Join Jessica Brody for an in-depth discussion in this video Device hack #2: The ultimate organization app, part of Productivity Hacks for Writers.
(gentle music) - [Instructor] A big part of being more productive is being more organized. That's why I included the hack about keeping your writing space clean and organized. An organized mind is a productive mind. If your brain is too busy trying to put things in order and remember where you put stuff, there's less processing power available to actually write the words. One of the best organizational tools for writers that I found is an app called Evernote. If you've never heard of Evernote you're in for a treat.
If you have then keep listening. I might provide some information on how to get the most out of it that you haven't heard or tried before. Why you need Evernote? Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar? I was hanging out with one of my author friends the other day, and she wanted to tell me about a book idea she had and get my thoughts on it. "Great," I said, "Let's hear it." I waited in her kitchen for about 20 minutes while she rifled through about a dozen different notebooks in three different boxes before she found the notebook she was looking for. Then I waited for another 10 minutes while she leapt through every page of that notebook.
All the while she kept sheepishly looking at me going, "I'm sorry I know it's in here somewhere." Then in the middle of her search she went, "Oh here are those notes from the call I had with my agent six months ago, I was looking for these." How many of you have had this problem? How many of you have boxes or cabinets or drawers full of notebooks? How many of you carry a notebook around with you wherever you go in case brilliance strikes while you're waiting in line at the supermarket. Because we're writers we should be prepared. We're creative creatures who have no idea when the next billion-dollar idea will hit us, and we want to be able to get it down right away.
The problem of course is finding it later, not to mention the much larger problem, what if you lose that notebook? Enter Evernote, what is Evernote? Evernote is essentially a note-taking app for your phone and desktop. Think of it as replacing every ready, earmarked, coffee-stained notebook that you have stacked up in your closet, bedside, drawer, bag and car. Let's take a look at it. So this is your main view of Evernote. You can have as many notebooks as you want which are here, and within each notebook you can have as many notes as you want, which are here.
Notes can be in the form of text, pictures, web clippings or audio recordings. And they all sync across all your devices. So if you're standing in line at the supermarket and you have a great idea for your new book or article you can record it right into the Evernote app in your phone and it will be here on your desktop waiting for you when you get back. There are several different views for the notes, you can choose to view them as cards, as snippets which is my preference or as a list.
You can also change how you sort your notes. You can sort by title, date created, date updated et cetera. One of the coolest things about Evernote is its robust search function, it's very powerful. So if you had an awesome book or article idea the other day about robots and you're looking for it, you can come up here and search robots, and there it is. But you can see that we're actually only seeing the search results from this notebook.
So I would click here and select all notebooks and then I find all my notes that contained the word robots. And best of all Evernote is free, there is a paid, premium version of Evernote which gives you some extra cool features. But I found that the free version is pretty much all you need to get by. When would you use Evernote? There are tons of great uses for Evernote. I mean you can essentially organize your entire life with it. For writers however I think the main uses are ideas for books, stories, articles essays or blog posts.
I have a dedicated notebook for ideas. And each idea is stored as a separate note. Notes for the project that you're working on. I have a dedicated notebook for every book I've ever written or I'm writing. Filled with notes about characters, plots, outlines, questions for my editor, random scenes I came up with at random times. Random pieces of dialogue that I've thought of but don't know where they fit yet. And all of the research I do for the book. Brainstorming new projects, keeping track of marketing and publicity efforts.
I have a notebook called Marketing and Publicity where I keep all of my ideas and plans for marketing a new book. My favorite features in Evernote. Evernote has some amazing features. I feel like I'm still finding cool stuff it can do. But I'm going to share with you five of my favorite Evernote features. So let's dive in again and take a look. You can install a plugin for your browser that allows you to clip articles and pages from websites and store them right into Evernote. So when you're searching for something for your project and you find a great article that you want to keep organized with the rest of your notes, like this article on the future of robots, you simply click the Web Clipper icon in your web browser.
From there you can choose which format you want the article saved in in your notebook. There are several different formats but I prefer this simplified article, which removes all the ads and unnecessary other information and translates the article into a clean easy to read note. So let's use this format for our example. After I select simplified article I then select which notebook I want the article to appear in. I'm going to choose this untitled robot book. Then you can add tags if you want, like research, robots, technology et cetera.
You can also add a remark like a little post-it note to yourself to remind yourself why you clipped this. And then click Save. And voila the article will appear in that notebook on your computer and on your phone. So you can access it whenever you need it. And also as soon as you clip an article or webpage, it instantly becomes searchable in Evernote's awesome search function. So let's say two weeks from now you remember you clipped an article about robots, but you can't remember what it was called or which article it was.
But you remember seeing something about robots being able to flip hamburgers. You could search hamburgers, and there it is. Let's say you're co-writing something with another writer or you're planning a joint signing event with another author or you simply want to share your notes with someone like your agent, editor, publicist or anyone else, Evernote has a great sharing feature. You can share entire notebooks or single notes.
You can choose to share it with one or multiple people. You can also type a message here to those people and you can choose your permissions. People can either view, edit or do both. Anyone you share your note or notebooks with has to have an Evernote account to be able to view or edit. But since it's free to have an account, it's really no big deal. When a notebook or note is shared and the other person makes changes.
The next time you log into Evernote you can see what they've done. Along the same lines of sharing notes and notebooks, Evernote also has a great work chat feature. It's like instant messenger but it's built right into Evernote. So you can talk about your shared project in real time. I'm currently working on a book project with one author and a few writing courses with other authors. So I use the work chat to send notes to them and chat with them about the project and the changes I've made to our shared notes. The chats are also synced to your phone or wherever else you have the Evernote app installed.
So even if you're switching computers, switching phones, switching tablets, you'll still always have all your notes and chats available to you. One of my all-time favorite features of Evernote and probably the feature I use the most is the ability to record audio right into a note. This is super handy if you're like me and you get all of your best ideas when you're driving and can't write them down. When this happens I open Evernote on my phone, click the record button and I can record hours and hours of audio.
Then I simply name the note, I'm going to name it Brainstorm session, and choose the notebook I wanted to go into. Then by the time I get home to my computer the recording is there and I can either listen back and type up the note or just keep it for future reference when I need it. I also like to use this feature when I'm brainstorming with a friend. I have lots of writer friends who I do brainstorming sessions with. Setting an audio recording makes it so I don't have to write down every single thing we say.
And it frees up my head to do more and better brainstorming. Or it frees up my hands to write stuff down on a whiteboard or plot board. And best of all that recording is stored in the same place with the rest of my notes, brainstorms, clipped articles and research. If Evernote wasn't keeping you organized enough, the tag feature takes organization to a whole new level. The tag feature in Evernote is for grouping notes within the same notebook or across multiple notebooks that have something in common. It allows you to assign tags or labels to every single note and then view notes only with that tag.
For example, let's say you have a character in your book or a person in your article or essay named Rachel Rivers and she's a competitive swimmer. So you do research online about competitive swimming because you need to learn more about it. Every article or website you clip you're going to add the tag Rachel Rivers. Then you might start gathering pictures of what Rachel looks like or what her house looks like or what kind of clothes she wears.
Then when I find a picture of something I like I can copy the picture, create a new note in Evernote, name it Rachel's clothes, paste in the picture and tag it with the same tag, Rachel Rivers. And finally let's say you do a brainstorm or audio recording or write down a piece of dialogue or idea you get about Rachael Rivers. You tagged those notes with the Rachael Rivers tag. Now when you sit down to write about Rachel Rivers, you simply click the Rachel rivers tag and everything you've collected about Rachel regardless of what notebook you put it in, is easily accessible, pretty cool right? So those are just a few awesome things you can do with Evernote.
You probably feel yourself becoming more organized and productive just watching this lecture. I know Evernote is pretty magic. It does all the organizing or sorting for you so your brain doesn't have to. Because your brain has better things to do than organize and remember where things are, you know like writing.
- Tracking your daily word count
- Dressing the part
- Fueling your body and soul
- Training your brain waves
- Creating a productive workspace
- Mobile device hacks and apps for writers