My New Love Affair . . . With Evernote

Howdly Doodly, Scriberinos. Suze here. Today, because you’re all close friends and I know I can trust you, I want to tell you a Secret. Don’t spread this around, but I’ve been having an affair. A cyberaffair. I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!

Kiss me, you fool!

My new amour is . . . a computer program called Evernote. (Click here to meet my honey). Maybe that sounds like the premise for a science fiction novel, but I assure you it’s very real.

I know some of you are rolling your eyes out there. Suze, you say, Evernote’s been around for a while, as has the Microsoft version, Onenote.  I’ll grant you that. But I didn’t know about it, so it didn’t exist for me, okay?

So what’s Evernote?  It’s a free, very user-friendly program that enables you to organize any project in a coherent, completely portable way.  (There is a paid, upgraded version of Evernote, but for now the free version is working fine for me).  I believe Onenote works basically the same way, but it costs money.  For each project you create a new Notebook, give it a name, and then create Notes within the Notebook.  Here’s an example of how I am using this to organize a future writing project:

I have an idea for a paranormal spoof on a classic novel.  I know I’m not going to get to this project for a few months, but now I have a place to store ideas as they come to me or as I find interesting articles on the web that I think might be useful.  I created a Notebook with the working title of the novel.  Within that Notebook I made a Note where I simply brainstormed ideas.  I made another Note with the Sparknotes (www.sparknotes.com) for the classic novel I plan to spoof.  ‘Cuz, I might not have time to reread the whole book, you understand. I made another Note with the entire text of the classic novel, which is in the public domain and therefore fair game, obtained from Project Gutenberg (www.projectgutenberg.com).  See how this works?  Everything, all in one place. No sticky notes.  No incomprehensible scribblings on the back of a junk mail envelope or the back of my hand.  No headslaps because I’ve forgotten a fabulous idea.  When this novel makes its way to the front of my To-Be-Written queue, I will be ready.

Evernote can work for basically any project.  Are you redecorating your living room?  You can make a Notebook and put all your ideas and a to-buy list in that.  Need a place to organize your recipes?  That could work too.  There’s a cool web clipper that allows you to cut and paste web pages into your Notebooks — no more printing stuff off and sticking it into a to-be-filed pile (or in my case, a never-to-be-filed pile!)

And guess what?  Evernote is accessible from any computer with an internet connection, anywhere. It can synch up with your smart phone, so you can use your phone to take pictures to add to your Notebooks.  I think you can even make audio notes to yourself.  The best part (other than it’s free)?  No backup required, because the information is stored, not on your computer, but out in Cyberia somewhere.  So unless we don’t make it past 12/21/12 in which case you won’t care anyway, you will never lose your hard work.

Trust me when I say I’m no tech goddess.  Up until a year or so ago I could use a computer for basic word processing and web surfing.  I had only a very basic cell phone, and could barely use a digital camera.  I made a conscious decision to get more up to speed with technology, and my skills have grown exponentially since then.  Oh, it still scares me a little.  That scene from Poltergeist where the kid gets sucked into the portal and ends up in the television always lurks in the back of my mind.  And I do still carry a small spiralbound notebook and a pen around with me for those nostalgic, lazy moments.  Just as ebooks will never completely replace physical books for me, Evernote can’t serve all my needs.  But it’s doing a pretty good job, just the same.

What about you?  How do you feel about technology?  What can’t you live without?  How do you use it in your personal and professional lives?  Has it made your existence better … or worse? (How many questions can I pose in one blog?)  Have a fabulous Thursday, everyone!

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23 thoughts on “My New Love Affair . . . With Evernote”

  1. I love technology! As you know, I love my iPod touch and I couldn’t live without my laptop. When it suddenly died last August, I replaced it the same day.

    I will have to check Evernote out. And I will be watching to see if it helps you write your novels faster!

    1. Ha Ha! I’m still waiting for the technology that will go into my head and extract a perfectly constructed, beautifully written novel, then convert it immediately to text and deliver it to a salivating editor. Scientists! Chop Chop! Can someone get to work on this please?

      1. Let me know when you find that technology. I’ll be in line right behind you to have it installed. haha.

        Evernote sounds simple. I know my critique partner loves Onenote, but its not on my computer (its on the hubby’s) . I’ll check out the Evernote. Thanks for sharing, Suze.

        As for technology I can’t do with out, it would only be my laptop and cell phone (work and family).

  2. We’ve all got our eye on you here, Suze. I’ve used One Note to organize some information for my Dystopian trilogy and it is an awesomely powerful and convenient tool. My problem is, like you, I’m a bit tech resistant and unlike you, have not fallen in love yet. I’ve come a long way myself, but honestly, I forget to send things to One Note and have as yet really figured out how to use all the features so it has turned into one more messy filing cabinet for me. I really need to take lessons in how to organize files on my computer. It drives my husband, and me, crazy trying to find anything. I used it a lot when I first found it and see the benefits, but old habits die hard and I’m still drawn to my pencil and notebooks.

    1. The free version of Evernote I’m using is very simple and does not have any bells and whistles like the full version of Onenote, so I can’t get myself bogged down with that (which I could definitely see happening). I love that I can see something that catches my eye or sparks my imagination, and have a place to store it digitally until I figure out why I need it.

    1. I hear you! I love organizational products, but often don’t use the ones I buy. Clearly, the thing to do is just to pick something and stick with it — far, far easier said than done when there are new, shiny products coming out all the time!

    1. You’re still gorgeous, even with your hair on fire! (It’s a hot look for you) I made myself a Note which contains my to-do list, and as I think of things I just add them on. I was able to create little check boxes (ctrl+shift+c in Evernote) that make it look very professional, plus it’s fun to be able to put the little checkmark in once I’ve completed something. It’s pretty low-tech, as far as tech goes, but it’s working really well for me so far.

      1. You two crack me up! I’m sporting the hair-on-fire method myself these days. Who need organization? A fire extinguisher would be just as useful at this point.

  3. Have had Evernote for awhile and even have notes in it…but pen and paper is always my first choice so I keep forgetting how to use the program! Of course I also constantly loose my notebooks so maybe I am hopeless.

    1. Not hopeless! I tend to lose notebooks around the house too. Maybe we should attach them to a chain and wear them around our necks! But then we might not be able to find a pen . . . :)

  4. Sounds intriguing…..I will check it out. I like that you can send pictures to it. I take so many pictures that stay on my phone and do me no good when I have to go searching through them. Pretty cool concept. I also like that any online research can be sent to it. No more printing! I am still a notebook person for brainstorming though. I don’t type fast enough for my thoughts. But perhaps I can get used to typing in the ideas after.

    Thanks, Suze for an informative morning. Great way to stay on those New Year’s goals.

    1. I haven’t actually tried sending pictures or voice recordings to it — but Evernote says you can. I’m fortunate to be a fast typist, and I can actually type close to the same rate I think, so I will never be one of those people (like Stephen King) who can hand-write an entire novel. I see the value in it (developing that hand-brain connection), but for me it’s too inefficient.

    1. Let me know how it works out for you, Gail. And I hope you’ll post before and after pictures of your bathroom renovation. I’ll bet it goes from merely beautiful to outrageously stunning!

  5. I love technology. Thanks for the tip, I’m going to check it out for sure. I am all for any form of better organization. God knows my banker boxes stacking up here in the corner have got to go! :)

    1. Theoretically, Gerri, you could take the information in your banker’s boxes, scan it, and organize it into Notebooks with Evernote. But then your dogs might not have a place to hide behind the stacks!

  6. I have a freaky good memory for certain things. I’m not a note taker by nature and somehow made through highschool and college without taking any (gasp!) notes. I love the idea of organizing my life but when it comes to actually doing it I stink.

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