The third application in my trinity of software I cannot do without is a program called "Evernote." By rights, it should be called every-note, because that's what it will hold. Like Dropbox, and to a lesser extend, Scrivener, Evernote uses cloud computing to make sure you are connected to your work, no matter where you are. You can install it on Windows or MAC desktops, almost any smartphone, laptops and notebooks, and tablets such as iPad. Every few minutes, Evernote syncs your files with all your electronic devices. You can start to write an article at your home desk, add notes from your iPhone during a bus trip, stop in the library to add some bibliographic entries, and finish the article at your desk at work. Traveling? No problem. Just log onto your account from any computer, and edit that article.
The Evernote design starts with a single note. You give it a title, a tag or two, and start typing. You can attach photos, audio or video clips, data files, websites, and PDFs to that note if you like. Once you have more than one note, you have the beginnings of a notebook, which can hold as many notes as you like. And if you have several related notebooks, you can put them into a stack, which will only count as one of your permitted 250 notebooks.
Let me give you an example of how I use this application. I have a stack for each book I am working on. So, imagine a a stack called "The Road to Frogmore." In that stack are several notebooks. One is labeled "Characters." Its individual notes contain character sketches of each character in the book. There are also notebooks for "Plot Points," "Settings," "Historical Events," "Photos," "Maps," and "Bibliography." There are also stacks called "Beyond All Price," "A Scratch with the Rebels," "The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese," and a mysterious one provisionally called "Gus."
But not all my notebooks are related to writing. I have one on "Trips," one for "Recipes," one for "Media Contacts," and one for "Christmas." All the notes are searchable by their tags, even across notebooks, so that I can turn up a Christmas dinner menu in one and find a recipe for Christmas fruit cake in another. And then I can use those details in a book chapter about Christmas with the Roundheads.
Evernote also prides itself on building a whole community for its users. They have a blog, where users can discuss new ideas, and an ongoing library of instructional videos. They also feature what is called the Evernote Trunk of compatible products and services. As just one example, Crafts Magazine provides whole notebooks of recipes and Do-It-Yourself projects that you can download for free.
If you already have a note-taking program that works for you, you may not want to take the time to move all your materials. But for anyone who is just starting to get organized, I cannot recommend this application highly enough.