Tips & Stories

How Stereogum Music Writer Jessica Suarez Uses Evernote

Posted by Jessica Suarez on 21 Jun 2011

Posted by Jessica Suarez on 21 Jun 2011

Name: Jessica Suarez
Profession: professional writer and editor
Location: New York by way of Tuscon, Arizona
Website: Stereogum
Personal Blog
Twitter: @JessicaSuarez


Jessica Suarez is a staff writer for Stereogum, a leading online music news site. She also writes for VH1′s Shows Blog. Jessica has been a full-time music writer for six years and has written for Spin, NPR, Blender, Paste, Paper, Nylon, Nylon For Guys, The Fader and Bust.

Evernote, Everywhere:

I Use Evernote for…

I tend to sign up for new tools and services right away, so when I read about Evernote in Lifehacker, I thought I’d check it out. I first used Evernote to do my taxes, so I upgraded to a Premium account right away and started uploading the files that I had. I quickly realized that I could use Evernote in a bunch of different ways.

Evernote for freelancing

I work from home, but I’m often on the move — interviewing bands, attending conferences and shows, and have to keep track of a lot of details related to keeping track of all of my notes, expenses and deadlines.

  1. Evernote for music writing:
    I have a music notebook. I get 200 to 300 emails with album release dates over email and I have to somehow be able to keep track of them all. When you’re a freelancer, you have to pitch stories to an editor based on what month is coming up. For example, a publication might be looking for ideas or reviews for the July issue months in advance. I can send all of the press releases into Evernote, tag them by month and year, and search for them later to figure out exactly what assignments I have coming up.
  2. Evernote for interviews:
    As a journalist, I save a lot of interview notes in Evernote. Last week, I interviewed the actor and rapper Donald Glover. I was really excited about it (he is awesome) and I didn’t want to look like I was reading questions off a script. I save my interview questions in Evernote and pull them up on my phone during the interview. Having the questions in Evernote on my iPhone allows me to quickly glance down between takes and give the interviewee a sense that we’re having a casual chat. Prior to conducting an interview, I clip articles I see on the web and especially for interviews, I clip all of the recent reviews a band has received for a new album into Evernote. I’ll review all of my research in Evernote, write out my questions and have them ready to go the day before the interview.
  3. Evernote for conference action plans:
    I went to SXSW this year and prior to the conference, I created a notebook just for the conference. I saved everything related to the conference in it: from restaurant recommendations to publicist numbers for showcases I went to. Since a badge never guarantees that you’ll can get into a show, I wanted to have every important contact number saved and accessible from my iPhone. Festivals tend to have really bad reception, so having my notes stored on my phone and being able to search for them even when I had no bars ensured that I could always get the information I needed.
  4. Evernote for expense reports:
    I take photos of all of my receipts and put them in my Evernote account. I also email receipts — especially taxi cab receipts — into Evernote. I would never find those little pieces of paper again otherwise. With Evernote, I can throw everything into a notebook and deal with it later.
  5. Evernote for getting around a city you don’t know:
    When you’re in a new city for a conference or a festival, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’ll get from point A to B. I save maps in Evernote whenever I’m in a new place.
  6. Evernote for miscellany:
    I have one notebook that’s called “Wunderkammer” — it’s sort of my cabinet of curiosities where I throw random things that I might want to remember. I have a lyric sheet in there that a band gave to me after an interview.
  7. Above: Lyrics sheet that Ryan, aka Honus Honus from Man Man, made for me prior to an interview.

  8. Evernote for serendipitous ideas:
    I have an Ideas notebook and sometimes that I’ll occasionally just scroll through. A couple of weeks ago, I found a note that said simply: ‘re-film Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough with own green screen” (created 7.15.2009). I wrote it down as an idea after Michael Jackson died, but had no idea what to do with it at the time. When I stumbled across the note, it turned out that a friend of mine actually had a green screen, so we re-shot the video with me doing the moves (see video below). There was a month last year when I was saving a bunch of joke ideas. I had talked to a friend about doing an open mic. I have all of these joke ideas, which is not something I do.
  9. Evernote for staying fit, when you work from home:
    Especially when you work at home, you have to find time to stay healthy. I use Evernote as my workout log. I keep my workout routine in Evernote so I can pull it up on my iPhone or iPod when I’m at the gym. It keeps me motivated and on track.

Favorite Feature

Besides the web clipper, I’m a big fan of taking photos and audio notes with Evernote. I record sound samples at shows that I go to and listen to them later. And I take a lot of photos when I’m walking around New York. I take photos of signs and tag with location. Sometimes I’ll pass a restaurant either while I’m walking or in a cab, and take a photo of it. The only way I’d ever find it again is if I snapped the photo, tagged it and saved it to Evernote.

User Tip: Evernote for finding a job

Before I started writing for Streogum full-time, I saved job listings to Evernote. A while ago, I actually went through my Jobs notebook and realized that I had amassed 300 of them. When I first moved to New York, I was eager and up for anything and my jobs notebook reflected that.

I save work samples in Evernote as well. When you’re going on a job interview, you have to be ready for the interviewers to ask you for samples, even if they never requested them. Having all of my work samples saved in Evernote means that I can pull them up on the spot and show them to the interviewer.


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5 Comments RSS

  • Scott Winterroth

    Great post. Reminds me of how I use Evernote to manage my blog networks and corresponding businesses. With Evernote, I can manage editorial workflow, interviews, facilitate story ideas and lots of other cool things. Plus, I know my notebook is always nearby.
    I use Evernote to manage my life.

  • Simiramis

    really a nice topic.

  • Pentax Papilio

    Thanks this was a great post to read. I love the idea of the Wunderkammer. You have put a lot of thought into this post and I really enjoyed it. So many things you can do with Evernote. You also do a really nice moon walk in MJ video.

  • Hassan Jawad

    Thanks awesome information love this post

  • Pastirma

    Thanks so much for sharing this!