Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How I Use Evernote As A Writing Tool

                It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Evernote.  Evernote is a program that keeps digital notebooks.  You can create an unlimited amount of notebooks for anything under the sun.  You can keep a notebook for fashion inspiration or for class notes or for quotes that inspire you.  You could make notebooks for all of those things. 
                As a writing tool it’s useful for a lot of reasons.  Number one being, it’s backed up online.  Always, always, always back up your manuscript!  Back it up on a flash drive or an email server, just back it up!  For all the other details, like a typed outline or a random scene thrown in for character development or a list of characters, I use Evernote.  I have what’s called a “notebook stack” for my current work in progress (also known as The Book Without A Name About Faeries And Boyfriends) and in that I keep a notebook for research.  Yes, even fantasy writers do research.  I see you laughing, but I combed through multiple books on Celtic and Norse mythology along with Irish folklore, Scottish folklore, and specifically Orcadian folklore.  In such intense world building as fantasy writers do we need a firm grounding in mythology and folklore.  This notebook contains the names of the books I’ve used as well as any details I want to pick out of the research I’ve done and use, let’s say what the Norse call Faerieland, my main location. 
                Another notebook contains character information, settings, pieces of world building that I may or may not use, and quotes I may or may not use.  I have a notebook in the stack that contains “character interviews” fashioned after ones that Rachel Hawkins did on her blog with her characters just tailored to my world.  For another story I might keep a list of short scenes that I wrote for it, a list of creatures in it, details that connect it with the real world, and once again my characters’ backgrounds.  You can attach files or set source urls so if you come across a great site for your research or an article that you particularly like dealing with your subject, then you can either write the most interesting information in a note and set that as the source url, or you can clip it.
                There is a Google Chrome extension, and I imagine for every browser, that allows you to clip the entire webpage or just a piece of it into an Evernote notebook.  This will then sync with your computer.  Attaching files also allows you to find photos you like, save them, and attach them while also adding their source url.
                Evernote also backs up everything online when you sync it.  This means not only that everything is saved but that you can access it on your phone, iPod, iPad, and any computer with internet access.  So, go to the library to do research and don’t want bring your laptop?  Just use Evernote and it’s all there when you get home.  You can also email or print directly from Evernote. 
                It’s a good place to keep important details that don’t quite have a place in your story or on your outline and that Storybook doesn’t seem to have a good spot for.  It keeps me organized and as writers I’m sure you all know that the creative mind is rarely tidy.  
Evernote Site: www.evernote.com
Evernote Program Download here.


Stay Tuned.

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