Evernote is the love of my life: 5 tips for using the best writing app ever created

This is a guest post by Matthew Turner

I fricking love Evernote!

Sorry for my blasphemy, but my adoration for Evernote is high—and no, I don't work for them. I'm merely very passionate about what they do and how they help poor writers like myself stay on top.

As you may already know, writing is tough. There are so many words to choose from, yet we're expected to choose the right ones each and every time. It's lovely, but tricky, especially when you're tired and sleepy-eyed.

I'm not saying Evernote will turn you into Stephen King, but it can calm the ocean that is your hectic mind.

If you don't know what Evernote is, here's a handy little guide to get you started. Otherwise, let me share five rules I suggest everyone begins with:

The 5 Evernote rules

Research, marketing, interviews, reviews, ideas, publishing, and events are just a few things on your ever-growing list. Evernote can calm the chaos, but I urge you to approach with caution. Without proper address it will become just another chaotic platform to add to your other chaotic platforms. These five rules are here to help:

1. Utilize notes to outline

Your first step is to create a note for everything!

Twitter, Facebook, videos, advertising, scenes, future book ideas…the list is endless. I have well over 100 notes in my Evernote account—ranging from those dedicated to a particular book launch, to chapter breakdowns within books, and to-do lists that get me through my daily routine.

Creating a note is easy and allows you to funnel all relevant ideas into the right location. A few weeks down the line, this will help rather than hinder.

2. Use folders to structure

Once you have a host of notes flying around your Evernote screen, you need to create some notebooks that hold them all in one place.
For example, let's say you have a separate note for each chapter in your upcoming novel. You might like to create a notebook called “New Book Chapters”. This may seem redundant, but trust me—things can get hectic rather quickly, especially when you sync your accounts to phones and tablets.

Any structure that allows you quick and easy access will save a great deal of heartache.

3. Create an ideas page

You may have one or you may have ten, but I strongly advise an ideas page or two. Simply create a new note and fill it with all those ideas you get at the most inappropriate times. You know which ones I mean. It might be related to your book, a potential theme for a video, or a new campaign to get you noticed. If it's inspiration in its truest form, get it down and worry about where it goes later.
Whatever you do, make sure this note is clearly labeled and quick to access. This is the new pen and paper that rests next to your bed at night. I've woken up numerous times at silly-o'clock, reached for my phone, opened up Evernote, and marked down some nonsense. You never know when that perfect idea will strike.

4. Capture research in style

Most books require research. These days research can come in many forms. It might be a link to a website, an online image, a real image, a chapter from a book, or a doodle. Evernote allows you to capture all of this in one single space.

For Beyond Parallel I had a separate note stating: Beyond Parallel Research (creative, right?). Every time I came across something, I placed it in here. Sometimes it was text, sometimes entire documents. Evernote allows you to link, attach, and scan content of every kind. Your research will never be the same again.

5. Sync your world

We live in an ever-expanding world. We have laptops, tablets, and phones. Life is great and crazy all in one go. Evernote allows you to stay on top by linking your devices together, which for most people is invaluable.

Life in the cloud is efficient. You may start a note at home (with your laptop), continue your thoughts on the bus (using your phone), and finish it off at work (via your iPad). This can all be achieved with the same account, the same notebook, and the same note. Everything is linked, synced, and pretty.

Evernote can change your world

There are numerous to-do list apps out there, but none, in my experience, live up to the overall awesomeness that is Evernote. It's so much more than a to-do list tool, rather your life in one single place.

Most of what you will use it for is free, although certain features do require payment. However, even if you have to pay, it's pretty darn affordable. Seriously, I couldn't exist without Evernote anymore.

Staying on top is key. Being a writer is tough. We can quickly spiral out of control and lose all sense. Don't let this happen. Be a modern day writer who stays on top of their world. Evernote can help, trust me.

Do you use Evernote? What's your favorite aspect?

I'd love to hear what you love and hate about the love of my life 🙂

 

Matthew TurnerAbout this post’s author:

Matthew Turner is a writer from Yorkshire, England. His debut novel, Beyond Parallel, is OUT NOW, and if you like coming-of-age tales, it's the perfect book for you. In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. Grab yourself a copy and be part of an emotional rollercoaster that everyone can relate to.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
Emlyn Chand

Great post, Matthew. I’ve downloaded Evernote on my iPad but have never really used it. An app my husband adores for organizing his writing thoughts is “Paper.” Thanks for the amazing informative run-down. I may have to give Evernote a second look.

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    Matthew Turner

    It’s funny how you say that, because it was the third attempt when I fell in love. I downloaded it TWICE, did nothing with it, and was urged to try again. I did, and I quickly fell in love.

    I say give it one more chance 🙂

    Matthew

    Reply
Robin Burks

I’ve been using Evernote for some time now, but decided to use it for the novel I’m currently working on. And OMG! It has been the tool I can now no longer live without. I use it to organize all of my characters, places, things, outline, etc. And being able to access it on my phone or tablet when an idea strikes me is also extremely valuable.

Reply
    Matthew Turner

    Couldn’t agree more Robin. It is such a big part of my life now. I can’t remember how I used to manage without haha

    Matthew

    Reply
Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy)

I love Evernote. I’m generally a pantser but once we began writing book 2 of our series, I realised I needed to keep track of a few things (!) Using Evernote, I created a Series Overview, Book Overviews, Chapter Summaries, Character Summaries, Future Scenes, Unresolved Issues, and even Words I Like!

I also keep a blank Note handy (as suggested) so that I can just scribble scenes that sneak into my mind when I’m not actually ‘writing’. And syncing across devices is priceless.

Great post – thank you!

Reply
    Matthew Turner

    Yep, that blank note is super useful. Saves me all the time. I have to go in and organise every couple of weeks, but in general it stays neat and tidy

    Matthew

    Reply
Michelle Booth

OK, you’ve convinced me to give Evernote another try! I keep a few important lists in there but haven’t really explored it to see what else I could use it for. Thanks!

Reply
    Matthew Turner

    🙂 It’s certainly worth trying. It’s a huge part of my life now

    Matthew

    Reply
Donna McBroom-Theriot

I absolutely love Evernote! Like you, I downloaded it, deleted it, and then downloaded it again several months later. I don’t know what I’d do with it. I have folders for everything. I track deliveries and returns – love that little check box. I download recipe ideas for parties and then I can access them in the market for ingredients. I jot down my notes for stories. And the syncing across devices is so fantastic! Great story on Evernote. Donna

Reply
    Matthew Turner

    It seems to take a few attempts, but once you let it into your life, it’s difficult to let go.

    I can’t imagine live without it now!

    Reply
Woelf Dietrich

Good article. I’ve been using Evernote for the last year and will never again go without it. I use Scrivener for my actual writing and even though you can keep your research organised in it, I prefer Evernote (Scrivener still rocks, but for other reasons). All my research goes into Evernote, including my blogging ideas and drafts, photos, etc. What is also great is that you can tag your notes. This is of particular use when you have lots of them. And, it has this clipper thing that you can install in your browser to clip web pages that you like, or want to use for research. It even gives you an option to clip a selection on the page or the whole page, and then file it in your choice of notebook — all without having to leave the webpage or even open Evernote. Oh, and Evernote is a good-looking app.

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Matthew Turner

loving how you love it so much, and I too LOVE the mighty Scriv!

Sciv and Everyone helped me take my writing to the next level. Such great tools for anyone looking to delve into a project of any type

Matthew

Reply

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