If you struggle to remember all of the great ideas you have or if you need a better way of channelling and developing you ideas, there are some online resources out there which can help you. So, in this post I am going to help you to get organised with some great online tools for writers.
Keep a note of your ideas
Instead of desperately trying to remember what on earth that great idea was which came to you when you were walking the dog or doing the washing up, why not get into the habit of making a note of your ideas. However, if the traditional pen and paper or scribbling on a napkin just doesn’t do it for you, then check out this selection of note-taking apps for getting organised.
Evernote has all of the organisational tools you need to stay organised using any of your devices. The free basic version lets you take notes, track tasks and save things online. And, Evernote automatically syncs everything between your phone and computer. Although you can test out Evernote for free, you will then need to purchase a plan (the cheapest is the Plus plan at £29.99 a year).
Penultimate is the award-winning digital handwriting app for the iPad that combines the natural experience of pen and paper with the power and flexibility of Evernote. You can write, scribble and sketch on a page that is free of clutter. If you also use Evernote, all of your Penultimate notes are accessible and searchable wherever you have Evernote installed. Like Evernote, the cheapest plan is the Plus plan at £29.99 a year.
GoodNotes for the iPhone and iPad lets you take handwritten notes, sketch diagrams and annotate PDF documents. The handwritten notes are searchable and they can be read on both your iPad and iPhone using iCloud Sync. You can buy Goodnotes in the Mac App store for £7.99.
If you are an Apple Mac user, Curio has all the tools you need to take notes, brainstorm ideas, collect research, and organise your tasks and documents. The basic plan (Core) is £53.99. If you want more features, you can purchase the Standard plan for £89.99.
OneNote is great for note taking and organising information. It was described by a PCWorld review as ‘the best Microsoft program you’re probably not using’. You can get OneNote for any of your devices (Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Chrome etc.) or you can use it on the web and it is FREE. All of your notes are stored in the cloud and so you can find, edit and share your notes wherever you are.
Notes and stickies on Apple devices
Sticky for the iPad and iPhone, is an easy-to-use app for keeping notes and simply getting yourself organised. Sticky lets you create as many notebooks and pages as you want. You can type in your notes or you can use voice dictation. And, in addition to adding text and images, there are also a number of formatting features which enable you to customise the look of your notes.
If you want a really quick and easy way of recording your ideas, simply use Notes on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (this is what I use most often). You can use Notes to capture a quick thought, create checklists, sketch ideas, and more. And with iCloud, you can keep your notes up to date across all your devices.
If you are using an iMac you will find the Stickies app for making notes in your applications folder. Simply click on Stickies and then choose New Note from the File menu. You can also dictate a note using your Mac’s microphone – choose Start Dictation from the Edit menu. For more details on how to use Sticky notes, take a look at How to Use Sticky Notes on a Mac.
Microsoft Sticky Notes
Microsoft Sticky Notes is a FREE accessory which enables you to plaster the electronic equivalent of good old-fashioned Post-It notes all over your Windows desktop. They remain securely wherever you put them on your desktop until you delete them.
Get organised with mind maps
Mind maps are a great way of collecting and organising your thoughts and ideas. Here is a selection of mind-mapping tools which are easy and fun to use.
FreeMind is an open-source mind-mapping tool. Although it is very easy to add and remove items and there are many ways in which you can add colour and notes to your mind map, the screen display is a bit cluttered but if you can get past this it is straight forward and simple to use – and FREE.
MindNode for the Mac, iPhone and iPad makes mind mapping easy. You can jot down your thoughts, add images and highlight your mind maps with a variety of style features. MindNode uses iCloud Drive to make your mind maps available on all of your devices. Alternatively you can export your mind maps to a text file or as an image. You can purchase MindNode from the Mac App Store for $9.99.
Scapple is not your traditional mind-mapping tool. It is more like a freeform text editor which enables you to make notes anywhere on the page and then connect them with lines and arrows. And, unlike some other mind mapping software, you don’t have to make connections or start with a central idea from which everything else branches. This means that you have complete freedom to do what you want. Although Scapple does come with a free 30-day trial (this is for actual use and not lapsed time) you will have to buy a regular licence (currently £12.50 for Macs and Windows) to continue using it after your free trial has ended.
For more information about mind mapping, take a look at Mind mapping – a useful tool for writers.