Friday, April 05, 2013

Capture Ideas with Evernote

E is for Evernote, the universal-platform note-keeper. I first found out about Evernote on the forums for Getting Things Done, the book by David Allen, but it wasn't until I added my iPad and iPhone to my tech gagetry that I became a convert.

So for that reason, I suggest that Evernote is perhaps not the best choice for those who don't own a smartphone and/or tablet. You just won't get as much out of the "on the fly note-taking" (though you still may appreciate the syncing). But if you do? Holy cow. I just started using it three months ago when I became an iPad owner, and well...let's  say now I understand the hype.

In Evernote, you can sync across every device you own: PC, Mac, Android—doesn't matter. You can even access your own notes via the web. And you can make darn near anything a "note..." Want to record something? Go ahead. Have a handout at that meeting? Touch the camera icon and snap a photo of it. And of course, you can just take notes, too.

If you're like me, the muse sometimes strikes in really inconvenient places, and the perfect line of dialogue or the exact image you need to make the transition that's had you stuck for weeks pops up when you least have the ability to wrangle it. But now, if you want to jot some of your WIP on the subway, you can do so, and let it sync back up with your laptop or desktop when you next have a good connection. Or if you see a billboard with the perfect embodiment of your main character, just snap a photo.

You can organize your notes into notebooks, or let them float free, since Evernote has a fantastic search tool, as well. You can even take photos of text and make it searchable.

Best of all, the basic service, which gives you all most people would ever need, is completely free.

I use it for taking notes on data for my students, for jotting down ideas that come to me about my WIP, or for crafting whole scenes on the go. Although I prefer to write in Word and Scrivener, I know some novelists who write their entire novels on Evernote and use the notebooks to organize their ideas.

I'll stop, before I sound any more like an ad (seriously, I love this program), but this is one of my writers' tools that I'm glad I dove into, and which I can't imagine living without again. I encourage you to give it a try.


This month I'm participating in the A-Z blog challenge. My theme is "writer hacks," or 26 shortcuts you can do as a writer to get the most out of writing and the journey toward and through publication. Find out more about it at, and hop around to read the other cool blogs that are part of the challenge!


  1. I have never heard of this before but I don't have an iPad, iPhone, or tablet.

    Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers, participant of A to Z Blogging Challenge

    1. I probably wouldn't recommend this for someone without a smartphone or tablet—I definitely get a lot more use out of it now that I have those tools. But it does have versions available for just about anything out there, so it can function, say, as a way to go back and forth between multiple computers without losing data.

  2. I love Evernote on my iPad, but I also moved all my Chrome bookmarks to Evernote with web clipper on my Mac. Much nicer to see the whole article instead of having to click on a bookmark link.


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