Alternote: The OS X App Making Evernote Easier

Alternote: The OS X App Making Evernote Easier

“Evernote needs a dashboard,” I decided a few years ago. I kept hoping that Evernote would develop one, but they didn’t. “And a word count where you can see it, not hidden away…” No joy there, either. Until Alternote.

Alternote is a fascinating new OS X app that’s just what I wanted. It functions as an Evernote dashboard: I can view only those notebooks I want to look at. I can have a list of favorite notes.

And there’s a WORD COUNT (yippee!) in the bottom right of each note. (I’m wiping away tears of joy here, trust me.) Word count’s hugely important to writers.

What I like most about Alternote

See above — I can use Alternote as a quick way of getting things done in Evernote.

I love Evernote’s Mac app, but with over 6K notes, it becomes hard to get stuff done, because:

  • It’s easy to be distracted with notebooks and notes;
  • No easily visible word count when writing (see above);
  • Too many notebooks. Yes, distraction again. I’m a Gemini, and we love bright shiny objects.

You can keep up to 100K notes in Evernote, but I weed out my notes and notebooks regularly. Many notes expire; that is, they’re only useful for a limited time. A goals list for example, is time-limited. Once you’ve achieved those goals — or haven’t achieved them — the outdated list’s just a distraction.

So, the biggest plus for me with using Alternote is that I can cut down on Evernote’s distractions.

I also like the Markdown facility; I write almost everything in Markdown. You can repurpose at will in Markdown, especially with The wonderful Marked 2 app.

In summary: if you’re a Mac Evernote user, and want an app that acts as a useful front-end/ dashboard, give Alternote a try.

Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets

Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets
Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets

Whether you’re a new fiction writer, or are an experienced pro, you need hungry markets for your books. Genres come in and out of fashion. Discover the hot genres on the Kindle Store — and write what’s selling NOW.

Our comprehensive new program not only reveals the hottest selling genres, it also helps you to write and SELL them. Enjoy. :-)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

My writing journal for Monday, October 20, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

As usual, I started the day writing fiction. The mystery novel is still steaming along. Happy days; 2,300 words. Then nonfiction, working on the two business books: 1,800.

Next, Honey’s breakfast. Over the past few days, the weather’s been cooler, so her arthritis is bothering her. However, she’s still up for a game, and over-eats if she gets the chance.

Then, my own breakfast, while working through email. Monday tends to be a slower day for general email: just clients requesting quotes, and students sending me material. I handle most of it; Julia can deal with the quotes.

Next, it’s time to remind clients that we need images for their content. As I said in a post on Fab Freelance Writing Blog, the Web is all about images now. I’ve been looking at digital cameras; years ago, I had a photography hobby. It might be time to get back to it… when I find the time. :-)

My primary focus today is some “holiday” content for copywriting clients. We’re building up to the hot (pun intended, since it’s summer in Australia) content season. Clients suddenly realize that their website needs updating with their holiday offerings. And they need to plan and create promotional campaigns.

Time for my walk. I haven’t walked in a couple of days; I need it to clear my mind. Cold wind, so I wear my favorite beanie. :-)

Back again, and back to the holiday content. Work on that takes me up to lunch.

Lunch in front of my computer. It’s becoming a habit. However, I’ll be out most of tomorrow, so I need to get as much done as I can today. I browse through clients’ blog archives and Web content, and make notes, so that I can link the fresh holiday content back to previous content.

A reader asked about my favorite content creation tools.

My favorite content creation tools

I create a lot of content, of many different types, every day. So I tend to jump on any tool which might make creation easier. Your mileage will vary. I test and discard lots of tools, but that’s OK. Creating content consistently is a real challenge, so any tool which helps with that is a worthwhile investment.

Currently, my favorite tools include…

Evernote. Always. It’s always open, and I do a lot of writing in Evernote. It means I can write on my phone or tablet, and add ideas as they come to me.

Scrivener. Invaluable. Don’t know where I’d be without it.

Ember. (Mac) A recent acquisition. For research, as well as to check what assets have been created, and need to be created for a project.

MultiMarkdown Composer, and Ulysses (Mac.) Most of my content starts in Evernote, then makes its way to one of these programs: I use Marked as the viewer for both of them.

Marked (Mac). Wonderful for viewing and repurposing Markdown documents.

Adobe Creative Cloud. I use Photoshop and Bridge mostly.

Curio. Indispensable, both to collect assets for projects, and to keep archives of past projects. It’s amazing how often clients will return months and years later – and they’ve lost the assets we used. Curio is a huge time saver, because all the previously used assets are there, and are instantly available.

OmniOutliner (Mac.) I resisted upgrading to version 4, but finally pulled the trigger.

Inspiration. An app I adore, because you can create HUGE cluster diagrams to spark, and to reignite, creativity for a project.

Onward with the holiday content for copywriting clients

Back to developing the holiday content. Finally I’m done with the initial drafts; I send them off with relief. I’m still waiting for some product shots, so I can create product descriptions; I send a reminder to the photographer.

More emails, and phone calls to return. My daily review, and that’s it for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 66: Gorgeous Graphics for Your Blog

Writing Journal 66: Gorgeous Graphics for Your Blog

My writing journal for Friday, October 17, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

After yesterday’s running start, this morning started a lot slower. That’s the writing life for you. One day you can’t keep up with your thoughts, and the next your brain splutters and gasps. Nevertheless, I managed 1,900 words on the mystery novel, and 1,700 words on the two nonfiction books. So, it wasn’t too bad.

I make Honey’s breakfast, and then my own. Then I get down to reading email. I’m almost caught up; with a little effort tonight, I’ll be able to respond to the final batch of students’ exercises.

New website launch: next week (I hope)

I’d hoped to launch the new website this week, but that won’t happen. I’ve rescheduled it for next week. I got so frustrated with something that wouldn’t work on the site yesterday, I was close to pitching my computer out of the window. So, I got some help.

I don’t have much time for the website today, so I spend an hour on it, then it’s on to client projects.

Last night a client called with a rush project; he needs a presentation by the close of business today. He’s been asked to fill in at a conference. Luckily, I’ve created many presentations for him in the past, so we can re-purpose several slides and notes from older material.

Working on that takes me to right up to lunchtime. No time for our Friday lunch today, so I read social media while I’m eating.

With lunch over, it’s down to work on the presentation again.

Canva’s one of my favorite apps for graphics-creation. You can create a set of slides easily, and quickly too. They’ve just released their iPad app.

Gorgeous graphics for your blog

I’m no artist. If you’re like me, and nevertheless want to create graphics for your Kindle book covers, your blog, and your website, I’m sure you know all about Canva. Here’s what’s new: Canva for your iPad.

Here’s Canva’s blog post announcing the new app. I love the idea of creating images for social media, right on your iPad. No more excuses, you can create images for Twitter and Facebook while you’re sitting on your sofa, watching a movie.

I haven’t downloaded the app yet; however, I’ll make time to do it on the weekend.

Speaking of apps, if you’re a Mac person, you know that Mac OS X Yosemite was released today. I can’t wait to install it. On the other hand, I know that things can go wrong, and that some of the programs on which I rely may have issues with the new OS. So I’ll hold off for a month, until things settle down, and developers have had a chance to update their apps.

Finally, I complete the presentation, and send it off to the client for his review. I asked him to get back to me quickly, if he wants changes.

Next, it’s blogging time again. I’m a little behind on some of my clients’ blogs, so I need to spend some time drafting and scheduling posts. That’s easy, because I write most things in Markdown.

If you use Markdown, and Evernote, did you know that you can write in Markdown in Evernote?

Evernote trick for Web writers: write in Markdown

If you’re a Web writer, you know all about Markdown. If you’re also an Evernote fan, you may not know that you write in Markdown in your notes, then paste your notes into any Markdown editor, and get HTML, PDF, and Rich Text.

I said to someone the other day: “I write in Markdown so much that it’s completely automatic. I use it in Evernote even when the note will never leave Evernote.”

She said: “You can use Markdown in Evernote?”

Yes you can.

There’s even a Markdown editor for Evernote, called Marxico. I’ve never used it; I prefer to write in Evernote, then copy the text and paste it into Ulysses or Lightpaper (free.)

Now that I’ve caught up on SOME blogging, it’s time for my daily and weekly review, and then the week is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 62: Evernote Everywhere

Writing Journal 62: Evernote Everywhere

My writing journal for Monday, October 13, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

A busy day today; I need to find time to work on my own new blog. I started with fiction. The mystery novel’s still going well. Just 1200 words; I need to plot several scenes. Mysteries are always a bear, because there’s a lot happening. You’ve got the crime, the sleuth, red herrings, actual clues… I looked at the Murder Board Paper, and I’m tempted to buy it.

Then the two nonfiction books. Writing them in tandem isn’t working – I need to focus on one at a time. I’ll start with the ebook, and then on the print version. With that decided, I managed 1800 words, which is excellent.

Breakfasts; Honey and my own. Rather than getting stuck on email, I went for my walk. Apparently storms are on the way, so I need to get my exercise early.

Back; it’s time to read and write emails. There’s still a backlog, but I should be able to deal with the rest of it tonight.

Work on my new blog

(Sigh) I love creating blogs, but I’ve been procrastinating on this one for several weeks. There’s a lot to plan, and I’ve managed to get myself confused. I created a cluster on a whiteboard, so that I can get it out of the sandbox and published sometime this week. I hope.

A client needs a rush presentation, so that’s next. I’ve done several for him, so I have a template. I plan the headlines, and the text, and send it off to him for his review. If he can get it back to me today, I should be able to complete it by tonight.

Lunch at my computer, checking out social media. I haven’t had time to squeeze it in for days, and I’m way behind in my reading in Pocket.

Evernote resources: just get started — dump everything in

If I know I’ll be working with a company on a long project, I set up a shared notebook for them in Evernote. My contact’s asked me for some good Evernote resources, so I made a short list. It might be useful for you too.

Here’s the basic process I suggest for Evernote — dump everything it, sort it out at the end of the week. That process serves me well. I’m on a Mac, and run the Evernote Helper in my menu bar. I drag files (PDFs, images, work files) to the icon, and they’re sent to Evernote. If I want to remember something, I paste it into the Helper, or just type a note into the Helper. (I assume there’s a version of the Helper for Windows.)

Three great Evernote resources

Evernote Essentials – Brett Kelly’s excellent book. I’ve skimmed most of it; even if you’re an Evernote veteran, it’s useful to scan it occasionally to see what you’re missing. There’s so much in Evernote it can seem overwhelming at first — this is why I say, just dump everything in there. :-)

Evernote’s own Getting Started tutorials –  the basics.

“I’ve been using Evernote wrong” – a great Lifehacker article, which discusses the Web clipper (essential), saved searches and tags, and more. The article points out that the more you have in Evernote, the better it becomes. Very true. The Related Notes feature surfaces articles I’ve long forgotten, because I’ve been using Evernote since 2009.

Blogging: draft posts, and publishing

After lunch, I work on the presentation, then on a series of blog posts for my own and clients’ blogs. I need to sort out some images clients have sent in Photoshop.

Next, admin chores. Oh, the horror. I turn on Spotify and determinedly work my way forward. As a reward, I do some research for a client. Yes, I look on researching as a reward. Someone once asked me why I became a writer, I responded that I like to read. Reading is both a reward, and work.

Finally, it’s time for my daily review. I need to work on my schedules tonight, before they become more complicated.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.