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!
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!