Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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March 23, 2014

Do You Dream of Being an Organized Writer?

by Jenny Hansen

I dream of being an organized person, but being an organized writer would be even better. I'm popping in here on a Sunday, so excited to have found my shortcut to organization, that I had to share!

OneNoteIconAwhile back, I did a post here at WITS called 10 OneNote Features That Will Rock Your Writing World. I love this program so much, particularly for us writers, and I honestly didn't think it could get much better but...last week, it did.

I hate paper. I lose paper. A program like this, available on my phone, is practically orgasmic for me because: "YES! No more paper." That means: No more writing down the best plot idea in history, and then losing the index card/Post-it/notebook it's written on.


Microsoft just unveiled several new changes to OneNote, but here are the three I think will make writers dance with joy.

1. It's now free.

Yep, a cool new app...available across all platforms and tablets...gratis. (Let the squeeing begin!) Writers are poor, so this is exceptional news.

2. OneNote for the Mac.

All I hear from my Mac pals is "Evernote..Evernote" and I looked at it to see what the fuss is about. Evernote is good. OneNote is even better. However, it wasn't available for the Mac until last week. (Download from iTunes)

Livescribe33. One word: Livescribe

Some writers simply MUST write longhand. It's part of their creative process and that's what they do. The End.

Your time has arrived, Longhand Writers.

Currently, I write with my stylus on my Surface, then use the "Ink to Text" feature to convert my writing to searchable text, which is pretty cool. But the tablet is small, and it stops my flow to scroll down.

What if I could just use special notebooks and a Livescribe 3 pen to write and make diagrams, then send all that straight to OneNote on ANY device? Oooooooh!

A great visual of the new OneNote:


If you'd like to have a class on OneNote, led by yours truly, a two-week online course begins tomorrow. (Don't fret. It's On Demand as well, so you can watch any old time.) The materials are geared toward creatives but it's open to anyone.

The class details:

      • Course title: OneNote: The Simple Organization Tool for Writers
      • Course time: webinar is tomorrow, Monday March 24th at 7 pm EST - it's available OnDemand afterwards, so don't worry if you can't make it.
      • The initial webinar is followed by two weeks of online time where we cover the material and create notebooks.
      • I want to save my WITS pals some moolah! Use discount code MORECOWBELL for $10 off!

Lastly, we're going to have THREE special things for this kickoff class:

      1. A member of the Microsoft OneNote team will audit the class to answer any questions.
      2. A drawing will held for attendees to give away one subscription of Office 365.
      3. Interested authors will be entered into a drawing to guest post for the Office blog. In return for the description of how OneNote helped you "get it done," Microsoft will promote the winner's novel at the bottom of the post.

Really, y'all...how can you beat that? (You can't! This inaugural class is the only one that will have all this, since it comes so quickly on the heels of Microsoft's rollout.) Click here to sign up!

Are you an organized writer? (If so, what are your tricks?) Did you know Microsoft was doing all these cool upgrades? What are your questions?

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

12 comments on “Do You Dream of Being an Organized Writer?”

  1. Thanks for this update on OneNote, Jenny. After I read your last post, I was disappointed the program wasn't available for Mac. Glad to hear it is now; I'll check out the class. In the meantime, I found another cool program I've been using - Springpad. I've liked that a lot since I, too, lose paper.

  2. I have my drop box downloaded to my Kindle, I have an office suite on there too. I find I prefer to write on my laptop andd I never figured out how to use one note. I don't plot, I'm a panster all the way. I have the idea and run with it, I research the background info if I need it otherwise I just write. I've tried Scrivener and another writer's program but they don't work for me because I don't think scene or chapter etc when writing.

  3. Jenny, I would expect no less from you. Me? I have a problem with my left hand and gave up manual writing years ago. I save ideas on the computer, on discs and flash drives. I have tons of documents with dozens of characters I will use one day. I write down my plans for the month, for my writing, my crafts or doctor appointments and then print and post them to my board.

    However, when I try to organize according to a plan or program my brain turns to oatmeal. I envy you the ability to convert from the blasted "to-do" lists and sticky notes to a truly amazing program. Yet I picture myself trying to master calculus again.

    Thanks for the unscheduled post and good work on your new course 🙂

  4. I hate paper, too. I've been using Springpad for a couple of years now, and it does what I need it to do. Plus, I have an internal bias against Microsoft: Vista turned me into a Mac and Linux person.

  5. I love One Note! But I write on my lunch hour and so have to save my work on Evernote Web--then I go home to my laptop and copy and paste my work into Scrivener. However, I do dock One Note to my sidebar when I'm doing workshop critiques to make notes on what I'm reading. I also use it as my Little Black Book for story ideas.

  6. I am a totally disorganized writer, and I love it. As a self-decribed anal-retentive control freak in real life, it's my one chance to go commando.

    1. *clutches sides laughing over Commando*

      If you saw my post at More Cowbell today, you'd understand why this comment is so freaking funny. Thanks, Eric, and I understand. 🙂

  7. I'm not disorganized, though if you were to talk to a left-brainer who looked at the way I organize, he would think I was because I'm messy. Not greatly messy, but I use piles. I need stuff to be out so I can see while I'm working on it. Putting it in a drawer is like putting it into a black hole. So organization tip: If you're like me, try getting an upright magazine box and put it on a shelf. Store papers in that (I do this for mail). But set up a simple rule, like "Empty when full," or "Review on the first of the month."

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