Digitizing the Analog: Writer's Resources

I am a huge fan of notebooks. I love them. I collect them. My office is a small fire hazard because of them. I'm terribly picky about notebooks. I prefer a nice thick paper with a silky texture to write on, but I love detailed covers or funny covers. I'm constantly jotting things down in notebooks, so it's no surprise that about a year ago I wrote out the last three pages of the Crewel World trilogy in one.

And then I lost it.

I'm 98% sure it was a plain old, college-ruled notebook with a black cover by Mead. I'll never know, because I never found it. I had to rewrite those pages from memory, but I'm convinced they were better in that version

So while I love my notebooks and I still like to work things out on paper (cause you can draw squiggly lines all over), I've started to use more digital options. When searching for writer's resources, I prefer ones that mimic the old analog ones as much as possible. No small feat.

I know you've all heard of Scrivener (which I use and love) but I wonder if you've heard of these three awesome resources—all of which have a free option!

It's not quite the same as a stack of fresh notebooks, but I won't lose it. Penzu is an online notebook system that saves to the cloud, but is also available as an app. I upgraded to the Pro because I can customize my own notebooks (choose background, paper style, etc) and there are more security features. It's only $19 a year for pro, but there's a free option for those of you on a budget.

I'm a list-maker. I love them, even though I rarely get everything on my lists done. I find writing it all down clears my head and Workflowy is an amazing list maker. Basically you can create lists, lists within lists, lists within lists within lists...you get the idea. You can also tag items so that you can pull up all tasks related to that tag. It's basically amazing. And it's free.

I recently discovered Stormboard, and while it's not exactly what I was after, I dig it. It's a free online whiteboard where you can post notes, pics, videos, etc. It's great for doing anything you would have traditionally done on a bulletin board, except it's online and super portable. There's a pro option but it's only necessary if you want to share your boards with other collaborators. The free version is perfect for writers.

As you can see, I like my writer's resource. If you have one of your own, please share it in the comments.


JUSTINE said...

Oh, the notebooks. :)
I have at least a dozen notebooks filled with the drafts and outlining of my current project, and I have to say, I love them all. I take pride in buying richly textures journals and nice paper, as well.

But I'm very sorry to hear that you lost yours, and your warning about the use of traditional means is a good one. What I do is back up my files on the Cloud, in case anything were to happen to my hand-written copies or the ones saved on my drive. Right now I've been using Google Docs. But that's only for my manuscripts and outlines. I don't usually put my writerly lists on there.

I haven't heard of any of the resources you've listed here, but it's great of you to post them. They sound very useful, even though I'm afraid I love my paper and pens too much, and in spite of the risk, I shall continue to use them.

Rachel Matteson said...

Very useful applications. Looks like they can be best used for work and school. Got to try them soon. :)
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