Me, eight weeks ago:
Laid out in rows and piles and stacks before me are various scraps of paper, notepads, and magazines. My computer browser has an ever-growing bookmarks list in files like “Writing Resources” and “Blog Resources.” I am riffling through them all with growing frustration as I try to find “that paper” upon which I had written down my latest and greatest idea.
Me, the past six weeks:
Goodbye miscellaneous paper piles! I have Evernote on my phone, my tablet, and my laptop. I used to handwrite notes, type outlines, and bookmark and annotate web pages. Thanks to the category and separate journal options, I can link similarly-focused notes. Evernote has helped me improve my writing organization from the earliest brainstorming to linking later research with my topics.
If after reading about Evernote’s superfabness you decide to try it, use my referral link to get a trial of premium (you get extra storage space and a ton of incredibly useful features)
Full disclosure! I am NOT an Evernote affiliate (as of the writing of this, they don’t offer an affiliate program)! I just totally love this product– but in exchange for helping you get a trial of their Premium services, I DO earn points toward my own.
On to Evernote’s niftiness!
This is really only scratching the surface of Evernote’s versatility, but here are some of my favorite features so far:
1. Web Clipper:
Hands down, I use this the most. Once you have the web clipper installed on your browser, saving webpages to your Evernote is just as easy as saving a bookmark had been. The perk? With the browser saved to Evernote, you have the ability to annotate the page—including typing write in-line with the original text.
It also compares your searches in Google with the files you’ve already saved into Evernote so you can compare side-by-side the web pages you are going to against the ones you’ve already saved. This is a handy tool if you are perusing a lot of sites for later use and don’t want to waste time revisiting the same locations. I’ve used it for everything from saving submission guidelines to character concepts like clothing and appearances.
2. Handwritten vs. Typed
When I’m brainstorming, I find the ideas come out a great deal more easily when I am handwriting my notes instead of typing them. It feels so much more natural for me. However, as I indicated above, handwritten are not easily sorted through when I accumulate a pile (or two) of them.
Evernote offers a variety of ways for you to input notes. You can write by hand (and leave it handwritten or have it transfer to typing as you write), type, photograph, video record, or audio record your thoughts.
Thanks to Evernote’s ability to read handwriting, you can stay digitally organized even if you prefer writing by hand like me. Not only can you later peruse both your typed and handwritten notes using the categories you assign them, you can also search the contents themselves to find the note you are looking for.
This feature I haven’t had the opportunity to use a whole lot, having only played with it recently to get a feel for it. From what I can tell from my preliminary shares to my own emails, though, it has great potential. I have a few writer friends with whom I exchange writing for workshopping purposes.
As helpful as the app has been to me on my own, I imagine it will really benefit group projects, too. For my own purposes, I am going to start playing with it to get workshopping support from my writing friends at an earlier stage in my plot lining.
This one I use in conjunction with the web clipper when I am hunting down the latest calls for fiction submissions. When I’ve saved a few that are of interest to me, I attach a reminder to each one to remind myself of the upcoming deadlines. Because the reminder is with the saved web page, it’s super convenient for me to quickly review the guidelines.
5. Offline Access
While Evernote stores your note journals online, you can download your work to a device so you can access it without internet access. I recently did quite a bit of flying (first to FL, then to CA a few weeks later), so I got a lot of use out of this one. It let me have access to everything I’d been researching and noting for the past several weeks, so my mid-air hours were well spent in plot lining land.
I’m going to be trying out a few of their other features in my next installment, including the PDF annotating tool (which I will do a side-by-side comparison against other PDF annotating apps). Stay tuned!