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Evernote for Writers: A Match Made in Writing Heaven

If you’re planning on writing a book or an extensive blog series, you’ve probably already realized that you’ll need some help capturing and organizing your thoughts and content. Enter stage left: Evernote.

Evernote is an excellent tool for writers. Keep reading to learn why.

5 Reasons Evernote is an Excellent Tool for Writers

I’m an Evernote Certified Consultant and I love using Evernote — especially for writing. In fact, this post — and all posts I write — are first started in Evernote before I move them over to WordPress or send them off as guest posts.

I have grown to like Evernote’s minimalist interface as it helps me stay focused on writing. That’s just one reason Evernote is an excellent tool for writers.

Here are five more:

1. Capture your ideas

Think of Evernote as your extended brain. One that doesn’t forget or lose information as quickly as they come in. So, don’t let your best ideas get lost in your head. Instead, dump them in Evernote (referral link) so that you can actually find them when you need them. Psst! Scroll down to read how tags can help you do just that.

Let’s say you’ve wanted to write a book and have tons of ideas for topics. Before you even begin writing, you might first start a notebook called “Book Topics and Ideas.” Throw all your thoughts in that notebook so that when they float away from your brain, you can still find them.

As you flesh things out a bit and select a topic or story to tell, you may want to include possible book titles in your note. Then, once you have a solid title, you can:

  • Start a new notebook with the name of your book as the title of your note. Do this if you want to keep your musings and ideas to look back on or for future use. You can then stack the two related notebooks together.
  • Rename “Book Topics and Ideas” with the title of your book. Do this if you don’t want to keep your ideas brain dump.

Have I mentioned that you can include audio notes and photos in your Evernote? If you’re not in the typing mood, take a pic or create an audio note instead. Easy peasy!

Pin this post to your Evernote board

Want the Mac version of this video? Go here

2. Stay on track with Evernote writing templates

You may want to start writing straight away or if you’re like me, you might want to do a bit of planning first. There are Evernote writing templates that will help keep you on track and focused on finishing that book.

The templates are often generated by Evernote users who then share them with the rest of us to make our lives easier. Sometimes, the nice folks at Evernote create them, too. Forrest Bryant recently created 12 (yes, 12!) writing templates, including:

Check out all 12 writing templates here.

3. Collect research with the Web Clipper

One of the most helpful Evernote tools is the Web Clipper. While on your Internet research travels, you will come across data, facts, and stats that are crucial to your book or post. Use the Web Clipper to save them to Evernote. Collect all your findings in the “research” note for your book or blog post.

It’s as simple and easy as that.

Pin this post to your Evernote board

4. Organize your content

When I’m writing a blog post in Evernote, I use a specific process that helps me quickly find what I want and figure out my next step.

  • Naming convention. If the post is for my own blog, I use [DAL Blog Post] as the preface to the title. If it’s a guest post, I create a 3- or 4-character prefix to identify the publishing website.
  • Tags: Content. I use tags to organize my content. If the post is about apps, I use “apps” as my tag. If it’s about getting things done, the tag will likely be “productivity.” Btw, my tags usually correspond to the categories on my blog. Psst! There are only 8 categories on my blog. Wanna know why? Ask me!
  • Tags: Process. Each new post is also tagged as “draft.” When the post is finally published, “draft” is replaced by — you guessed it — “published.”

As you can see, my system is not profound or complicated. It’s simple and easy for me to keep up with. So, the system you come up with for your writing project should be easy for you as well.

Btw, if you’re the sort who likes to research before writing anything, you could use the tag “research” along with any others that identify your chapter or topic.

Want the Mac version of this video? Go here.

5. Write from any location

Did your brain spark while you’re away from your desk and flood your mind with new plot twists or ideas to include in your book or blog post? The good news is that whether you’re on your feet, a park bench, plane, train, or automobile (as the passenger, of course), you won’t lose those ideas.

Fire up the Evernote app on your tablet or smartphone and get all that those juicy details out of your head. That way, when your brain slows down a bit, Evernote will be your back up brain. All those important tidbits will be waiting for you when it’s time to get back to writing — no matter where you are.

Do you use Evernote or another tech tool for writing? What’s your process? Please share in the comments!

Pin this post to your Evernote board

Hey there, I’m Deb. I’m a Digital Productivity Coach and Consultant, Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker, and lover of all things tech. I’m also addicted to apps and love helping small business owners leverage technology so they can be more productive.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. My whole life is in Evernote–I’m not sure how I ever lived without it. I have notebooks for my current book and for future books I’d like to write. Every time an idea pops into my head, I open Evernote, go to the notebook, and jot it down for the future. Thanks for sharing your Evernote knowledge–I’m going to check out those writing templates!

    1. Once you get into a routine of using Evernote, it really does become your go-to spot to save ideas. Be sure to export your notebooks from time to time and please let me know how you like those writing templates. =)

  2. I went to a training on using Evernote a couple of years ago and then I never really got onto it. Great ideas here, Deb. It would be nice to be able to work on my blog when inspiration hits!

    1. Evernote can seem overwhelming, but take small bites at the apple — like creating a notebook for blog topic ideas. It’s easy to do and you can throw stuff you find on your Internet travels that support your blog ideas in there, too. Let me know how you decide to test the Evernote waters. =)

  3. Like Seana, I’ve attended several Evernote training sessions. At least one of those was with Joshua Zerkel. I also experimented with using it. I can’t quite pinpoint what it was, but while I understood the power of what it could do and how it could support me, there was something that didn’t work for me. In reading your post and watching some of the videos, it looks enticing again. I think one of the issues was that you have to go all in. And since I have working systems that are well established, I haven’t wanted to give those up. Do you think it’s an all or nothing situation?

    1. I think when I first heard about Evernote, I felt the way you did, too. While it is a powerful tool, you have to have an idea of how you’ll use it. Where will it fit in your workflow(s)? Will you use it to manage your entire business — people, processes, and (digital) paper? I think that can be the sticking point. So, before you use it, first figure out how you want to use it.

      And, no I don’t think you have to “go all in.” Test it out on something small, like clipping interesting things you find on the web. Get to know it a bit and also see if it integrates with those tools you love and are already using. Hope you’ll stop back to let me know how this new “relationship” goes. =)

  4. I used to use Evernote, but it really slowed down my old computer, so I switched to OneNote, which I still use. Now I have a really fast computer, I should think of switching back. I like OneNote, but think Evernote has a lot more features.

  5. I love Evernote and use all of these tips well except for one — I always forget about templates. Thanks for the excellent primer and the reminder of all the ways Evernote can benefit authors.

  6. Thanks for all of the great tips, Allison! After 2-3 years of debating, I have finally decided to start writing a book chronicling my journey with fighting cancer. I’ve used Evernote for over 10 years and it just makes sense to use the platform that I am so familiar with. If I ever get it published I will send you a free copy! 🙂

    1. Kevin – As a fellow Evernote user, I understand why this would be the app of choice for your book.

      And, what a journey you’re on, both emotional and physical. I’m sure that by sharing your story, you’ll also be helping others who are in a similar situation. Please do tell me when your book hits the virtual or real bookshelves!

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