Evernote is changing, but so am I: switching from Evernote to OneNote

Evernote has been my go-to software app for notes for many years. I’ve loved it for a long time, but the time has come to make the switch to OneNote. The thing is, I have an Office 365 subscription that I’m very happy with, despite the fact that I don’t actually use the new versions of Excel and Word.* I tried OneNote soon after installing Office 365, and although I didn’t hate it, I didn’t see a big need to switch.

One reason was because my phone is getting old, I mean really old (it’s an original Droid X), and it’s starting to have trouble running newer applications. My little Droid X is still on Android 2.3.4. But goodness, I love that phone, and it still does what I need it to do: check my email, send texts and messages, play music, make calls, take photos, and run my 6 e-reading apps.

On the other hand, Aldiko has recently started crashing on me, and the Kindle app has started to load really slowly, so it’s definitely going downhill. And my phone won’t run OneNote, while it still runs Evernote without a hitch. So I decided at the time not to make the switch.

But last night I got the following email.

Evernote Basic is changing

At Evernote, we are committed not only to making you as productive as you can be, but also to running our business in as transparent a way as possible. We’re making a change to our Basic service, and it’s important that you know about it.

In the coming weeks, Evernote Basic accounts will be limited to two devices, such as a computer and phone, two computers, or a phone and a tablet. You are currently over this limit, but will have at least 30 days to adjust. Plus and Premium accounts will continue to support access from an unlimited number of devices.

Look for additional communication from us explaining how your account is changing and outlining your options. For more information about why we are making this change, see our blog post.

The problem with this is that I use Evernote everywhere: phone, Kindle fire, Fire tablet, laptop, desktop… You get the picture. But out of the 60 MB of data transfer Evernote allows a free account, I use less than one MB most months. Right now, I’m at 259 KB for the month. There’s just no reason for me to pay for a subscription for this service. And now I won’t be able to access Evernote on all my devices.

To put it bluntly, Evernote has suddenly become much less useful to me.

So, last night, I used the OneNote importer to copy my Evernote notes to OneNote. And I quite like it. It’s going to take a little getting used to, but I think I’ll manage.

I have to say, I’m sorry for Evernote, but I think their recent changes are going to be the end of them. Not because I think it matters that I switched, because I was probably never going to be a paid user anyway. I don’t worship the ideal of a paperless life, by far, and I don’t like digital clutter either. But instead of making changes that will make Evernote indispensable to users, they’re limiting it in a way that makes it less likely the software can ever become indispensable to those who might go on to become paid users.

*I still use my Office 2007 versions, although there are features in the 2016 editions that I like, such as how Word remembers where you last were in the document when you reopen it. The switch to OneNote made me feel like I should try again, because I really like the OneNote interface. I just… really hate that green all over Excel. The blue from 2007 was so much more soothing a color. I loved those colors. It’s made it really hard to get over my other issues with 2016 and commit to the newer versions.

June 28 writing

I’m going to log my writing today.

I finally got a really good night of sleep, but that means I’m starting one hour and a half later than I’d planned. Here’s the revised plan.

8:30–10:30 Write
11:30–1:30 Write
2:30–4:30 1:30–3:30 Write
4:30–6:30 Work on paperbacks Write
7:30–9:30 8:30–9:30 Work on paperbacks Write

(Edited as changes became necessary, but I’m leaving original entries so I can see what worked and what didn’t.)

I decided on two hour blocks with one hour between, because… I’m not really sure. It felt right: enough time to really get into what I’m doing and a nice long break between. If I can make the two hour blocks work, I’m going to carry this forward.

(Not such long hours though—ten isn’t too many for today, when I need to get so much done, but I certainly don’t think this is good for me long-term. I’ll stick to the four hours a day and 3,233 words I want long-term, but I’ll try to do it 7–9 & 10–12. That’ll leave me two two-hour blocks for publishing stuff every day so I can really dig into my cover design studies and do lots of other stuff that’s been backing up on me. Honestly, I’ve been squandering time for too long.* It’s time I used what time I have for the things that are important to me.)

We’ll see. Today is definitely more experiment than anything else.

Results (as I go)

Hours Words Session WPH
Story 1 1.08333 199 199 184
Story 2 0.91667 606 407 444

I’m numbering the stories in the order I work on them so my work pattern is clear to me later.

At this point, I’m completely off the scheduled times. I’m not sure how I’m going to adjust, but I’m going to figure something out. Likely I’ll lose the last paperback work session. (I figured it out and edited the plan above.)

Well here it is many, many hours later and I’m just not getting ready to write for another hour. Can I explain why I didn’t work during the other times I planned to work today? No.

I really don’t have an explanation and all I can say is that I feel like I’m trapped inside myself, unable to get free. Like my head needs to be opened up and I need to take my brain out, shake it around, wipe it off, and then put it back. It just doesn’t feel right. There’s a tiny voice in there telling me I should probably be on some kind of medication, but I don’t listen to imaginary voices, any more than I listen to the voice of reason. :D


*I’m not much of a sports fan, but I read the news today about Pat Summits death. I’ve always respected her drive, and her abilities. It made me feel… regretful, you could say, that I’ve not valued my time more. Maybe the feeling won’t last, but I want to take advantage of that feeling while I can. RIP Pat Summit.

June 27 writing schedule update

As you’ve probably already guessed, the schedule hasn’t helped in any way to get me started writing again. I haven’t even come close to getting started on time a single time since I came up with it, because for some reason beyond me, I’ve gone from going to bed at a reasonable hour to staying up until midnight. Needless to say, I haven’t been getting up at 6 AM and I haven’t been getting started by 7 AM.

I’ve revised the schedule for tomorrow and tried to set up another for today so I don’t end the day having written nothing again. But I have a feeling I have deeper issues to worry over.

Allowing myself to work on multiple books at once without making any kind of commitment to finish any one before another was working great for me.

I screwed that up. I’ve cost myself loads of time that I am CERTAIN I wouldn’t have lost if I’d just stuck to that. I bet I’d be finished with at least one of my almost finished books by now.

Instead I changed my focus, and now I’m in a terrible position of REALLY needing to finish a certain book before the others, making me feel overwhelmed and stressed and setting off a wave of procrastination and avoidance that I knew would happen—but thought, foolishly, that maybe this time it wouldn’t.

I don’t know if I can get out of this without missing my deadline—a deadline I put on myself but that I mentioned in several places in a way that makes it feel like an honest-to-God obligation.

I suspect I’m going to miss it and I suspect there’s nothing I can do about that.

I don’t like failing in situations like these, when I know it’s all my fault—I totally set myself up for failure in this instance.

Okay, deep breath. I’m moving on to another post, one where I set out my plan to get out of this mess I’ve created for myself.

Also, this is not in any way related, but I’ve decided my categories and tags on this site are pretty useless for finding things. Expect changes.

Moving on from Chrome

Several years ago, I bailed on Firefox when it started running a bit slow on my computers (actually my much older laptop), and switched to Chrome. I liked Chrome’s clean interface, so I stuck with it. But lately I’ve not been so happy with Chrome, and today I decided to make the switch back to Firefox (yes, I was procrastinating).

I’m glad I did. Firefox is running faster than Chrome, and I like how the fonts look. There’ve always been some annoyances I’ve lived with in Chrome, too, like the fact that video always auto plays for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the bookmark manager. I like organized bookmarks. It was totally possible to organize them in Chrome, but it wasn’t super simple. Also, history: in Firefox, it’s very easy to search for history items and mass delete (which I need to do a lot of when I’m trying to avoid writer distractions and don’t want forums and blogs cluttering up my most visited lists), but in Chrome? I had to select little check boxes and delete them that way—talk about a pain in ASS.

But you know what’s really sold me on the switch?

I really like blue. :D

Screenshot 2016-06-25 19.32.59
Firefox has a blue bar at the top, while Chrome is an unrelenting gray.

I realize that seems kind of like a silly reason to be happy about the switch, but I’m just going to say it again, I really like blue. :) The blue bar at the top of the browser is much more pleasing to my eyes than the Chrome gray. I know I could use themes, but why add bloat? Nope, no themes for me.

So there you have it. I’ve abandoned Chrome for Firefox and I’m quite pleased I’ve done it. :)

Now, no more excuses! I need to write!

June 24 session log

At 11:30 am:

Hours Words Session WPH
0.7 374 374 534.286
0.9 725 351 390

I didn’t plan for a late start, but that’s what happened. Then I had several interruptions that interfered with me finishing sessions on time. Finally, I stopped for a bit of reading and lunch and I’m going to finish the 4 hours just as soon as I finish reading this book and possibly take a quick nap (thunderstorms last night and a barking dog meant I had a rough night of sleep). I have less than 20 pages of the book left, and I know I’ll concentrate better having it finished. It’s at the big finale.

All right. It’s 2:31 pm and I’m back. My hands are out of practice with the typing! Which matters, because I need approximately 1,045 words an hour for the next 2.4 hours to reach my goal in the total 4 hours I planned for today. :o

I’d better get to it.

When something isn’t working, it’s time to change something

I still believe that writing on multiple stories is the way to a better word count for me. So this isn’t about that. What it’s about is the fact that I just cannot seem to get moving again on ANY of my books. I am stuck.

So if what I’m doing isn’t working—and nothing I’ve tried of late has worked to get me started again—it’s time to try something different.

Something different doesn’t mean something new

I’m going back to a schedule. I know I have a terrible history with schedules, but for the moment, I think it will help. I don’t know how long I’ll need it, but starting tomorrow I’m going to make it very important that I sit down and write EVERY DAY during my scheduled writing time.

I’m dropping back to my 3,233 daily goal (which is 1,180,000 / 365) from my more recent attempt to write 3,933 daily (1,180,000 / 12 / 25). This means I need only 4 hours of timed writing if I can reach an average pace of 808 words per hour—a stretch, but definitely possible with my increased speeds of late.

At this lower daily word count, I will have to write every day to reach my goal, so I’m setting aside the idea that I can’t write on publish days, if only because I blame the days I took off this past month for my current inertia. I need my daily writing to become habitual.

The schedule

The schedule is a morning schedule, because I wake up early whether I want to or not, and trying to mess with that never works out well for me. The fact is, I’ve been getting up early for several months now, and I don’t expect that to change until the sun stops coming up before 6 AM.

  • 7:00 to 8:00
  • 8:10 to 9:10
  • 9:20 to 10:20
  • 10:30 to 11:30

I’m going to make a big deal about upsetting my schedule or changing my routine. Writing daily is important. At 4 hours a day, that’s only 28 hours a week of writing time. There’s just no reason for these hours not to be treated as the critical hours they are. I’m hardly asking too much of myself even after you factor in break times and the time I need for publishing related activities.

And that’s really all I have to say in this post. The plan is not all that different from many other plans I’ve made over the years, but it’s different at this moment from what I’ve been doing. Schedules have worked for me in the past, even if only for a while, and I’ll take that if that’s all I get. I just need something to get me focused on writing again. Wish me luck. :)

I’m accepting no excuses for tomorrow. At 11:30 am tomorrow, I’ll post my first results (accountability) post for this new schedule.

June 21 no sessions

Not much to report, other than the fact that I didn’t write today. I meant to. I just didn’t.

In light of that, I’ve decided to plan out tomorrow.

  • 7 to 8
  • 8:15 to 9:15
  • 9:30 to 10:30
  • 10:45 to 11:45
  • 3:30 to 4:30
  • 6 to 7
  • 7:15 to 8:15

I’m interested to see how closely I can adhere to this. I don’t plan to return to scheduled writing—not at all—but tomorrow is a bit special, and I think I could use the focus.

I’m most interested in working on one particular story tomorrow, although I do plan to allow myself to switch to something else if the words just aren’t coming.

So there it is, all laid out. Wish me luck. :)

I am an object at rest

Three things

  1. I become an object at rest after I publish a book. (Current streak of 0 words proves it.)
  2. Procrastination is a habit.
  3. I’ve already forgotten the third thing.

If I want to get the law of inertia working in my favor, I need a plan. I’ve let some bad habits slip into my routine over the last several weeks. Time to stop them. I’ve let procrastination become a habit.

My challenge

  • No more visiting forums or blogs for a while—preferably until I’ve completed the four books I most need to finish.
  • No more reading articles about procrastination. :o
  • No more reading the “Trending” tab on my Kindle Fire* or my other Fire tablets. Worst use of my time ever. I don’t know why I have so much trouble resisting a look at it every time I open the browser.

The secret to this plan is to get boredom working in my favor.

If I find myself turning to fiction reading to relieve said boredom, at least then it’s somewhat productive, because any fiction writer should consider fiction reading a necessary part of the job. !

Plus, reading good fiction has a major tendency to make me want to write. So there’s that.

I know that as soon as I get back into one of my stories momentum will take over and save me from myself for at least a little while. :)

*My Kindle Fire is one of the 2nd generation devices. I won it in a drawing at a local restaurant, after eating there for the first time (and last time to be honest). I love it and I still prefer it over the newest generation Fire tablet I bought in December. It’s a much better device, to be honest, all around. Still doesn’t have a scratch on it.

June 19 no sessions

I just didn’t do any writing today. I’d hoped I would, but I didn’t, and now I’m tired and I think I’m going to bed early. One of my kids is sick, and I’m a bit worried I might be showing symptoms of what she’s got. Considering how badly I need to finish this book, I’ll be in trouble if I do. :o

But tomorrow? No question. I MUST start making progress on my writing.