York City (my home) was an inferno. There was no wifi or cell reception, just a phone booth with a wired landline and a doodling pad. At noon we did yoga and ate three gourmet meals a day. It was heaven.

The only thing that would have made it better is my external monitor!