Freelance writing and conducting research go hand-in-hand. For freelance workers, who are expected to make up 40% of the workforce by 2020, the need for reliable and accurate information is certainly only getting greater. With a dense sea of information out there, the most challenging part of researching and writing can be ‘navigating the waters’ of the internet.
Finding the best sources of information can certainly be challenging. But when we find relevant, credible information, it inspires us to write content that is both engaging and thought-provoking. Evernote is a tool that all freelance writers can utilize. It lets us find, store, and organize all of our information in a central, easy-to-discern location.
The Research Rundown
I consider myself to be somewhat of a research whiz. After years of freelance writing, I’ve gotten pretty great at using Google to quickly find credible information.
It’s easier than ever to quickly become well-versed on a new subject–we just have to know where to look! Oftentimes the perfect resource is out there–we just have to figure out how to find it!
While this post won’t offer you many suggestions for how to conduct research, a previous About Freelance Writing article titled How To Get The Research Done certainly can. In this piece, author CJ Arlotta highlights some great tips on using search engines, Wikipedia, and other databases. If you’re new to conducting research, there’s absolutely no shame in that. Arlotta’s article will be a great starting point.
Once you begin to master the art of conducting research, you can push your efforts to the next level by experimenting with my favorite app.
Evernote: A Freelancer’s ‘Secret Weapon’
Welcome to a new world of organization. A world where one can catalog just about any web page or idea into a central, personalized hub. The wonderful app called Evernote makes this all possible!
Evernote is a great way to incorporate this type of productivity-rich tech into your workflow.
It’s basically a highly-organized virtual filing cabinet. The app is used for note-taking and archiving information and resources.
The app lets users create sections to store various types of information into ‘Notebooks.’ These Notebooks are used to house relevant articles and resources while researching. All of this is fully customizable, so you can organize all of your saved resources however you’d like to.
For a little bit more context into exactly what Evernote does, check out this quick video titled: What is Evernote? Animated Infographic.
I’ve deemed Evernote as my ‘secret weapon’ for productivity and for organizing my research and freelance writing projects. I simply could not thrive as a freelancer the way I do without this app!
As modern freelancers, we are engulfed in technology. In the current digital age we live in, we must embrace this. We must use technology to our advantage in order to become more productive and efficient freelance writers.
After using Evernote for a couple of years, I’ve found it genuinely useful for the following reasons.
Has this ever happened to you?
You find a perfect resource on your computer or smartphone, only to get distracted and accidentally abandon the page forever? Hours or even days pass by and you think back to the specific forgotten source. You didn’t bookmark the page, and so you realize it will be a quite challenge to find again.
Even as a digital native this happens to me all too frequently.
If you’re like me, your internet browser’s bookmark bar typically becomes congested. Sure, you can lump bookmarked sites into folders and categories, but the sporadic nature of using bookmarks tends to bury important resources.
This is a huge reason I turn to Evernote. The app uses a web ‘clipper’ function that lets you store any webpage in it’s entirety. This serves as a much better alternative to just bookmarking pages for future use.
When you clip a webpage into Evernote, it’s stored in your personal database. You can choose exactly where to place this information, and it’s all searchable. The web clipper is also integrated into Google search, and is mobile-friendly.
If you think about it, Evernote is essentially a bookmark bar on steroids.
I can’t tell you how much time and energy I’ve saved using Evernote just due to the fact that it refines research efforts so much. The app even suggests other useful resources that are similar to the ones I’ve saved in my digital notebooks. This saves time a tremendous amount of time, as the app literally finds resources for me!
If you haven’t tried Evernote, you can sign up for a free basic account in a matter of seconds.
Finally, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie to the app, post your experiences with Evernote in the comments section of this article. Let’s keep this discussion rolling, and I’m happy to answer any Evernote-related questions I can.
Robert Parmer is a freelance writer and student of Boise State University. Outside of writing and reading adamantly he enjoys creating and recording music, caring for his pet cat, and commuting by bicycle whenever possible. His contact info includes: firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: robparmer