Evernote is tremendously useful and versatile platform. Over the last number of months it became my go to place for filing almost anything.
After reading Evenote ebook by Dan it got me thinking about different areas of responsibility. One of those is keeping up this blog. It involves making sure I have a post ready for each week. One post a week sounds easy right and perhaps it's for many but for me it's not always. Having a structure in place which lets me focus on different aspects of writing is great aid. As result of some tinkering and reading few different articles I came up with this little writing/blogging workflow.
1.Make a template for a blog post
List key elements/sections which you normally would include in every post:
* sharing platforms
* mentions of people/blogs that influenced the post
Writing in the spur of the moment is great for capturing that moment of inspiration but more often than not writing is laborious process. Creating consistent and attractive looking posts makes better impression on readers and site visitors. This templates allows me focus on writing and when I'm done with it move to other elements of blogging that otherwise could be forgotten. As result my writing efforts can reach more people (hopefully).
2. Use tags to manage different stages for writing process
* draft current/on hold
* to be published
When it comes to writing and blogging there are different stages of the process. In short you start with an idea/rough outline, then you work on developing it, then you publish it or leave it in a queue for later. Tags are perfect way to manage this aspect of flow. Rather than look at all your ideas and half written posts you can select a specific tag.
Splitting different stages of the process allows for greater focus and navigation between elements. Rarely or never you have to look at at published post and ideas at the same time. However at different times you will look at very specific stage. If you look for something new to write simply select "idea" tag, when you want to continue working on something that was open for a while you will select "current" tag.
Easy to manage and configure. I find it quite effective. Rather thank keep a bunch of text files (a good option too) I prefer to have it all in Evernote.
3.Bigger writing projects
Novels or serious post with lots of research and support documentation use a separate notebook or even a stack of notebook.
* gather what's needed in one or more notebooks
* once project is done you can move all the data into single place or assign one tag to find it later.
* keep a small amount of notes (master note) or combination of notes and tags to manage to final result (copy)
Sometimes using tags to separate the content is not best solution, a physical separation may bring better results. When working on something complex which requires a large number of supporting documentation separate notebooks will allow to divide the research from writing and drafts and notes
Couple additional tips and features that make Evernote great writing tool:
Full screen mode is great for focusing on task at hand. It so easy to get distracted by other things happening on you monitor, twitter feed. Full screen might be overwhelming especially when it's just white space but once you start filling that space the sense of progress is encouraging
Inspiration and gathering ideas are very important elements of writing process. Evernote offers simple yet useful ability to record and store voice memos and pictures of thing s that caught your attention.
Often times you will want to share your drafts or finished articles with other people to get their feedback and opinion. To do that you can avail of note links which allow your to send a link to a note via email. You can also use shared notebooks if they are Evernote users too.
One feature that I would like to see in Evernote is a black screen editor for distraction free writing. Sounds odd as it should not matter what you use but somewhat it does. Personally I find that writing on black screen with nothing else on it does really help to keep focused and push that writing forward. Perhaps there will be someone looking at API and thinking of designing a simple and nice editor. For now I'm sticking with WriteMonkey and coping to and from Evernote. Slightly awkward but WriteMonkey seems like a better tool for writing.