What is the best way to journal? 

How do you record those tiny snippets of brilliance? For me, they don’t come very often, but when they do, I need to be able to capture them ASAP. Many times, I am not right next to a piece of paper to jot the idea down.

I have found a couple of ways that work like a charm. I prefer electronic over paper, but a good old-fashioned bound journal still works. I am hoping you read that and think right away that I must be young. Maybe mid to late 20’s??? Darn, maybe just for a second? Okay, at least I feel young.

OneNote is my partner for many reasons, but mostly because I use Microsoft Word and subscribe to Office 365. Everything talks to each other and with Microsoft Groups, everything is in one place on all of my devices. When I make a change to my novel from my smartphone, it is immediately updated and appears on my desktop. Bata bing bata boom, like magic. All of my notes, documents, files, spreadsheets, etc.  are all in one place for one subject (group) such as a novel. I can also share my manuscript for critique or editing to others and see the exact changes that they suggest as if we are all working on the document together.

In OneNote, you can create multiple workbooks and use tabs to break down every aspect of your novel. Yep, just like a good ole binder with dividers/tabs. It is super easy to use, and templates for novels are available if you search online.

I still love to feel the pen in my hand, so I find the Microsoft Surface Pro my perfect companion. I write or doodle right on the screen. Sometimes I will type out a chapter, flip over the keyboard and then scribble with my surface pen to edit my work.

OneNote also allows me to pin the voice recorder to my smartphone screen so when I have an idea, I just click the icon and say it out loud. Yep, I am the weird one saying strange things to myself walking down the road. OneNote creates a new note from my recording.

Another key feature for writers is the search ability function. You can find anything you want. Rummaging through a journal for that one idea is much easier electronically when you just type it in the search box and everywhere that word is used shows up. For instance, have you ever searched for the word ‘like’?

For my non-Microsoft friends, Evernote is similar in that it has an app or software to download for every device.  But, it is a standalone platform that doesn’t interact like OneNote. It has search ability and is quite lovely on the eyes.