Friday, November 21, 2014

evernote: a review

Let's begin with this fact: Evernote didn't know I was writing this. They still, in fact, might not have a clue that I have so many opinions about their application. But, alas, I do.

However, I was introduced to Evernote by no other than Jason Thomas. I was complaining about writing blog post ideas all over the place and he mentioned he used it for making notes when he'd come up with a resolution for a problem at work, or to make a list, or keep things he needed to remember later. I thought this was novel, his recommendation of an app, so I downloaded it. And was overwhelmed by the way I needed to learn how to use it.

I ignored the app for a while, finally uninstalling it when I could just use Notes in my iPhone. Until one fateful day when Nicole from Treasure Tromp shared that she used the app regularly, emphasizing the way that it syncs between all her devices and her ability to organize all the tidbits she put in there with relative ease.

I decided, another try was worth my time. But this time I downloaded Evernote EVERYWHERE. On my MacBook, my PC at work, and on my phone. I challenged myself to find a use for it privately, professionally, and for this blog. And that turned out to be easy. To Do lists at work (complete with check boxes) were made easy, grocery lists at home became interactive and no longer forgotten on the kitchen counter, and a Mr. Thomas and Me notebook was created.

Then came the book writing endeavor of 2014. I had used Scrivener previously for blog post series scheduling, but realized it was challenging because of the lack of interfacing between my multiple devices and it's book-screenplay writing perfection. And, with ease of use book-writing dreams, back to Evernote I go.

Nearly 35,000 words later, I can say: Evernote was what worked for me in a dozen different ways. I won't bore you with How To's (because, really, you just have to practice with it) or the little nitty-gritty, but I will tell you for the most part Evernote gets a two-thumbs and one-toe up.

A few important facts to mention:
-My entire manuscript is in Evernote. Every last bit of those 35,000 words are contained in Evernote's cloud for my access from any computer.
-I have spent a solid two hours every evening in the Mac Evernote interface. That is where the majority of my experience is -sorry PC!
-Evernote has an online interface too. You can access your notebooks from ANYWHERE as long as you have a computer and internet connection. DO YOU KNOW HOW AWESOME THIS IS?
-I'm still surprised by how helpful some of the features are now that I'm invested in using their system -cough, tags, cough.

I don't have to worry about losing my manuscript in part or whole because Evernote's got me covered. Boom, peace of mind.

Saving is a thing of the past. Evernote syncs automatically for you, so there's no such thing as losing even a minor sentence. It also updates the moment you start up your computer or log on to their website so don't sweat about having the wrong version at any time.

I actually like the look of their online interface the best. White, clean, super simple and not the least bit distracting. It almost feels like writing into OmmWriter but without the music.

Yes, the word count is always available as well as when the note was created and when it was last touched/edited/made different. I like numbers -especially during #NaNoWriMo.

You can add in voice notes (so helpful when driving) and pictures as well as clippings from the web or your email if so desired. I can tell you that I've used all of these features in an inspiration note that I keep in case I'm feeling dried up and sick of my own thoughts. All these functions are available on your phone, computer, and through the internet version.

Notes can be organized into notebooks (cool) but then the notebooks don't pull together something cumulative what is filed within it if you need. This can be frustrating when you're, say, writing a book and you want to see all the words together in one giant file, but don't want them to be stuck there.

You can't set up to be double spaced -something I need when I'm staring at a screen for hours and the lines of text start to run together. Evernote will hold the format from a word document, but it's a pain in the ass to copy, paste, format, copy, paste back.

Things like tracking your word count can be a little bit difficult if you're trying to calculate changes in your totals or individual chapters or all the things. I wish I could pull together a spreadsheet (maybe you can in the Premium version -I haven't yet made that commitment).

So you're convinced? Then get over there and get it
Or you know how to use more features than I? SHARE. 


  1. Girl. I literally just downloaded Evernote this week. And no lie, I'm in love. I'm really only using it for the blog right now, but it's been INCREDIBLE. I have a million post ideas per day, and I could never figure out a way to organize and keep from forgetting them all. I love it!

  2. I've never used this but definitely going to check it out now! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Call me old fashioned, but I love the process of literally writing down my thoughts. I write majority of my posts during nap time at work. It's just me, a pen and paper and the sounds of sleeping babies and Jewel's Lullaby. And it's peaceful. But it definitely doesn't have the pros of Evernote.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I think my problem is that I only have the app downloaded on my ipad-- not my phone or computer, so its only useful when I have my ipad with me- I can definitely see using it more if I had it on my other devices as well.

  5. so happy that you gave Evernote another try!! I love it so much

  6. I've been loving it ever since you recommended it! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and tips. :) Okay, embarrassing question.....where does the word count live? I can't find it in the online interface.....

  7. Yesssss. My husband loves Evernote. He has encouraged me to download it. I should get on it! Thanks for sharing.

  8. This sounds so similar to OneNote, which is literally me love child-- IT'S THE BEST RIGHT?!

  9. I've wanted to hop on the Evernote train for a while now, but haven't made the switch! Thanks for putting this together. :)

  10. I wrote almost exclusively paper and pen until I realized that 50000 words was going to be WAY TOO MANY for me to handle. And, that was a good take, but HONESTLY all my revisions will end up in a notebook because I miss the lines and the feeling of working things out physically.

  11. Oh yes... I use it most on my phone and on my computer... So I completely understand those issues! :) Try it and let me know what you think! :)

  12. I COULD NOT FIND IT ONLINE. Which is a no-go.

    Also though, have you tried their beta online interface? It's supposed to be distraction free like OmmWriter. AWESOME.

  13. OneNote? Tell me more about this.

    In finishing the manuscript I put everything in GoogleDrive and sort of enjoy it there... But OneNote? I need to know.

  14. I AM OBSESSED WITH SYNCING. I was just talking with Jason about how I don't know how things worked before when I had to be diligent about emailing things to myself (like in college) so that I could work on the latest draft wherever I might end up! :)

  15. Ummm yes. I'm trying to be more diligent about using it for my blog posts... But find myself getting distracted in the interface. Oy.


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