Evernote – My New Favorite Writing Tool

Screenshot of this post in Evernote

Evernote kind of kicks rocks*; meaning it’s pretty dang cool.

Some of you may know this fact already, but I only discovered this powerful little tool back in November.

I have it on my phone, the tablet my husband bought me, and my laptop, and I use it all the time for my writing.

For instance, a lot of ideas hit me as I’m driving to work in the pre-dawn hours. I can either voice-record my idea du jour into the Evernote app on my phone or type it in on my trek through the parking lot once I get to work. (This is usually my preferred method since I keep my cellphone zipped up in my purse when I drive.)

Once I’m done typing a few lines about my idea, I save it to my “Blog Ideas” notebook and it syncs up to the “cloud” where it taps its fingers impatiently until I can sit down and work on it.

Then at lunch I fire up my tablet, open up that fledgling idea and type away, fleshing it out and turning it into the blog-post goodness you kindly read each week (all while trying not to drip salad dressing or sandwich crumbs onto the keyboard). Once the idea has been typed into full-blown blog post, I move it to my “Blog Post” notebook and hit done. Off it goes again to the cloud.

When I finally crawl to my computer at the end of the day, there’s that draft, waiting for me to spruce up and add HTML tags. After it’s copied and posted here, I tag my Evernote entry as “Posted” and I’m done!

It’s a nifty tool and it fit my “starving artist, parent of teenagers who eat and grow a lot” budget. Translation: It didn’t cost a red cent.

And it can do so much more. I’ve only discovered the basics of this tool. I’m still exploring all of the features, but it looks like you can store photos, scanned images, collaborate with others through “Shared” notebooks, and store your favorite websites with a click of a button or swipe of a finger.

I save interesting-looking freelance opportunities I find on the web this way so I can pull the link up later on my computer and send a proper inquiry.

I can’t wait to see what else I can do with this thing. When I have some free time. Whatever that is.

Have you used Evernote? If so, how? Or do you have another tool you love so much you talk about it to anyone who’ll listen?

Note: Evernote doesn’t know I exist and they didn’t ask me to write this glowing review. I wrote it because I like it and thought I’d share in case it can help other writers, artists, harried parents or people in general, out. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can find it here: http://www.evernote.com. As always, thank you for reading!

*For the origin of the term “Kicks Rocks” check out the belly-laugh creative genius that is http://www.neverendingnights.com.

Check Out My Article on Easy Eats Magazine!

Picture of some of Judi B's gluten free bread.

That heartburn-inducing article I mentioned working on in “Kicking my Writing Fears in the Teeth” has been published! You can find it on the Easy Eats Magazine website titled “Judi B’s Gluten Free.”

Needless to say, I’m so excited I could do girlie squeals, which would have the three males in the house looking at me strangely.

Oh, who cares. I’ve had my first article published! I’m going to girlie squeal!

Then, I’m going to pull myself off of Cloud 9 and focus on the mundane stuff I have to get done today. Like oodles of laundry…

Check back later this week. I’m going to talk about two of the new (to me) tools I’ve discovered that make my writing tasks so much easier!

Photo Credit: Karen Bristow

Kicking My Writing Fears in the Teeth

Some of the writing books I own. “Karen, where have you been?”

Okay, my ego would like to think you’ve been asking that. It’s all right, though, if you haven’t. But, to answer anyway …

I’ve been writing.

I decided to tackle that “Be more fearless in my writing” goal head on. Actually, I tackled it, stood up and kicked it in its squishy parts.

Then I closed my eyes, plugged my nose, and jumped into the dark, swirling waters of the writing deep end, taking on the thing that most terrifies me: Articles which require an interview.

Last month, after reading everything I could find on writing profile articles, and picking the brain of a co-worker, I wrote up a profile piece on a local business owner and submitted it to a magazine. I’m kind of hoping that the wonderful woman I interviewed couldn’t tell I was half-way to throwing up during the entire interview. I was that terrified.

See, I’m shy. Like, cross the street so I won’t have to talk to someone shy. So, I chose that type of writing to get out of the way first. Shades of Masochism, maybe? I figured that if I could get my personal writing boogeyman stuffed in a sack and buried under my stinky running shoes in the back of my closet, anything that came after would be easier.

I was right. Getting through it (and having the magazine editor love it) was strangely empowering. Since then, I’ve taken on how-to articles, web content and sales letters for another local business.

Plus studying. I’ve dug out the old text books from my writing classes and I’m re-reading them. And any other writing books I can get my hands on.

There’s a whole world of writing things for me to try, learn, and master. Now that I’ve started down the road of writing fearlessly, I can’t wait to see where it leads!

What writing projects are you tackling and how do you kick your fears to the curb?

Here’s to New Habits! Fitness Goal Check Week Three

I heard somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, I’ve made it 21 days. Does that mean I now have a new, healthy habit? I hope so! With the exception of an illness knocking me out on Arms & Shoulders day, I made it through week three without a hiccup.

The program’s a little repetitive the first three weeks, so week three looked exactly like weeks one and two:

  • Day 15 – Chest and Back
  • Day 16 – Plyometrics
  • Day 17 – Arms and Shoulders
  • Day 18 – Yoga
  • Day 19 – Legs and Back
  • Day 20 – Kenpo
  • Day 21 – Rest or Stretch

Getting up at 4:00 has gotten, dare I say it, a teeny bit easier. I woke up on Day 19 a few minutes before my alarm went off, actually. I’m still not fully functional that early, but I’m not a complete zombie either.

I can just about pull myself up one inch now, instead of just hanging there like an ironed shirt from my pull-up bar. Using a chair for assistance helps and I have the bonus of getting an extra leg workout! I’m finally sort of getting the hang of the first half hour of the yoga workout. I can at least go from Downward Dog to Runner’s Pose to Warrior 1 without totally falling over. I still have issues with Kenpo though. Maybe if I had something to actually punch, I’d find it a bit easier.

The diet portion of the challenge still needs work. But I think I’ve trained myself to want my apple at 3:00 in the afternoon instead of wanting a bag of fruit snacks. As a matter of fact, if I don’t have an apple sitting on my desk at work, I get a little twitchy. The weekends are the hardest for me. I’m pretty sure it’s because at work, I have a routine that I stick to. I don’t have that on the weekend.

Overall, it was a good week. I’m looking forward to week four, which is “Recovery Week.” That means a lot of stretching, Yoga and a DVD called “Core Synergistics” which I’ve never tried.

Check back next week to see how the first month of my 3-month challenge went!

And here’s to forming new habits! What new habit are you trying to form?

Facebook as Connection Tool

There are plenty of reasons to maintain a healthy annoyance at Facebook. Things like, your privacy settings getting reset every time they change something you just got used to. Definitely a good reason to stay annoyed.

But there’s a really neat reason not to drop Facebook like a container of wriggling spiders.

Reconnecting and staying connected.

In my case, I’ve reconnected with family.

My parents moved us away from Rhode Island just before my 16th birthday. Which, for the record, was … a long time ago. Some of my cousins weren’t even born when we moved and I’ve maybe seen them once in all this time.

Thanks to Facebook though, we’ve managed to connect (and in some cases, reconnect) and I’m getting to know these really cool people. All without the awkward silences that come from say, family reunions, where relatives introduce you to someone you once met when you were an infant.

“Honey, you remember your cousin Karen, right? You were four months old the last time you saw her. She wrestles cheetahs or something now.”

Facebook lets you avoid the nervous smile and wave that usually accompanies that kind of re-introduction. (And I wrestle with a Cheetos addiction… not with actual cheetahs.)

One of the neatest parts is getting to live and travel vicariously through my family members as they post pictures of their time in places like New Zealand or Italy. And I’m learning that majoring in medicine is not for the faint of heart or weak of mind.

By extension, I’ve reconnected with their parents as well. And my aunts and uncles, I do remember. And miss. Yes, there are phone calls, emails, and letters. But Facebook is so immediate. On busy days, when life has me by the throat and is shaking me like a gator with prey, I can keep up with my family in real-time, with a glance at my phone.

Facebook may have its quirks when it comes to privacy and user experience (Timeline, anyone?), but with keeping you connected, it’s pretty awesome.

Now I’m curious about how to use this connection epiphany for business as well as personal. How can I use this real-time interaction with people to expand a business?

How have you used Facebook to a business advantage? And has Facebook helped you reconnect and stay connected to family or friends that you haven’t seen in years?