In the late 1940s, Jack Kerouac wrote his iconic Beat-era novel “On the Road” in a series of notebooks. In 1951, he typed the manuscript out on a continuous 120-foot scroll of paper. It took him three weeks and, as legend has it, a friend’s dog ate the original ending.
More than six decades later, the laptop holds court where the typewriter once reigned. We still carry trusty notebooks, but now we can easily digitize the words within to keep them safe. The tools have evolved, but the need to turn ideas into written words is still vital to work and life.
You may say you’re not a writer. But if you have a job that requires communicating with others, you are. If you keep a to-do list, that’s writing. If you draft a project plan, report or meeting agenda, that’s writing. And, if you’re like most writers, you want to be more skilled at using your words.
Evernote is a boon for writers of every stripe. Even a few low-tech Luddites we know use it in tandem with their handwritten words. Here’s how it can support your writerly efforts:
1. Phone it in. If you haven’t downloaded Evernote for mobile, be like Neil Gaiman and do it today so you can capture ideas on the fly: in the office, waiting in line, sittin’ on the dock of the bay.
2. Do your research. Acclaimed writer Susan Orlean loves Evernote for collecting research. We do, too. Got Web Clipper? Start using it on the regular to clip and curate what you find online.
3. Nurture an idea. Put a germ of an idea in Evernote and keep adding to it ‘til you’re ready to write. Along with your words, gather related web clips, emails, Word docs, and PDFs in a single note or multiple notes in a notebook.
4. Make an outline. Many a grade school research paper would have gone nowhere without an outline. And so it is for grownups. If you’re stuck, outline the sections of your writing project in a note. From there, it’s easier to complete a draft.
5. Don’t lose your notes. Our Scannable app makes quick work of handwritten notes. Grab a quick scan of meeting notes or other spontaneous scrawls and add them to the appropriate notebook, where you can work with them later.
Evernote isn’t just for taking notes. It’s for shaping great ideas into accomplishments. How do you use Evernote for writing? Share your advice in comments.