I’ve read a lot of blog posts that offer tips and guidance on blogging and writing. People share where they get ideas, where they store the ideas they get and how they get those ideas onto virtual paper and then into/onto (never sure) WordPress. I haven’t seen too many posts about electronic tools, so I thought I’d share a bit about the ones I use. I’ll try to keep this non-geeky. I’ll fail. I want you to know that I’m making the attempt but it’s like asking a fish to walk to McDonald’s.
Since blogging starts with ideas, I’ll start with where I keep mine. Evernote. I love Evernote. Evernote is an electronic notebook that lets you write notes that are comprised of text, images, links and web snippets. My daughter introduced me to this service and I never looked back. You can organize your notes into notebooks and you can do all of the things that you would expect to be able to do, i.e. search, move, copy, edit, sort and tag. Evernote recently added the ability to collaborate on ideas. For example, Faith lets me see and add to her list of banned words.
What I really like about Evernote is that it’s everywhere. I can begin a note on my iPhone when I wake up in the middle of the night. I can try to decipher the electronic gibberish in the morning on my laptop and I can pick it up again later on my iPad. The data lives in – queue the Jaws theme for those concerned about security and the ta-da sound for the geeks – the cloud. The cloud is storage that lives in big bank of computers somewhere. Nothing to do with actual clouds. It’s just that we geeks started using a cloud-like image to represent Internet storage / activity / programs and it stuck. Aren’t you glad we didn’t use an image of the gates of Hell?
Did I mention that Evernote is free? It is. Evernote is free. If you want the option to have access to your notes when there’s no Cloud, like now when I’m on this plane with no wifi, you can pay $20 a year for Evernote Premium.
I store lots of stuff in Evernote as is hinted to by the images below. The No Facilities “stack” is a group of three folders: the blogs I want to write, the blogs I’ve written and the interesting comments that I may want to incorporate in future posts.
Another cloud-based program I use is Trello. I learned about Trello from a great blog-buddy Nick Allen. Trello is an organizer / lightweight project manager. You can store notes and images and links and stuff there just like you can in Evernote but Trello really shines by letting you organize “cards” in “lists” that you build on “boards.” You can easily move things around in Trello. You can move cards up and down in lists and between lists. Moving is as easy as dragging and dropping with a mouse or a finger. I tried to illustrate that with an in-progress screen shot.
My favorite list in Trello is my “winter prep” list. That holds all the things I have to do each year before the snow flies. I can edit the list and I can add notes like “clearing leaves took five days between late October and mid-November. I can add pictures like ones showing where the snow stakes go. I can update the list from my phone as I am working. If I had a bunch of kids around here, I could share this list with them and assign stuff to them from a distance. “Ding” dad assigned “clean the gunk out of the gutter” to Faith.
I use Trello to help with my blog by creating a sort of editorial calendar there. I put some posts out there in a general order and some are assigned to specific dates.
Hmm, I’m over 700 words already. How much geek stuff can you take in one sitting? I think I’ll revisit this topic next week for the writing and editing stuff. Trello is also free. I’m going to talk more about costs in part-II, but for now, the word is free.
I’ll end part-I with one last bit of cloudiness. Email. I know, you already know about email. However, you may not have considered the following: give your blog its own email. Rather than having a folder in my email for No Facilities, I just forward blog-related emails to this blog’s email account. Once there, I can file it into folders if I want to. If you send an email to me through this blog, I’ll pick it up in this blog’s inbox, not my personal one. If I like / know you, I’ll reply from my personal account. If I don’t like / know you, I can reply from the blog. Now those security junkies are saying “ooooh, I like that idea…”