I haven’t really talked about it here much, but I’m a geek.
Yes, geeky and proud! I love superhero movies and sci-fi, video games and computers! That side of me comes in handy at the day job where my love for technology, gadgets, staying up-to-date on latest trends and devices allows me to help people with disabilities increase functioning, independence and productivity. I’m lucky, I really love my day job! Of course, having a day job means less time for writing, but hey, got to earn a living, right?
So what does me being a geek and loving technology or my day job have to do with writing? Well, I spend a lot of time researching and trying out hardware, software and apps to stay organized and productive. Part of it is for my own geeky interests and part of it is for work. But lately I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to organize my stories, poems, blog posts, my ideas for blogs vs. my ideas for stories, and so on. Right now they’re all over the place! So, I’ve decided I better figure out which is the best one for me and stick to it.
This got me wondering, maybe I should share with you what (sort of) works for me and visa versa.
My Top 3! (In no particular order)
Evernote (www.evernote.com) — is a free web-based organizational program and one of my favorites. You can store and organize everything and anything on Evernote by creating digital notebooks. Each notebook can contain as many notes as you want and each note can contain text, pictures, websites clippings, audio recordings, etc. I’ve got notebooks for Writing Articles, Writing Ideas, Blog Post Ideas, Recipes, Book Reviews, Tech Articles, House and Home, etc. You can see I’ve got a blend of work, my home life and my writing.
You can tag each note with keywords like “editing,” “queries,” “productivity,” etc. and when you need to find something you can sort by tags or do a quick search to easily pull up the information.
Evernote is web-based and has apps for Android and iPhone/iPad so I can access and update my information anywhere I have Internet. It works pretty well for me … but … I feel like I could do better. Not sure if it’s the visual layout that doesn’t quite do it for me. I’m still using it but I’m exploring other options. Click here if you want to read about how other people use Evernote.
OneNote – Has to be the best note-taking and organizational software program I’ve ever used! It’s full of polished features and has a great visual layout, looking and working like a virtual 3-ring binder. If it’s so great, you’d think I’d be using it for my writing, right? Well, I would except it only works on Windows. I use it at work and I have it on my desktop at home but I use my Mac for writing. If your interested you can check out this demo to see it in action. Until they come out with a Mac version, I have to pass on this one. Also, if you don’t already have OneNote with your MS Office Suite, it sells for about $69.
Scrivener – What an awesome program! I treated myself to this software for my Mac when I finished my first draft of my WIP. If you are a writer and aren’t familiar with Scrivener (http://literatureandlatte.com/index.php), it’s a program created for writers. It allows you to focus on your writing, but also lets you keep all of your related notes, research, websites, character sketches and so much more in one place. I imported my WIP and have been working on my drafts in Scrivener. I’ve also been using it for my short stories.
Last weekend I decided to try using it to organize my blog posts and ideas as well. The visual layout is appealing and gives the option to view your story in a cork-board and outline mode and lets you move scenes around with an easy drag and drop. It also offers a distraction free writing mode, which I like.
It sells for $45, but you can get a free trial, so if you’ve never used it or have thought about trying it but haven’t yet, I highly recommend it! This article might make you want to switch to using Scrivener for your writing.
The only downside of Scrivener for me is that if I don’t have my Mac with me, I don’t have my writing with me. If only Evernote and Scrivener had a baby — that would be the perfect combination for me!
What do you use?
So back to my initial question: what do you use to organize your writing? Handwritten notes, index cards, folders on your computer, Microsoft Word or some other method? Maybe you use one of the ones I mentioned? I’d love to know!
In the meantime …
I’ll see if I can narrow myself down to one method or another. Of course, while I’m busy trying to figure out which one works best for me, I realize I’m not doing much writing. Maybe I should just get back to that! 🙂