GoodNotes, Revisited

It’s not like me to go gaga over a new app of any kind, much less one for writing. But that’s exactly what I’m doing with GoodNotes. Although I’ve been using it for a little less than a week, I’ve already come to wonder:

  1. Why I didn’t discover it before
  2. How I managed to survive all these years without it
  3. Am I losing my mind

Okay, the last bit is a given: I’ve been losing my mind for years. And the reason I didn’t discover it sooner is I wasn’t ready for it. Simple enough. As for question 2, the same answer applies.

It took me a long time, a lot of trying, a lot of running down blind alleys, before I put together my writer’s toolbox.


Apple Notes, Apple Pages, MS Word, Libre Office, Open Live Writer, Scrivener—I’ve tried far too many of them. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, and I’ve learned to live with them. And the main lesson I’ve learned over the years is this: don’t expect one program or application to do everything for you.

Very few of the programs above excel at taking notes. GoodNotes fills that gap as if it was made for notetaking. Oh, wait—it WAS!

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I was jolted awake with the idea for a story. I was dreadfully tired, but I knew that if I didn’t write it down, I’d forget it. So I grabbed my iPhone, fire up Apple Notes, and jotted down my thoughts. This morning, after I had my tea and a light breakfast, I installed GoodNotes on my iPhone. Although the Apple Pencil doesn’t work on it, I can still write (with my finger) or type into it. Best of all, when I set it up, it immediately mirrored everything I had on my iPad—thanks to storing everything in the cloud!

And yes, I copied my idea from Notes and pasted it into GoodNotes.

And while the iPhone isn’t the best writing program, it’s good to know that, since (unlike my iPad) I carry it with me everywhere, I’ll always be able to capture my random thoughts, and be able to expand on them later.

And I’ve even learned how to create my own page template and import it into GoodNotes!

Character Sheet

It’s a basic character template I found on the web, converted it into a PDF file, and then imported into GoodNotes. If that’s something you’d like to try some time, you can find the instructions right here or watch a video here.

One of the best video tutorials on GoodNotes can be found here on YouTube.

Really, I haven’t been this excited about an app since I discovered Scrivener! Which, incidentally, I need to upgrade in the near future.

My Only Complaint?

Very few serious writing apps offer you a trial/demo version, and GoodNotes isn’t one of them. But considering the extra programming effort to create a separate version, I can understand it. After all, it costs less than $8.00 to buy it—and I’m okay with that.

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