MY Note Taking Journey

And Why I've Settled on the Craft App

 Exclusive

Evernote

The elephant in the room.

I used Evernote for years, spending countless hours setting up notebooks and tags, only to realize organized just so, only to end up with 9,000 unsorted notes that were thoughts fragments on the fly, because I couldn't remember which tag or which notebook should apply.

I tried moving everything into one notebook, and that worked a little better, but this was also a rough time for Evernote, and the app would crash constantly on my Mac, and just when they'd fix that version, the iOS one would become unstable. It was time to go.

Bear

Minimalism, Baby!

Eager to get back to basics, I hopped over to Bear, a wonderfully minimalist note-taking app for Apple. You'll find no notebooks or folders in Bear, just a simple tagging system that felt like a breath of fresh air after my complex Evernote system.

I like Bear, and I love that it's privacy-focused, but, there is a downside: There's no easy way to share a Bear note, and no way at all to collaborate on one. 

I was finding I'd type a shopping list or a proposal for my latest book into Bear, only to have to copy/paste that content into another app in order to be able to share the grocery list with my husband, or the proposal with my agent. And then I'd update one version, but not the other, and forget which was the latest. I also had tag overload. I'd look over at my sidebar and see:

  • Book
  • Books
  • BookIdeas
  • LLBooks
  • BookNotes

My notes felt all over the place and jumbled.

Notion

Oh, brother.

When I first discovered Notion, I swooned. Ever since my corporate days, I'd longed for a Sharepoint alternative that I could use for my "author life." A place to track projects and tasks and release dates and due dates and content calendars and book links, and, and and...

Notion positions itself as an "all-in-one" app, and I jumped in with both feet. I used Notion for everything, including— you guessed it—all my notes.

I spent weeks setting up the perfect Notion system (if you've ever used Notion, you know what I'm talking about!). It was beautiful, and organized and comprehensive, and...

I never used it.

My reasons for leaving Notion are numerous, but I also don't want to bash the app, which is pretty powerful, so I'll sum it up by saying: I'd created too much friction. Notion does a lot of things well, but none of them particularly quickly. More often than not, when I had an idea, or needed to paste an order confirmation number, or write a quick to-do list, I was opening Bear, or Apple Notes, figuring I'd add it to Notion "later." Sometimes I did, but often I did not.

In theory, I was more organized than ever. In practice, I'd never been less productive.

Apple Notes

Simple. It Works.

I've always been baffled by Apple Notes. How is it possible that a company known for creating beautiful products can create such an unaesthetic app? I mean, it's fine, but that's about all I can say about it.

And you know what? Sometimes fine is exactly what you need. Apple Notes is an app that simply works. They've recently-ish added great sharing features and tags, but this was a very solid "recovery" app for me after the complexities of Notion.

I liked Apple Notes a lot, and would actually probably still be using it if not for a missing feature that turned out to be a deal breaker:

No Markdown support. Because I write all of my novels in Ulysses, and spent so much time using Bear and Notion, I've gotten pretty accustomed to being able to type the # to create Heading 1, ### to get Heading 3, etc. 

Apple Notes doesn't support that, which means my notes were an irritating mess of random pound signs (#) and I hated how long it took to create subheadings within notes.

which leads me to...

WHY I SWITCHED to Craft and LOVE IT

01

It's pretty. I know, I know, looks shouldn't matter, but what can I say, I like using apps that I like using.

02

It supports Markdown and hides it. Unlike Bear, Craft hides the actual Markdown code as you write, which keeps notes less cluttered-looking. 

03

Sharing notes is easy and attractive. I love that I can write an idea, proposal, interview, etc, and then share my content via a link that creates a pretty, professional webpage.

04

It was built natively for iOS and macOS, which basically mean it's designed specifically to dazzle on Apple devices, unlike Notion, which is a web-based clunker in comparison.

05

Craft supports backlinks. In Apple Notes and Evernote, there's no way to easily link from one note to another. With Craft, it's as simple as tying the @ key followed by your note title.

Photos of the Craft App

try Craft for yourself

No affiliate link, no kickback for me. Just an honest recommendation from one writer to another.

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