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I’ve tried a lot of the different writing software packages (Final Draft, Celtix, Scrivner, text editor, etc.) The reality is that we writers can write in nearly any app of our choosing, but its organizing the extraneous information for our books where we tend to need help.

A co-worker and I eventually ended up using WriteItNow by Ravenshead Services (bear with me, this is not exactly a plug for this product). We love(d) the product. Everything we needed to keep us organized was all in one place. Also, he is a HUGE Mac user and I’m predominately a Windows user, which worked out since WriteItNow is made for both platforms.

Recently I’ve left WriteItNow for Evernote.

What Evernote allows me to do that WriteItNow doesn’t:

  • I can use Evernote on all my devices: Android, iOS, Windows and Mac
  • Because I have more flexibility with devices, I can use it nearly anywhere and anytime
  • Give me a WiFi connection, and regardless of the device, all my notes/writing are synced up to the Cloud and available whenever I change to a different device
  • Handwriting-to-digital conversion. Nuff’ said!
  • I’m still able to organize myself at any degree I need for me
  • I can clip items from the web directly into a note
  • I can quickly switch between notes within my Novel “notebook” and copy/paste directly into my main writing note
  • It’s FREE!! (for the features I’m using)

In the image below, the “Novel Template” is a notebook (container) for that novel. Each of the “Main Story” to “Event” items are separate notes within that notebook that I can add text, images, audio, etc. I built out my notes in the image below to match the sections I’ve grown accustomed to in the WriteItNow software. Each writer may have different sections or notes that work better for them.

Screen Shot 04-02-14 at 09.28 AM

Also, since I do most of my handwriting and drawing on the Android, Evernote works best for me.  Handwriting and drawing is not a “critical”/must have feature for me, but sometimes it’s more effective in allowing me to capture what I’m trying to say/write.

In a showdown article from TechRepublic.com between Evernote and OneNote; OneNote works better for those who do handwriting on their Windows desktop.

A person could argue to use Microsoft Word, like Brandon Sanderson does, which seems amazing for someone writing epic fantasy. But with a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft is making Cloud-based Microsoft Word more accessible to all audiences regardless of device or operating system.

My point is not to convince you of one program or another. Instead, the point is whatever you choose:

  • Keep it simple. Less features means more writing and less futzing with features.
  • Pick something, anything that helps you stay organized
  • Spell check feature (I think I did remember that for this blog post. Whew!)
  • A backup feature that saves more than one copy in multiple locations or at least the ability to synchronize to the Cloud
  • Allows you to write whenever and wherever you can. This helps for those of us without the luxury of a single, writing space we can go to daily

Our goal as writers is not to get bogged down with a feature-rich application, of which we may not use many of the features. The main goal of a writer is to write.