Dropbox is an excellent place for storage of large files – photo and videos – and as the cost of this storage has now dropped dramatically this makes it an obvious option for the off-computer/tablet/phone repository of such content. But Dropbox can also be an excellent hub for the organisation of professional writing, and allows for a tremendous freedom of working practices. Over the last couple of years this freedom has entirely changed how I work on my own writing projects. (N.B. Of course, there are a number of competitors offering similar facilities to Dropbox, and the strategies I discuss here are possible with them also – but I’m using Dropbox as my example as that’s what I know and use).
I will go into more detail of the various processes in subsequent posts on the topic of organic organisation, but the basic considerations are simply these:
1. We need single place to store our pieces of text: our notes, our fledgling pieces of prose, our drafts and our final copy. This place needs to be able to structured so that stored content can be organised using folders and perhaps even nested folders.
2. It is then also extremely helpful to have easy and direct access to the text is in this repository, and also to be able to link to items within it, all from a number of different devices and – importantly – using a number of different software programmes or apps. This is where software with its own proprietary formats, and especially those which protect their own Cloud storage, fall down (e.g. without some shenanigans you cannot open an Evernote item except in Evernote itself or such software – e.g. Curio – which specifically accommodates it; and you cannot link to a note written in Ulysses and stored in its own be-Clouded file structure).
3. And finally, given the growing need for re-access to particular texts at a later date, when the normal span of memory has expired, it is useful to be able to Index that folder to make it intelligently searchable within software, such as Devonthink Pro which offers that kind of facility. Dropbox allows for all of this.
In the next post I’ll give a full example of how this kind of system operates, using a core of different software programmes and iOS apps, within my own note-taking practices.
Next Post: Organic Organising 3 – Notes