How to start a virtual writing journal using Microsoft OneNote

For my 30th birthday, my husband bought me a laptop. It has been awesome. I love not being stuck at a desk while I write (I get enough of that at work). It is so nice to be able to sit in bed with a hot cup of tea and write, or sit in front of the warm air conditioning (its currently the middle of winter here in Australia).

One of the other added benefits of having my laptop is that I can use it as a virtual writing journal. I have found the software Microsoft OneNote extremely useful for this. It came standard when I purchased Microsoft Office but you can also download it from the web onto your computer or windows phone. There is also a web app.

OneNote is just like having a notebook in front of you. You have the ability to create sections within it to organise your notes. The other thing is that you can insert pictures, hyperlinks and copy and paste information from the web (it references where you copied it from too).

The picture below is a snapshot of what my OneNote journal looks like. I have different tabs across the top for different topics. Within each tab, you can also have sections – you can see I have a section for capturing story ideas, plus other sections for writing courses and writing exercises I have done. There are endless things you could use it for, eg setting out a plot for a novel, character profiles etc.


It is great being able to flick to my notebook while I am writing my novel to remind myself of some of my ideas. It also beats having to rummage around my desk or search the depths of my handbag to find post-it-notes I’ve scribbled on.

There are plenty of websites that can show you how to use OneNote, but I really wanted to just share my experiences to help anyone else out there suffering from lost post-it-note syndrome.

Happy writing!



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