Elephant never Forgets — Evernote: The Writer’s Journal

Elephant Never Forgets by John Matychuk CC0 Public Domain from Unsplash

      They say the ele­phant nev­er for­gets. Look at the face of the African Ele­phant here and it is pos­si­ble to see their pow­er. This is true in my dai­ly life as a writer. Let me explain. When I write, Ever­note is my pri­ma­ry method of record­ing all of my writ­ing ideas. I find it such a suc­cess­ful tool I con­stant­ly feel the need to tell oth­ers about it. It is my wish that you find Ever­note as use­ful as I do. Open a note and the work­ing area allows you to con­cen­trate on the task at hand — that is writ­ing the piece I am work­ing on. More than 200 mil­lion peo­ple use Ever­note as their dai­ly work-space. Best of all you can sign up for free (and not have to give cred­it card details) and use it for free.

There is a pow­er­ful rea­son the logo for this tool is an ele­phant head, it turns the cliché into real­i­ty. The ele­phant nev­er for­gets your work.


Why do I Use Evernote?


Evernote      In the sec­ond half of the 2000s, I found that my work sched­ule kept me on the move, but dur­ing the course of the day I had plen­ty of open time. It pro­vid­ed cre­ative oppor­tu­ni­ties, time to take notes, advance projects, write etc. Most often when I was trav­el­ling from loca­tion to loca­tion, using some form of pub­lic tran­sit, whether taxis, limos, trains, or fly­ing. The tablet com­put­er (as we know it today) had not quite been invent­ed at this time. The note­book com­put­er wasn’t always con­ve­nient to use, And the bat­tery was so often near­ly dead. One thing I did have, was  a Black­ber­ry phone. This was with me all the time (pro­vid­ed by the com­pa­ny) and was so essen­tial for my work.

I start­ed to take notes via my phone, cre­at­ing an email to myself and peri­od­i­cal­ly send myself these notes. As a note pro­gressed I would once again send it to myself. This solu­tion was far from per­fect, but it pro­vid­ed a workaround to my thought gath­er­ing process.

      The day when the phone crashed and the email lost was the day I decid­ed I need­ed some­thing else. As it turned out this was the day when the Black­ber­ry net­work for the whole of North Amer­i­ca crashed at the same time (the sec­ond time in 3 years). That is when I start­ed to look for a soft­ware solu­tion that would make sure my work is synced between my phone and com­put­er. I had tried sev­er­al options that didn’t have what I real­ly need­ed. I start­ed using Ever­note in about 2010 or 2011, hop­ing this was the one. Today it is the most used soft­ware on my com­put­er, per­haps with the sin­gle excep­tion of the web brows­er. I use Ever­note to take all the notes I need for my writ­ing. It goes with me every­where, so I can add a note wher­ev­er I like. I know the ele­phant nev­er forgets.


Evernote Notebooks


The basic part of Ever­note is the Note­book. They help you organ­ise your work. For exam­ple you could organ­ise your work accord­ing to writ­ing project. The fol­low­ing gives an idea of the type of note­book struc­ture that you may find useful:

From this you should see that it is pos­si­ble for note­books to have oth­er note­books inside them. This means that you can group all your draft work togeth­er in one place, with­out the pub­lished mate­r­i­al inter­rupt­ing your train of thought. Anoth­er way to organ­ise your note­book is by sub­ject, so all relat­ed mate­r­i­al is in the same book. In addi­tion notes can haves tags against them, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to find all mate­r­i­al relat­ed to the tag.


Evernote Interface


Evernote app

The Ever­note App has 3 pan­els, as shown above:

  • The Left Side­bar or Panel.
  • The Notes Pan­el con­tain­ing the lat­est notes, or those in the notebook.
  • The Note con­tents in the right-hand panel.

In the left pan­el, you can browse your notes by the note­books they belong to or by the tags asso­ci­at­ed with your notes.

In the cen­tral Notes Pan­el you may either scroll down to find the note you wish to work on of search for it, using Search Notes. My Ever­note app will sort the notes accord­ing to the Updat­ed Date, in reverse chrono­log­i­cal order. You can choose how your notes are sorted.


Add a New Note


There are many ways to cre­ate a new note. You will cre­ate must using the “New Note” but­ton in the app. This will open a new win­dow which will have a Title Box, into which you should add a work­ing title for my piece, and the note body. If you don’t cre­ate your own title it will auto­mat­i­cal­ly fill it from the first line of our work.

The good thing about the new note pan­el is how it has the look of a word proces­sor. You can change the font, size, for­mat text, add colour etc. You can take a pic­ture from your computer’s cam­era and have that embed­ded into your note.

Anoth­er way of cre­at­ing new notes is to use the Ever­note Clip­per tool. This is a web brows­er exten­sion which you can use to copy a web­site. To use it you must add the exten­sion to your brows­er and acti­vate it. When you first use the Clip­per tool (and when you have not used it for some time) you will need to sign in to your Ever­note account.


Evernote Clipper

      Clip­ping web pages is easy, all you need to do is click on the ele­phant icon in your brows­er tool­bar, select the note­book you wish to save the item in then click “Save”. I clip arti­cles that I intend to ref­er­ence from work I have under­way. This saves me keep­ing the web page open for sev­er­al days at a time. I nor­mal­ly delete those notes once I have fin­ished the arti­cle that I am devel­op­ing. You should always respect the originator’s copy­right.


Lists and Action Items

Evernote to do checkbox

      Many users have Ever­note man­age their dai­ly to-do list, insert­ing check box­es into their notes. I use this when there are sev­er­al points that need cov­er­ing in a piece before it is com­plete, such as a reminder to tell a par­tic­u­lar sto­ry. Nor­mal­ly, I delete the check list when the note is com­plete and I am ready to pub­lish my material.

      These lists do not take the place of a seri­ous to-do or project man­age­ment tool, but are fine to set top­ic reminders, per­haps items that need research­ing.

Evernote Table

Anoth­er tool you can use here is the table. This is use­ful for more com­plex lists. It is sim­i­lar to the table that can be used in Microsoft Word and doesn’t offer the com­plex­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with an Excel spreadsheet.



You can print your notes direct­ly from Ever­note. I do this occa­sion­al­ly when need­ed. It will print your note in memo style. The Note title is at the top of the page, fol­lowed by details about the note, then the text of the note. I nor­mal­ly print a note when show­ing some­thing to some­one who doesn’t use the tool.



What I like about Evernote


The best fea­ture Ever­note offers is is the one you think least about. The abil­i­ty to sync your data between devices. You can install it on your PC, use it on a Tablet and the soft­ware ensures that your work remains synced. You need not take any steps to make that hap­pen. If you sign-up with the basic/free plan it is pos­si­ble to sync only two devices, although if you find your­self using, such as, a com­put­er in the library you may still log in to the web ver­sion of the prod­uct with­out hav­ing to pay an extra fees on your plan. The Plus plan costs $47 per year, while Pre­mi­um is $90 and each has addi­tion­al facil­i­ties that are nec­es­sary for the seri­ous user. Plus is afford­able but there is plen­ty of capa­bil­i­ty with the free version.

I have nev­er lost a note since using Ever­note. Should you attempt to edit one note in two places (like your PC and your Android device). The soft­ware places your note into a tem­po­rary “Con­flict­ing Changes” note­book. It is rare, but when it does hap­pen, all you need to do is look at both ver­sions then man­u­al­ly apply any changes that couldn’t be merged auto­mat­i­cal­ly and remove the con­flict­ing document.

If you find some­thing you don’t under­stand there is an on-line help and learn­ing cen­tre which will offer a help­ing hand. This is quite an in-depth repos­i­to­ry of knowledge.


The Elephant Never Forgets

Are you inter­est­ed in using Ever­note. If you are then you can sign up here. Remem­ber: the ele­phant nev­er forgets

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4 Replies to “Elephant never Forgets — Evernote: The Writer’s Journal”

  1. Okay, I’m going to give it a shot. I’m get­ting bet­ter at this tech­nol­o­gy thing and I think Ever­note will work for me. But I’m not going to throw out my pen and paper just yet…

    1. Mary, When I try some­thing new I nev­er throw away the old sys­tem, until I am cer­tain the new one works for me. These things are often a case of tri­al and error and how com­fort­able they are for your way of working.

  2. […] on which to com­ment on. Where is the fun in that? In truth we should rarely start from noth­ing. In Ever­note I have more than 120 notes, or ideas, that I have start­ed and not yet com­plet­ed. Most of these […]

  3. […] Adding notes to Ever­note any-time I think of some­thing that needs saying […]

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