For the first time I'm participating in Teacher's Write hosted by Kate Messner. This event runs from June-August, and I'm looking forward to learning from this large writing community. I will be participating in this event from Merely Day by Day. This week we are talking about writer's notebooks. As a teacher of writing, I know the time spent writing makes a difference in my day to day conversations with young writers. Keeping a notebook gives me a place to play a bit.
One of the biggest obstacles for me lately has been a struggle between bound notebooks and digital notebooks, a struggle in finding a place for ideas (read more about it here). In the past I used a writer's notebook, but I am slowly finding tech to be "at my fingertips." My goal for the event is to find a way to collect ideas --- a way that works.
In my writer's notebook I like to:
- collect ideas
- write about my family
- write poetry
- record memories
- create lists
- play with words (synonyms mostly)
- collect interesting words (usually from reading)
- collect lines from poems and books that make me stop
- record phrases
- make webs
- store articles
- really....anything goes
In order to determine whether it is best to collect ideas in a paper notebook or using a digital tool --- or some combination of the two --- I will be searching for a digital application that works much like a paper notebook, but I think there might be some things a digital application can do that a notebook cannot. I'm hoping to find an app that:
- is "journal-like"
- has typing features like font color changes, size changes, bolding, ability to add bullets, etc.
- allows tagging (color coding would be a nice plus)
- can link with Evernote (preferably sync with EN, most could be emailed too)
- allows images to be inserted
- allows linking
- audio recording would be a plus
- has drawing/handwriting capabilities
- is available on both the iPad and iPhone
- has cloud storage
Apps to Try
Over the weeks to come I will be trying to find the app that works for capturing ideas. I may find that the notebook is still the best place for keeping ideas or that some type of balance between the notebook and a digital app can work. We'll see. Here are a few apps I'm going to explore first:
GhostWriter: I use GhostWriter in my classroom for form recording because it allows you to create your own paper, take a picture, and then write on it. It has been perfect for data collection with students in the process of RtI. I suppose it also has potential as a writer's notebook. I work with it a lot and find it to be a bit glitchy. It's typing feature is sometimes difficult to manage and moving between text styles can be challenging. It's worth a closer look as a writer's notebook.
NoteShelf: Noteshelf reminds me of Ghostwriter. I like it's journal-like look, the way you can choose paper styles, and the ability to add different topics of notebooks. It would be easy to have a notebook of quotes, booklists, poetry, memories, and other topics most recorded. While I haven't yet discovered recording abilities within it, I do so ways to write, type, draw, and insert images.
Penultimate: Penultimate is in the Evernote Trunk as notes from this app can be stored in Evernote. This app looks perfect for writing and drawing, but I'm still not sure how you can type in it. It does allow images to be inserted on pages.
Moleskine: Yesterday during a conversation on Twitter, Dawn Little reminded me of MoleSkine. I put it on my iPhone and find it works much like a real MoleSkine. It is perfect for lists, quick notes, short jots. I haven't tried to share it with Evernote yet, but I'll be interested to see how that works.
iDo Notepad: I already use iDo Notepad when I'm on the go. I especially like it for working on writing a poem before putting it on my blog. It is mostly a typing app, but it is easy to work with and allows some variation in fonts.
Right now these are the five contenders for the job. I'm sure there's an app out there I haven't even heard about yet that might work. Please recommend away. I'll let you know what I discover. While Evernote will not really work for me as a writer's notebook (the place I write), it will be THE PERFECT place to store it all. I've started a Writer's Notebook board on Pinterest to help me organize my search. I look forward to continuing conversations like this one in the weeks to come.