Evernote, Postach.io, and getting over my fear of commitment

I’ve been using Evernote for a long time, as I’ve mentioned before. Since 2008, in fact. As user number 101,159 you would think I would have this Evernote thing mastered, that it would have transformed my life. And it has, in some ways.

Evernote user 101,159

But I’m always questioning, second guessing myself, and getting distracted by new or different things. And while I have professed my love of Evernote before, I still find myself wondering if there is something else out there that might work better for me, maybe a better fit…or maybe just provide a convenient distraction. One of the things that keeps me coming back, though, is the knowledge the Evernote keeps getting more awesome.

I was excited when I discovered Postach.io the Evernote blogging platform. The idea of being able to write in Evernote and quickly turn something into a blog post by tagging it “published” seemed magical. And I love Postach.io. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, not least because it was created by a crew of Canadians.

As much as I love Postach.io, it is a pretty basic blogging platform at this point. It has all the basics one needs – Disqus for commenting, Google Analytics, sharing to Facebook and Twitter – but it’s missing some of the bells and whistles. The distractions, if you will. Notably I have been distracted by Squarespace as of late, particularly for its new commerce features (I fancy someday selling my books online…oh to dream!). And it’s not like I’m new to Squarespace either – I first used it around the time I started using Evernote, to create a site for my union local. But I was mesmerized by the beautiful templates, the easy style customization, the built-in photo editing features. Distractions. Particularly considering where I’m at right now (no, I do not have a book ready to be published, sorry) and the type of content I post (mostly text, now so much fancy pictures). So I stepped back, relaxed, and thought about what I really needed right now.

Evernote and Postach.io: An unbeatable team

A few years ago I starting thinking about how I could use Evernote to do most of my work. In some ways I thought about it as a kind of micro operating system that I could use on top of whatever platform I happened to be working on, whether iOS, Mac or Windows (thankfully, I rarely have cause to use Windows anymore). For what I do most of the time – research and writing – this idea wasn’t too big of a stretch. But I still found myself hesitating.

As Evernote does, it kept getting more awesome. The accumulation of features, and the continual improvement of the overall experience, got me to the point where it was impossible for me not to use it. The new web clipper, related notes, Google search integration, Postach.io and now descriptive search make Evernote a researcher/writer’s dream. Sure there are other more powerful programs out there for some of these tasks, but none of them implements this functionality so seamlessly across desktop and mobile platforms.

Now, with Postach.io, all of my blog content is in Evernote and benefits from all the great tools available. When I’m writing a blog post, Evernote shows me related notes in my notebooks, and continually updates these as my post evolves. If, as I’m writing, I see something related show up that I want to use I can grab the link in the note (if it was clipped from the internet) or link to a note I wrote, perhaps as a previous blog post. When I’m clipping things into Evernote I can see notes related to the new content, including previous blog posts I’ve written. If I’m writing something in another notebook and then decide I want to post it to my blog, I simply have to change the notebook it’s in and tag it “published” and it’s on my blog.

Writing, simplified

The more I’ve searched around for the ideal writing app for all my writing, the more I think Evernote will work. While many writers use Scrivener (and I have as well) it doesn’t provide an easy solution for writing on mobile devices. There are other writing apps the do provide a seamless iOS/MacOS experience but, given I am already using Evernote to collect research and other information tidbits, having separate apps for writing simply introduces another layer of complexity.

Beyond that, however, writing in Evernote gives me the benefits I’ve already mentioned. While I’m writing something, whether it’s a story or an article, I can see things I’ve clipped or saved that a related to what I’m working on. And, while Evernote doesn’t match the seamless writing organization experience of Scrivener for long work, setting up a notebook for a book project and writing sections in individual notes gives some of the flexibility. That, in combinations with tags, notebook stacks and smart notebooks goes a long ways to providing options for organization, and allows for continuing my work seamlessly across platforms, which is a huge benefit in my view.

And it only gets better

There are all these great things about Evernote and, yet, I still feel like I have only scratched the surface. While I haven't used Penultimate much yet, it seems like a great option for when I want to scribble out an idea without leaving a paper trail. When I do want to put pen to paper, I have an Evernote Moleskine or two I bought in a fit of excitement, but have yet to really use. I also have a project in mind that will involve doing a lot of interviews, and I can imagine recording the audio in Evernote to supplement my notes.

And Postach.io, as young as it is, seems to have unlimited potential. It already does most of what I need a blogging platform to do at this point, but the Postach.io folks have a premium tier in the works, and maybe there will be a few goodies in there to make the experience even sweeter.

Are you using Evernote and Postach.io? What do you think?