Spinning: Two Writing Tools That Help Me Stay Balanced

By Diana Beauclerk (1734-1808) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Diana Beauclerk (1734-1808) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you ever feel like you're in an ever changing whirlwind, spinning round and round like a child  - slowing down, catching one quick breath, only to resume spinning in the opposite direction? That's how I feel, and it's exciting. My son used to spin like this when he needed to work out a chess move or solve a complicated math problem. But I'm having trouble with the changing directions part. I'm only good at spinning one way. Stopping to change directions doesn't come naturally.

Part of my job as a writer is reading from various genres and researching topics that relate to my website. After being a full time caretaker the last twelve years, I'm finding this insatiable quest for knowledge thrilling -  yet at the same time, an entropic sort of force, dissolving all pretensions of household order.

When I'm in my seeker role, I become tenacious. It's kind of like digging for endless, magical potatoes, knowing there's no end but not stopping until the last one is unearthed.

I don't believe there'll be a path leading me backwards to spinning in only one direction anytime soon, nor would that be desirable.

So I'm stuck, for a while at least, spinning one way and then the other, until I learn through drifts and falls to whirl alternately in both directions with more frequent pauses and more graceful turns, becoming like the cadence of a poem, the rhythm of a waltz.

So what all this spinning, whirling, and digging is leading to are some tools I'm sharing, which have already helped my spinning become less frenzied.

For those of you following news and blogs, there's a service called feedly, which allows you to gather all of your web information into one place. And the basic plan, which is the one I'm currently using, is free. What's more, feedly makes it possible to categorize, organize, save, and label your favorite feeds. So if I see an interesting article but don't have time to read it, I can save it for later. If I'm working on a post about the environment, I can look under my science category, and go there first. I checked, and you can even follow moi, owlinthewood.com, on feedly.

Another helpful tool is Evernote, which like feedly, also has a free app. This program allows me to keep notes in online notebooks. For example, I'm currently working on a blog post about plastics in our environment. Evernote allows me to clip articles from the web, including those that I save in feedly, and place them in my notebook labeled "plastic."  So in this way, feeldy acts as the provider of informtion which can be organized under different labels, while Evernote provides a depository for safe keeping the news and blog articles in specific notebooks for later projects. I hope this kind of makes sense.

But Evernote isn't just for internet junkies. Shopping lists, to do lists, etc. can also be organized in separate notebooks. I need a notebook for birthdays, and I think my friends and family would attest to that. Since I spend so much time online anyway, it makes sense to keep track of both my work and my personal life through the Evernote application.

I'm still working on how best to use these two programs as I already have way too many news stories in my "save for later" category. But at least I can relax in knowing that they're not going anywhere. After all, one problem that arises from digging for endless, magical potatoes, is figuring out where to put them all.

Now, having organizational tools, which help me mange information overload, I can drift more freely in both directions, falling into the rhythm of the music, the cadence connecting work to home life.

I hope this was helpful in some way to those of you struggling with information overload. I'm using both of these applications and have only just begun to scratch the surface of their potential. By the way, I give credit to Rainmaker.FM , a wonderful resource for writers and marketers, for introducing me to both feedly and Evernote.

What products help you with organization? Please share them in the comment section below. I'm still learning about these apps myself, but if you have questions, I would be happy to help in any way that I can.

My best to all of you as always,