If you are a writer or a creative of any kind and you haven’t heard of Evernote I don’t know what you have been doing with your life.
Evernote is a FREE app for your phone and your computer that helps you organize your life and projects.
Reading a great article that you think might be useful later? Clip it with the Evernote extension on your browser and save it for later. Need to write a shopping list? Have meeting notes you want to share with your team? Want to archive bullet journal spreads that you use regularly? Evernote has your back. You can take anything, even handwritten notes, and save it, store it, and organize it into an easily retrievable and sharable file that doesn’t eat up your memory (I LOVE web-based storage).
The files are organized in an organic, slightly analog way. Each item is called a note and the notes are organized into notebooks, and the notebooks can be organized into stacks. The free version lets you use Evernote on two screens (my computer and my phone) and the paid version allows you to add screens, but for most people, two screens are enough.
So why should you care? Well, if you are a writer you know that ideas spring up at any time in any place. Sometimes they come while you’re waiting in the line at the bank. Others come in those last two minutes before you go to sleep.
Most of us are savvy enough to grab something to capture the idea in. A small notepad or journal will do, but sometimes napkins, the margins of handouts, sticky notes or even the Note app on your cell phone happens to be the only option. Evernote gives you a way to bring all of those ideas, all of those bits of paper and hastily scribbled notes into one place and organize it into something that you can use when the time comes.
Personally, my notebook is the receptacle of most of my nascent ideas. It’s always at hand and full of pages just waiting to be inked up. And I am almost always playing around with two or three concepts at once. Some of them develop into projects, others morph over time and end up being the inspiration for completely different projects.
In my quest to become more efficient, I realized that flipping through my journal and referring to sticky notes pressed into handwritten pages was getting a bit out of control. I was losing things. I was missing deadlines DESPITE having a shiny new planner, a stack of composition notebooks and enough three-ring binders to open my own Etsy shop. I would write great bits of dialog and then spend forty-five minutes finding it again. I would save a great article to my favorites and then forget which of the 1,684,680,468,541,640 saved articles was the one I wanted to reference.
Articles are saved in the notebook called “Article Ideas” and tagged with a reference to the article I’d like to write. Images of places that I want to use as settings in my stories are saved in the appropriate notebook, cleverly labeled “insert working title here Story Bible”. And those ideas and bits of dialog in my notebook and on random sticky notes? I take a picture, save it to my story bible in Evernote and never worry about losing it or having to indefinitely save that notebook.
And for bullet journalists, this is a great way to save collections that you use frequently as you migrate from one journal to another. Have some spreads that you’re particularly proud of? You can reference the notes later when you want to recreate the spread or need the info from your collection. Evernote is the app for that.
I have literally eliminated half a dozen notebooks from my life using this tool.
Nothing beats the power of putting pen to paper when it comes to the creative process. I don’t think I will ever give up my notebooks completely. But my life, my workspace, and my head are a lot clearer now that I have this tool at my disposal.
And while I still LOVE all things stationery, I won’t miss the feeling of being buried under a mountain of paper and sticky notes as I try to make my way through another writing project.