Tips & Stories

Prepare for NaNoWriMo with Evernote

Prepare for NaNoWriMo with Evernote

Posted by Forrest Dylan Bryant on 01 Oct 2015

Posted by Forrest Dylan Bryant on 01 Oct 2015

This November, hundreds of thousands of writers will hunker down over their keyboards and embark on a creative marathon. They will push themselves to the limit, braving self-doubt, cramped fingers, annoyed spouses, and mental exhaustion. But if they survive this test, they will win a crown that nobody can ever take away from them. For they will be… novelists.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, has a simple goal: Starting from zero, participants challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. But it’s more than that. NaNoWriMo is an identity and a community. It’s late night caffeine and write-ins at the library. It’s creative risks and wild leaps of the imagination. Best of all, it’s a chance to follow a dream.

We’ve found that many writers, from Neil Gaiman to Susan Orlean, rely on Evernote to keep their thoughts organized. In fact, we believe Evernote can be a novelist’s ultimate companion, helping at every stage from first idea through publication.

Over the next two months, we’ll dive deep into ways you can make Evernote part of your writing toolkit. Here’s a roadmap of what’s ahead:


Some novelists engage in careful planning, figuring out every twist and turn of their stories in advance. Others prefer to jump in and ride the wave of inspiration, not knowing where their words will take them. Whatever your working style, Evernote is ready.

On the go? Use Evernote on your phone to jot down fresh ideas. Got a great bit of dialogue? Capture the nuance in a voice memo. Organize your writing schedule with checklists and reminders. And you can write your outline in Evernote, too.


Use our Web Clipper to grab articles or images you find online. Save photos of handwritten notes, sketches, locations, or documents. Or forward relevant emails right into Evernote. It’s all saved and easily searchable so you’ll have the info you need at the moment you need it.

Characters and Worldbuilding

Create character sheets with the biographies, vital stats, and traits of your characters, then drag in photos so you’ll always remember what they look like. Building a new world? Save photos or scans of your hand-drawn maps, then annotate them in Evernote as you come up with fresh details.


Evernote is synced across all your devices, so you can start writing a scene at home, continue it on the bus, even sneak in a few words at the office. Your novel is always with you, always ready, and in the same place as your research and planning notes.

Wordcount widget from my 2014 NaNoWriMo dashboard. Sweet victory!

Wordcount widget from my 2014 NaNoWriMo dashboard. Sweet victory!

After November

On November 30, pop a cork and celebrate. When you come back to your novel, Evernote can help you remember where you left off and finish your draft. You can even self-publish by importing your manuscript from Evernote into FastPencil.

Share your journey with us

Are you using Evernote for your writing? Share your best tips and learn some new ones from the writers on our team:

For a writer, there’s no experience quite like NaNoWriMo. Sign up and see how far you can go. Verified winners who hit the 50,000-word goal can even get three free months of Evernote Premium as a reward for their achievement. Good luck!


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3 Comments RSS

  • Oliver

    Evernote could be a good tool for writing Novels or Books or other stuff like a BA-Thesis etc., if…

    I miss a function to get my notes in an order that I (!) can define;
    In a novel you have chapters in a given order. But in Evernote you have to rely on “create date”, “title”, “change date”…
    To be able to sort notes and connect them on your own would be a killer feature for all the writers out there!

    • Forrest Dylan Bryant

      Thanks for the feedback, Oliver. I’ll be sure to pass it along.

      My own approach for chapters is to either include the chapter number at the start of the note title — “1. Chapter Title” — or limit the note title to “Chapter 1.”

      • Mariena Foley

        Hi Oliver and Forrest,
        When Evernote notes are ingested into, the “chapters” become drag-and-drop-able and our writing tool allows for additions, deletions and more content. Why not give it a try, it’s free!
        Self-publishing simplified. Happy writing!