Using Evernote

How to Create a Spark File With Evernote

On the Evernote blog, creativity is a constant theme.

The very nature of creativity—how we find it, capture it, save it, and how we use it, has been a persistent narrative of many of our posts. It has defined topics ranging from authors and writers to filmmakers and designers.

The fascinating takeaway from these dialogues is that the fundamental search for understanding how ideas work has implications far beyond the note.

Last week, we explored the origins of the spark file as a tool for capturing and managing your ever-evolving ideas. We’d like to show you some examples to help you create a spark file in Evernote.

Getting started

A spark file is easy to start. Just create a new note.

  • Jot down your ideas in the note, everywhere you get an idea.
  • Be prepared to capture ideas whether you’re using a mobile device or at the office—wherever the moment strikes you.
  • Update your notes when new concepts, ideas, and thoughts enter your mind.

1. Clip, email, and connect. It only takes an instant to get ideas into your spark file using any one of the following methods:

  • Web Clipper to capture material from the web directly into Evernote. You may find something that piques your interest at a time when you have no time to read it. Clip it right into Evernote, and it’ll appear in context when you search for related ideas.
  • Email. Whip open your email and send a note to yourself. Evernote provides you with a special email address just for that. Then, find all your old ideas and send them to Evernote.
  • Drive right in. Now, your ideas can seamlessly move between Evernote and Google Drive. Test-drive the beta now >>

2. Record audio ideas. When an idea comes to your head, and you aren’t able to write it down, use the recording feature. Then, play it back later when you need it.

3. Take a picture. Sometimes snapping a picture in Evernote is the perfect way to capture an inspiration. And remember, if you add tags to your photos, you can index them easier, and find any photo you’re thinking about in seconds.

4. Read what you’ve written. Often. Spark files are designed as a safe place for your ideas, but they’re not a place for ideas to go to die. Read your spark file often. Something that didn’t make sense two years ago may have just been ahead of its time. Or it may have been a puzzle piece in solving a larger problem. As you review your spark file, you might find an idea that ignites a new chapter in your life.

Pro Tip: Set a reminder to review your ideas weekly or monthly.

Set Reminders for your Spark File

5. Chance favors connectivity. Use your spark file to join unrelated ideas, even when they occurred weeks or even years apart. Author Steven Johnson calls this concept “the slow hunch” — a series of ideas that evolve over time, not in a single moment of clarity.

6. Create connected systems. Often, when you’re dealing with hunches, you need a system to help connect with ideas, stumble upon new information, and rediscover your old musings and thoughts. We all deal with an always-on, connected world that requires us to rethink how we find new ideas. Making connections through search and context is what Evernote does, and what makes Evernote the perfect home for unrelated, unstructured ideas. You may forget what flights of fancy or ethereal inspirations you’ve had, but Evernote never does.

7. Share with colleagues and friends. Innovation is often discovered when we start connecting to people. The ability to tap into shared knowledge with colleagues helps bridge the gap between forgetting and creating.

Scientific and creative innovation has largely been driven by those who choose to interact and share their thoughts with others. With Evernote, you can share your spark file with a colleague, or create a shared group note that can be updated daily, weekly, or monthly. Let the ideas and concepts flow!

Spark File Taylor Pipes

So go ahead. Light a spark. Let Evernote help you fan the flame. Not every idea will turn into a work of genius, but every idea has the potential to start one. And Evernote will be ready to serve it up to you when you’re ready.

How are you building and updating your spark file with Evernote? Share your advice and tips for the Evernote community in the comments below.

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