If you do any kind of writing, you probably own a growing collection of notebooks. You have them stationed on your desk, by your bed, in your bag, or in your car. You have notebooks for meetings, for courses, for the novel you’re writing.
We all love notebooks because they’re portable, come in different sizes, and have cool covers. And who doesn’t love the possibilities that come with a fresh notebook?
“I love the thrill of the blank page, the pen scratching paper, and the permanence that comes from commiting an idea, action, or goal to paper,” says copywriter Elle Kwan.
But here’s the thing: Although using notebooks may seem like a simple way to work, they’re not always efficient. Despite their convenience and charm, notebooks can be a pain.
“The biggest disadvantage of using notebooks is inefficiency,” Elle says. “No matter how much I say I’ll commit to using one notebook for one purpose, as soon as an impromptu meeting comes up, or I’m hit with a random flash of inspiration, I scrabble for the closest bit of paper to me and pretty soon my whole system has crumbled.”
It’s different when you write with Slice. While it isn’t available in cool covers, Slice will help you build a streamlined writing process designed to help you stay organized and focused on creating.
Read on to learn how Slice wins where notebooks fall short – and how you can use it to build a better writing workflow.
#1: All your content is where you want it, when you want it
Notebooks: When you rely on notebooks, your system will inevitably face a problem similar to Elle’s. You’ll lose track of where you’ve written things. Which notebook? What page?
You can waste a lot of time and mental energy hunting for what you need. And once you’ve switched from working to searching, it’s easy to get distracted and difficult to get back into the flow of writing.
Slice: You’ll always know where to find your work in Slice. Everything related to what you’re writing is organized inside a project. And when you sign in, you’ll see all of your projects – so you can go straight to the one you need.
Projects can organize anything that involves words: a novel, research paper, meeting or class notes, blog posts, or ideas to save for later. Pretty much anything you’d use a notebook for.
Here’s an example of a project dashboard:
#2: Your writing and research, together at last
Notebooks: Separating the content you’re writing from your notes and background information is challenging when you’re working with fixed pages.
You could have notes interjected in your content, URLs scribbled in margins, loose pieces of paper slipped between pages. It doesn’t take long before it’s a tangled mess you need to unravel before you can start writing.
Slice: With Slice, you’ll have your content and research neatly organized in the same place. On the left side of every project you’ll find a project binder, which has two sections that will help you say goodbye to the chaos:
- Project output: This is where you keep your content. Create a Slice item or upload a Word doc that you can edit in Slice.
- Project notes: This is your background material and research. Create Slice items or upload PDFs, Word docs, or MP3s. You can even save web content using Slice’s integrated web clipper.
#3: Modular content gives you more control
Notebooks: The order of your content and notes often depends on the next blank page or where you happened to open the book. Once pen meets paper, you’re locked in – unless you’re up for crossing things out and rewriting them in a new order, or drawing a bunch of arrows to indicate where sentences should be moved.
Slice: Everything you create, upload, or save in Slice is an individual piece that you can rearrange with a simple drag and drop.
Make the most of this feature by slicing your writing into smaller pieces instead of one long document. Break things up any way you want. You could do it by ideas, themes, sections, chapters, even paragraphs.
Modular content makes it easy to experiment with the structure of what you’re writing. When you’re done, you can combine and export everything into a single PDF.
Working this way has another big benefit: focus. By concentrating on one piece at a time, you can make a large project manageable and beat the procrastination and writer’s block that can come when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your work.
Watch this video to see how easy it is to rearrange modular content:
#4: Multiple panes, extra productivity
Notebooks: If you want to get your writing out of your notebooks and into the world, you’ll need to add a digital component to your workflow. It probably looks something like this: You have an open notebook to reference while you write on a word processing document on your computer. If you’re also doing research, you might also have to open a Cloud drive, an app or two, and a couple of browser tabs.
Juggling between these tools can deplete your mental energy, focus, and motivation. If you’re having problems finishing things, this may be the key reason why.
Slice: Inside a project, you have the choice of working with one, two, or three panes and having a different item in each one. You can work on multiple chapters of a novel or have your writing in one pane and your research in another. You can view and edit it all without leaving Slice.
Here’s a look at how songwriter Gail Kanning works with three panes to write lyrics. She uses one pane for the song she’s writing, a second for notes about a song that inspires her, and a third for an MP3 of her chord progressions.
#5: Easy collaboration – no scanning required
Notebooks: To share things you’ve written in a notebook, you either have to hand the notebook to someone, tear out pages, or scan and email them.
Slice: With Slice, working with partners is easy. You can add people to your projects, assign tasks, set due dates, and update the project status – all in just a few clicks.
Here’s a look at how simple it is to manage a team in Slice:
And another obvious reason …
You know this, but it’s important enough for us to remind you: You can’t misplace, lose, or spill coffee on Slice. There’s no leaving it behind at work, at a cafe, or a park bench.
All of your content and projects are saved securely on our servers, so you never have to worry about your work disappearing.
Notebooks forever, you say?
As writers, we understand that when it comes to notebooks, breaking up is hard to do. We get it.
And you might argue that writing things down helps you retain information. You could be right.
Here’s our suggestion if you can’t give them up: Keep your notebooks.
Use them for moments when you don’t have Slice handy or when you want the feel of writing things down. But do what songwriter Gail does – type your notes into Slice as soon as you can.
Get your ink and paper fix. We bet that before long, you’ll see how doing all of your work in Slice is the route to becoming a more organized and faster writer.
Want to learn about more ways Slice can improve your writing process? Read the Slice user guide.
If you’re ready to start simplifying writing projects, get your free Slice account now.