Besides being a productivity tool for getting things done, Evernote is gloriously talented at boosting creativity. So how can something digital, with very basic formatting, and barely any creative input enhance creativity? I’m excited to show you.
This is what my Evernote looks like right now. It’s always evolving since I’m always evolving. I really like notebook stacks because I like hierarchy and I use that instead of tags to find the note I’m looking for.
Create a Swipe File
Austin Kleon spoke about swipe files in one of his books, and it’s been so useful when I’m lacking drive to make anything. The idea is that you put anything that catches your eye into a note to store for later. This isn’t Pinterest – this is stuff that makes you want to go make. It’s a to do list instead of a “one day” list. You can add text, photos, images off the web, or screenshots from your phone. What you’re seeing at the top of my swipe file is an image from @stitchandletter. I could crop the image, but I like knowing where it came from if I make something and share it, then I can spread the love and let Jen know about it.
Create Themed Swipe Files
The main way that I take control of my Evernote and prevent it from going crazy is to delete. Once I’m done with something I will delete it. This Watercolour Swipe File is something I’ll delete once I’ve tried out the images I’ve added to it. I’m currently on a watercolour/floral exploration and these images from Rebecca are incredibly beautiful.
I mean, duh. Evernote was made for planning, and creative projects are no exception. There’s no reason not to outline a big project that you can’t simply dive into. This note is about the board game I’m making for my husband (two of his favourite things are Monopoly and Dota).
Sometimes when I’m art journaling, I just want to paint and not worry about words. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say. But sometimes there’s a beautiful spot that would look so perfect covered with words. That’s what my Quotes note is for. I type them out, I screenshot them, I just get them in there, so that I can one day get them out.
Save anything that you refer back to on a regular basis. This image is one I often searched for on Google, but since it wasn’t the first result, I saved it exactly where I know it is on my PC.
I have a Current notebook with things I’m currently working on, needing to process, or waiting for. This note has links to projects I’m currently focusing on. Evernote has a tutorial on how to create links, and it’s super easy.
Store Ideas in a Note
Almost every one of my notebooks has an Idea note. Sometimes these are a few lines long, and sometimes they just continue. This note is from my blog survey, where I’ve noted every post request.
Take Stock of Your Creations
When I was putting together my blog galleries, I took a mini inventory of some of my projects. This is a really nice reminder of how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve made. You know those days where you kind of wonder where all that painting and paper cutting went? That’s what these lists are for.
Digital Collection of Your Art
On the other side of the list is the visual representation. This is even better for seeing how far you’ve come. Snap a photo of each page that you’ve made and add it to a note. It’s time consuming to start, but once you get in the habit it’s really quick.
Sorry for blurring that out but we’ve got to have some secrets between us, right? Since my business and my creativity are so intertwined, I add any creative endeavours as business goals.
Track a Creative Habit
No need to get fancy – just add a bunch of checkboxes and tick. You could also add small images for each day as your own proof.
I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love writing with a keyboard. Words flow through my fingers quicker than through a pen. This is where my story started. In a note.
Evernote and Morning Pages
I don’t tend to save my morning pages, but any time that I feel like I’d like to explore the topics further, I type it from my notebook into Evernote. If I’m lazy, I’ll just take a photo of it and put that in a note, but I can barely read that handwriting.
Evernote and Brainstorming
I love saving my brainstorming notes. I almost always have three iterations of brainstorming, and then I’ll delete them until I get to my final thoughts. I really liked the survey responses from the Level Up one I did, so I’ve kept it.
Save Creative Classes
Oh, I love how you can drag and drop PDFs directly into Evernote. I’m not the type to save all my PDFs as notes, but I have a note that links to the Google Drive folder. I also have a note with any logins and passwords for forums, or classes. But I’m not going to show you that one.
Save Learning Notes
Going through non-fiction books with a pen and my cellphone camera has been a life changer. It made it completely deliberate, and I’ve elevated what I’ve learned instead of just passively taken in words. I love saving these for easy reference and, score, they’re totally searchable with Evernote.
Save Nice Notes
Oh man, this is so lovely. If ever I’m feeling down, I go to my “♥” note and read nice things people have said to/about me. I really encourage you to do the same. If someone leaves a thoughtful comment on your blog, sends you a caring email, or shares how much they love the art you’ve shared on Instagram, screenshot it and add it to a note.
Phew! That is a lot of ideas. Do you use Evernote in a creative way? Do you use Evernote at all? What’s stopping you?