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 Once you’ve achieved those goals — or haven’t achieved them — the outdated list’s just a distraction.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.

Desk, a Mac Desktop Blogging Editor

I have a serious addiction: Mac apps. As things go, it’s not a serious addiction, of course. However, it’s a nuisance. Just this week, I bought Typed, a Mac Markdown editor. Now there’s Desk, another blogging editor. (Sigh.)

Why, oh why yet another app? A couple of reasons. I like blogging as a break from serious writing — that is,  client projects. It’s my little reward, so I’m always working on a blog post. Also, Desk lets you use Markdown. I adore Markdown. So I couldn’t resist. Obviously I like playing with apps and blogging more than I like doing serious work. :-)

Desk, a desktop blog editor

 It’s not easy to find a GOOD desktop blog editor

WordPress is my blogging platform of choice, so I usually blog in the WordPress editor. However, that can be a royal pain, for various reasons. So, when I saw how many great reviews Desk received, I couldn’t resist.

Over the years, I’ve used many other Mac desktop blog editors. Most handle publishing to a blog reasonably well, except when they don’t. That’s when I give up in disgust and go back to blogging in WordPress.

There’s another reason I like to blog in the WordPress editor: SEO. I use the Yoast plugin, which reminds me of keywords, page titles, and the rest. When you use a desktop editor, you have to go back into WordPress, and add those things afterward. This can be a hassle, if you’ve got five other things to do in the next 60 minutes.

This is a test post for Desk: review to follow

I’m writing this post in Desk, and I’ll complete it once Desk has sent the post to WordPress.

I’ll write a proper review when I’m more familiar with the app, but I like the ability to drag images from the desktop right into a post.

My major quibble after 20 minutes playing with the app? No typewriter scrolling. Desk has a great community already, and someone has asked for that feature, so I added my voice.

Now to hit Publish, and see what happens. :-)

… and we’re live

I’m back in the WordPress editor, adding the meta data.

Desk has done an excellent job; I managed to add a few too many non-breaking spaces, but that’s OK, for a first attempt.

I’m really impressed that the image I dragged into Desk is right where it should be; that will save time.

My verdict on my first Desk post: the app’s fun to use, and it does what it says on the label. :-)

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

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Email Management App: Boomerang for Gmail

Email Management App: Boomerang for Gmail

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your email, you’re not alone. While there are many email management apps, it’s hard to find an app which works the way you do. If you’re a Gmail user, and need a straightforward app that’s both a scheduler, and reminder, Boomerang for Gmail is worth checking out.

Boomerang for Gmail Works in Your Browser

The app’s easy to install. It works in Gmail in your browser (Firefox, Chrome and Safari), and Google Apps email. It’s unobtrusive, until you need it; you’ll see a small icon when you open Gmail.

Install

Click on the icon, and the menu opens.

When you’re writing a message, Boomerang for Gmail installs options under the Send button.

send

Click the Send Later button, and you can choose a time and date to send your message. If you want to follow up a message, click the dropdown boxes, to choose a date and time to follow up. You can customize the follow-up menu to suit your workflow.

It’s easy to review your scheduled messages and follow ups. Click the Boomerang for Gmail icon, and choose Manage Scheduled Messages.

review

You can even add notes to messages. Let’s say you’re looking through your archived messages, and realize that you need to ask one of your contacts a question, but don’t have time now. Open the message, click the Boomerang for Gmail icon, and write a note to yourself. (The Note icon is on the top right of the menu.) Write the note, and choose the time you want the message returned to your Inbox.

Save Time, and Clear the Clutter

Do you use your email Inbox as a To Do list? It’s tempting, but distracting. The biggest benefit I’ve found with the app is that it saves time, and clears my cluttered Inbox.

Instead of adding a reminder to follow up with someone to your time management app, just schedule a reminder in Boomerang for Gmail, and the message politely returns to your Inbox.

3 Boomerang for Gmail Time Management Tips

Boomerang for Gmail has helped me to feel more in control of my email, and has also helped to ensure that fewer things drop through the cracks. The app’s also helped me to save time.

Here’s what I’ve found useful.

1. Schedule Email, and Batch-Write Your Messages

You check your email several times a day, but you don’t have time to respond immediately. Have Boomerang for Gmail return messages to your Inbox at the time you’ve scheduled to respond.

Schedule time each day for email, and batch-write your responses. Then close your email program. If you know you’ll need to send out messages next week, write the messages on Friday, and let Boomerang for Gmail send them out on schedule.

2. Create a Follow Up Workflow

If you have clients with whom you need to follow up, create a workflow. For example, if you’re working on a project, and need to send reports, you can write the reports, and schedule them.

3. Remind Yourself

When you’re browsing your email archive, you can create notes and schedule follow ups, without opening your contacts, or your calendar. Open a message, write a note, and schedule a time for it to appear in your Inbox.

Boomerang for Gmail’s charm is its simplicity. You can customize the app to work the way you do.

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

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

7 Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired to Create

7 Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired to Create

Today, everyone needs to be creative. Whether you’re a writer, designer, or marketer – you need to create. Inspiration makes creativity easier, so when a writing student asked me about apps for inspiration, it made me think about the apps I use. Can apps help you to become inspired?

Apps for Inspiration: Get Inspired on Demand

Can you demand inspiration from yourself? I doubt it. If you try to force inspiration, you’ll choke. However, you can create the right conditions for inspiration to land on you – like the blue bird of happiness. :-)

I’ve come up with seven apps I use which help me to get inspired more or less on demand. The apps create the conditions in which you’re likely to become inspired. They’re in no particular order.

1. Evernote: Your External Brain – and Inspiration

I’ve been using Evernote since 2009. Over the past five years, Evernote has become more and more important to me. I especially like the Related Notes feature. When you start writing a note, Evernote offers you “related notes”. Occasionally, especially if you have lots of notes, Evernote will bring a real gem to the surface, which inspires you.

Most of my thinking happens in Evernote, simply because it’s always available both on my computer and phone. I snap images with the Evernote camera, send handwritten notes from Livescribe (more on Livescribe in a moment) and Penultimtate to Evernote, and record audio notes.

If I want to get inspired, I create a note in Evernote, and start searching and browsing. I write a lot of content, for my clients’ books and blogs, and my own. I wouldn’t be half as creative or productive without Evernote.

2. Penultimate: Take Handwritten Notes on Your iPad

Evernote bought Penultimate, so all your handwritten notes and sketches transfer to Evernote automatically, as soon as you create them.

3. Livescribe Desktop (Requires Livescribe Pen)

Much as I love computers, nothing replaces handwriting for inspiration. I’ve been using Livescribe pens for several years.

Originally, I bought the pens for interviews. It’s wonderful to be able to take notes, and record an interview at the same time, then play back ONLY what you need to hear. It saves transcribing, which takes time, both uploading audio, and then waiting for the transcription to come back.

Over time, I started to use the Livescribe pens and Livescribe Desktop to plan, take notes, and create initial drafts of my writing. You can send any Livescribe page to Evernote.

4. Tinderbox (Mac): Automatic Organization for Your Inspirations

The more you put into Tinderbox, the more inspiration you can draw from it. For me, the app works much like Evernote. I stuff material in, and related material pops out, firing my inspiration.

5. Scapple: the Endless Canvas for Ideas

I adore Scrivener, and have used it for years. Recently Literature and Latte released Scapple. It’s the perfect companion for Scrivener, and wonderfully inspiring.

The app gives you an endless canvas. If you’re stuck on something, start writing notes on Scapple, letting your mind drift, and make associations. Before you know it, you’re inspired.

6. Drafts (iOS): Grab Inspiration as It Flies Past

Have you noticed that inspiration usually strikes when you’re in the middle of doing something else? This is where Drafts comes in handy. Jot a few notes, and go back to what you were doing.

I used to jot notes on sticky notes, and on text notes. Invariably, I’d lose them. A week or two later, I’d remember that I wrote down something brilliant for Project X. I’d spend the next 15 minutes searching the piles of material on my desk, the notebooks on my shelves, and my computer. Then my devices. Could I find it? NO. Since I couldn’t remember what the heck it was, I had no search terms to search on.

After I discovered Drafts, it became my automatic scratch pad. Whenever I’m in the middle of something, and get inspired, I tap a few notes into Drafts. Later, I send the notes to Evernote, Dropbox, or email.

7. PicMonkey: Get Inspired With Images

I’m a writer, not a designer. Since I started to use PicMonkey I’ve found that it’s perfect not only to create images for blog posts and social media, you can use it to get inspired too.

Often I’ll start with a blank canvas on PicMonkey, and start doodling. Or I’ll drop an image onto PicMonkey, and start playing with it. Within five to ten minutes, I’ve been inspired. Try it yourself – it’s free.

So, there we have it. Seven apps for inspiration.

A tip: apps like Evernote and Tinderbox become truly inspirational once you’ve packed material into them. So stuff material in. Don’t worry too much about organization. Inspiration often happens with serendipity. :-)

The Easy-Write Process: Get Inspired on Demand

Want to get inspired on demand? It’s essential in 2014. The Easy-Write Process will help. It’s especially useful if you’re ruled by your inner editor, or tend to procrastinate.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Bluebird image credit