I am a note-taker. A list-maker. Always have been.
If you’re anything like me, you have handwritten reminder notes scattered over your desk, the living room, the kitchen, and stuck inside the pages of books. You also have typed notes lurking in every corner of your hard drive–some years old, forgotten, never to resurface.
Recently, I found my writing commitments–blogging, novel, short stories–were starting to overwhelm me with ‘to do,’ and ‘don’t forget,’ and ‘write this one day’ notes.
Something had to be done.
Conveniently, just before I hit the brink of insanity, I was introduced to a program called Evernote, which you can download free for Windows, Mac, and handheld devices. It helps you keep track of practically everything you’ll need to organize for your writing (and the rest of your life too).
The program allows you to create a number of virtual notebooks, each if which hold individual notes. To suit my needs, I’ve arranged my notebooks under the headings:
Within each notebook, I’ve started notes on:
- To do: Housekeeping items for my blog, technical issues to sort, links to add, emails to answer
- Blog posts: An ever-growing list of any and every idea I have for blog posts
- Novels: Notes for my work-in-progress; brilliant thoughts to add to my manuscript; logic holes to consider
- Stories: Ideas for future novels or short stories
- Craft: Any new tips I find on the craft of writing
- eBooks: Ideas and resources for eBooks I might write one day
- Interviews: Names and sites of potential interviewees, and interview questions
- Research: Topics I need to research for my work-in-progress, or for blogging
- Interesting: News items or interesting facts I come across that could potentially be turned into stories or articles
- Books: Those I want to read, and those that have had a great influence on my writing
You can rearrange notes whenever you like, and tag them for easy identification.
One of my favourite features is the toolbar icon which allows you to send a webpage (or selected text from within it) to your Evernote, instantly.
Since I started using this program, I’ve found myself more organized and less stressed. I like having the knowledge that all my writing thoughts are compiled in the same place, and won’t end up in the stacks of paper or computer files that have disappeared through the years.
Do you have a favourite program for organizing your writing? How do you feel about the move away from manual note taking, in favour of digital note taking?