A Place for Everything

Writing isn’t just the capital-W thing you do when you’re a Serious Writer. Tweets, shopping lists, that name of the babysitter your friend recommended, and the precious missives you draft for your blog are all writing of a sort.

I’ve found that my writing fits into three buckets.

  • Articles
  • Journal entries
  • My outboard brain

And I’ve found that these three buckets translate well to digital silos that allow me to keep everything separated.


I keep long-form writing like this article in Dropbox in a folder creatively named Writing. That folder contains any in-progress drafts, an Archive folder for stashing published articles (or articles I started and abandoned for quality reasons), and a file called Ideas, which is, as you’ve already figured out, a list of the articles I want to write.

Editorial on my iPad and Byword on my iPhone and Mac all point to this folder.

Journal Entries

Day One is the best journaling app I’ve found. It’s available for iOS and Mac, and in addition to storing your writing, it can mark your entries with location and weather information for even more historical context. You can add images to entries, and you can set timers to remind yourself to write.

I also use Slogger to record a lot of my online activities in Day One.

My Outboard Brain

Everything else goes into Evernote.1 Names of restaurants I want to visit, seasonal beers I want to try, books I want to read–if I want to remember it but don’t want to waste brain cells on it, it goes into Evernote. Plain text files would work for this, but Evernote’s support for multiple notebooks has become crucial to my workflow. Also, Drafts has extensive Evernote support.2

What’s next?

Now that everything has a defined place, the next question is: how do you get stuff into those places? I’ll cover that in my next article, which will be all about capture.

  1. The recently updated Simplenote might work well for just about everyone, but I’ve yet to give it a shot as a replacement for Evernote. 
  2. …which I’ll cover soon in detail.