A Journal in Evernote with Drafts

I started keeping a journal back in high school. It started as a series of Mac Write documents back in ’90. One file for each year. Eventually, I migrated to Microsoft Word, and then through a series of database applications; Access, FileMaker Pro, Lotus Domino, and Bento all served their personal purpose over the years. When I started using Evernote, I initially hesitated to keep my journal there. No way to password protect a notebook, etc. But two things changed my mind: Evernote Premium allows me to protect my iOS client with a passcode, and nobody really wanted to read my journal. 

Back when I started it, I wrote daily. As I got older, I’d write once a week, then once a month, then once every few months… Eventually I had to set a reminder just to write in the damned thing. Then I found the Drafts iOS app.

At it’s base, the Drafts app is a text editor. Plain text, Markdown, whatever. It’s great for that. It also integrates with Evernote. Send the text you write to Evernote. Boom. That alone makes it awesome as an easy way to get text into Evernote. But it goes a step further with Actions. Much like IFTTT lets you create recipes, Drafts lets you create custom Actions. Or use actions that others have already created. The possibilities are endless. But this post is about journals, so we’ll stick to that for now.

I have an action called To Evernote Journal. It’s simple. I type in the Drafts app. When I’m done, I select To Evernote Journal from the actions list. If it’s my first entry for the day, it creates a note in my Journal notebook with today’s date as the title, and adds the text I entered to the note. If I’ve already written today, it just appends the new text to the note, with a timestamp. So instead of feeling like I need to write one big heartfelt journal entry, I can enter small thoughts throughout the day. Think of it as a personal Twitter. Small thoughts, aggregated into one daily note.

If you have Drafts installed, you can add my Evernote Journal action. It utilizes a notebook called Timeline, which includes my journal entries (you won’t see my actual journal notebook, but will want to change the Action if you use a different notebook for your journal entries.) 

 Actions in Drafts app.

Actions in Drafts app.