9 Ways Evernote Can Help Develop Your Creativity

Mark O'Neill 26-11-2015

For the first time in donkey’s years, I have put on my Shakespeare hat and started to write crime fiction. It actually looks good too, because I have eventually realized that the best way to go about writing a 50,000 word novel - Write a Novel In 30 Days! Read More is to plan everything beforehand. Well, not everything, as that spoils the spontaneous fun of writing, but nearly everything.


To keep everything in order, I first tried Scrivener Your Guide To Scrivener Read More , but it really didn’t click with me. So now I am writing the actual book in Google Docs Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: The Death Match for Research Writing Online solutions are becoming the norm. We decided to see how Microsoft Word stacks up against Google Docs. Which one will do the better research paper? Read More . But the organization? All of that is in Evernote How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual Learning how to use Evernote on your own takes a long time. This is why we've put together this guide to show you how to take full advantage of the most important Evernote features. Read More . Evernote is a wonderful tool for developing creativity, as you will see below.

Collect Research


Let’s tackle the obvious one first – research. Because which book becomes successful without research? If you can’t get your facts right (even in fiction), then you are going to lose all credibility. The obvious exceptions are children stories, science-fiction, and fantasy. There you can make everything up. But if you are doing a crime novel set in the deepest jungles of Germany, then you’d better start reading up on the natives.


Evernote helps in this regard with its famous web clipper How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual Learning how to use Evernote on your own takes a long time. This is why we've put together this guide to show you how to take full advantage of the most important Evernote features. Read More . When perusing websites and looking for information, simply clip the pages you want to keep, and tag them for easier retrieval later.



If you find anything relevant in print media, then convert it to a PDF and drop it into Evernote. All of the text in that PDF becomes instantly searchable later, using OCR technology The 5 Best OCR Tools for Extracting Text from Images When you have reams of paper, how do you get all that printed text converted into something that a digital program will be able to recognize and index? Keep a good OCR software close by. Read More .

If you do a good job at tagging everything, then when you need to consult a particular piece of information later, it will be simple to find it.

Create Character Profiles – Then Make an Index To Link Them All Up



If you want to have realistic and believable characters, then you need to sketch out a profile of that character before you start. Give them a back story, describe them, what habits do they have, what purpose will they have in the story, etc.

The great thing about Evernote is that you can drop new information into a note anytime. So if you want to add more pictures, just drag and drop into the note, and everything gets updated.


Another good reason to use Evernote for your characters is that you can create an index of all your character profiles. This way, you don’t have to search so much. Just click on the link you need and you will be taken straight there.


If You Think Of An Idea While Out & About, Make a Voice Note

There will be times when you won’t be setting your keyboard on fire with fast typing, because of writer’s block Facing Writer's Block? Get The Ideas Flowing With These 3 Daily Rituals With just a few regular activities, writers can reduce their constant struggle for ideas. Here are three of those rituals that can give you a steady stream of ideas for your next creative piece. Read More . So going out for a walk and getting some fresh air is always good to blow away the cobwebs. But if you are out and about, and you suddenly think of an idea, what then? You can’t take the chance of forgetting the idea that will clinch a three picture deal with 20th Century Fox.


Evernote has a voice note function, and if you have a smartphone, you can use the voice note function to “call in” your ideas. The resulting note gets saved as an audio file, and you can listen to it inside Evernote, and download it if necessary.

My idea in the note? Have the butler do it, in the study, with the candlestick. Genius. Totally original idea.


Use The Camera to Take Photos Of Whatever Piques Your Interest


While out on your hikes, you may come across things such as interesting buildings, interesting people, names of streets, names of businesses, and so forth. This is where the Evernote photo note comes in handy. Just snap your pictures, and they will all be instantly uploaded to Evernote.

Just remember to tag each one, so you can find them later. You might also want to use Skitch to point out the reason you took the photo (if it isn’t immediately apparent). I will be looking at Skitch Evernote Acquires Skitch & Makes It A Free Download [News] Last Thursday, Evernote announced its acquisition of the Mac image annotation application, Skitch, as well as the company that produced it. Skitch is a screen capture and desktop photo application that includes over a dozen... Read More later on in the article.

If Working On a Collaborative Project, Use Shared Notebooks


Some books are not written by only one author. Sometimes two or more authors are working on it together. Or maybe the author and a designer? Or an author and a translator? Whatever the scenario, being able to share a notebook with the necessary notes and edits is invaluable.

One minor sticking point is that two or more people with editing privileges cannot edit the same note at the same time. Evernote shared notebooks do not have the same flexibility as Google Docs, where every man and his dog can be editing the same document at the same time. However, that aside, sharing a notebook with someone is extremely simple.

You can use it to say show your agent your outline, or make a list of all the actors who should be in the movie version of your book. I would want Adam West of 1960’s Batman fame to be my detective.

Use Skitch & Penultimate To Make Quick Sketches & Diagrams

Sometimes when an idea hits you, you may be compelled to sketch it out. Or if you are an artist by trade, being able to sketch on your tablet or smartphone with a stylus would be extremely useful. On the other hand, if you have taken a photo, and you need to point to something, or explain something, then you need a way to annotate the image. This is where Skitch The 4 Best Windows Screenshot Apps and Tools Here are the best Windows screenshot tools, whether you need a basic screen capture app or something with advanced features. Read More and Penultimate come into the picture (no pun intended).


Let’s start with Penultimate Learn How To Sketchnote With The Penultimate App For The iPad I recently wrote an article about sketchnoting, an approach to notetaking using both words and drawings. Though many of the examples of sketchnotes you see online are produced by skilled designers and artists, it's important... Read More . This is Evernote’s attempt to give all artistically-minded users a blank canvas upon which to work. You start by choosing which paper you want to use, then use the pens and colors provided to sketch (or write) what you want. An eraser is there to undo any blunders, and everything is automatically synced with Evernote. The only issue is that I was unable to find any way to tag the pictures before they were uploaded.


Skitch on the other hand is not meant for drawing big pictures, or typing large amounts of text. It is an annotation tool, which means you can add elements to images, such as arrows & speech bubbles, as well as editing the image itself such as cropping and altering the lighting. You can use Skitch to annotate any photos you may have taken, which will stir your creative pot. Needless to say, all creations are uploaded to Evernote.

Scan Your Handwritten Notes


Anyone born after the mid 1990’s is probably wondering what “handwriting” is. This is where you hold a device called “a pen” in your hand and write letters of the alphabet on another invention called “paper”. These letters form words, which form sentences. It’s a very complex business.

But if you are old school like me, and you also write notes down, you may want to get them into your Evernote database, where every word can be scanned, and made searchable. Evernote’s OCR technology The 3 Best Free OCR Tools to Convert Your Files Back Into Editable Documents Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software turns printed documents into machine-readable text. Here we show you the best free OCR tools and how they work. Read More is second to none, and it can even recognize my atrocious excuse for handwriting!

Scan Every Business Card You Can Get Your Hands On To Make a Names Database


One of the most important things a fiction writer needs in his or her toolbox is an endless list of names. There’s nothing worse than getting to a point in your story, and you can’t think of any good names to call a new character. So you end up assigning your best friend’s name to the pimp, and your mother’s name to the Moulin Rouge CanCan dancer. Suddenly you realize that this story can now never see the light of day, not unless you have a serious death wish.


So in order to avoid this conundrum, start a names database on Evernote. Start by scanning every business card 13 Creative Business Card Ideas to Help You Stand Out In the rough-and-tumble world of business, nothing helps you stand out more than a memorable business card. Here are a few ideas to help make yours stand out. Read More you can get a hold of and tag it “names”. Also, whenever you see a name, add it to a constantly updated Evernote message. You can even download voter rolls off the Internet, upload those to Evernote, and use them for your characters.

Create a Checklist With Goals To Hold Yourself Accountable

Finally, something which will hopefully help to ensure that you actually finish what you started. I know from personal experience that it is all too easy to start with all guns blazing, and then to slowly fizzle out within a couple of weeks. After all, there’s better things to do, such as play Candy Crush, or sit with a six pack and chicken wings to watch the game on TV.


So Evernote can try to help by creating a checklist of various goals you want to be able to get to, by a certain date. What makes Evernote ideal for this task is that you can set reminders for a certain date, and see all reminders in a list at the top of your inbox.


The checklist itself can easily be made with tick boxes, bulleting, numbering, or tables. As you go, just check off each goal, and see what you have to do to reach the next one. Look upon Evernote as your unofficial cheerleader.

So How Do YOU Use Evernote To Rock Your Creative Boat?

If you consider yourself a creative sort of person, I would be interested to know in the comments how you use Evernote to become even more creative. Tell us your secrets!

Related topics: Evernote, Writing Tips.

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  1. Anonymous
    November 26, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Not sure that all the aspects mentioned above are really related to the art of writing, but I will not argue that.
    You mention that organisation is important, well I have found OneNote to be far superior to Evernote, having 1st tried Evernote for 2 years. Furthermore, for writing 1N seems a lot more appropriate since it lets you easily make outlines with header 1, 2, ... 6, all of which are collapsible & thus help you focus on the part of your report/book/article/whatever.
    If you use the very good & free Onetastic collection of plug-ins, 1N leaves EN far behind in most fields, especially EN.