Use OneNote to Track Manuscripts, Keep Up with Submission Dates, & List Goals and Challenges

Nonfiction Fest Begins in 2 Days, and in this post, I’ll show you how to use the free app OneNote to keep up with your lists and ideas.

I like several things about OneNote. For one thing, my computer just crashed, and I lost several manuscripts. I am saving all of my short picture book manuscripts on OneNote now, and I am creating backup text dummies on OneNote, too. In the same way that I use tables in Microsoft Word to create a text dummy, I use tables in OneNote to create a backup dummy there. The tables feature works the same way in both Microsoft Word and in OneNote.

How to Create a Text Dummy for a Picture Book in Microsoft Word

Your info on OneNote will not crash when your computer crashes. OneNote is a safety net for me, but it is also a great feature for listing and organizing new ideas.

And because I have saved a OneNote shortcut to my desktop, I can check my data there as easily as I check my email.

Let’s get started by creating a page to save our ideas for Nonfiction Fest: 

If you don’t have OneNote, Google it and download it free. I use OneNote on my computer. After you have OneNote ready, let’s add a page for Nonfiction Fest.

  1. From your menu, click on the words “Add Page.”

2. Type the Title of Your Page

3. From the top menu, click Insert.

4, From the Insert Menu, Click Table

5. Drag-Select the nuber of columns and rows that you want in your table. You want 6 Columns and all the rows. We’ll add more rows later.

6. Label Your Table. I name my columns as follows: Date, Idea, First Draft [for the date that I complete a First Draft]. Submit [for the date and to whom I submit the manuscript, Response [for the date and the response from that first submission

8. To add other rows and lengthen your table, right click in the last row of your existing table, Click on the word “Table” and from the drop-down menu that appears, click “Insert Below”

9. If you want to add a picture above your table, click on the table and drag it down a bit. Then, click on the word “Insert” in the top menue. From the insert menu, click Picture. You will be led to your Pictures folder on your computer. From there, select the picture that you want to add. You can also add pictures to individual cells.


10. My OneNote has a calendar loaded, and because of that, I am able to keep up with all types of important dates.  In order to differentiate the levels of importance of various dates, I color code them. Let’s look at my calendar for March. I will attend 3 SCBWI webinars in March, and I have color-colded those in green. I am scheduled for 2 webinars on March 13. Thank goodness for Zoom recordings. The crucial date is highlighted in yellow. That is when I had a deadline to submit a manuscript.

11. By creating another page with another set of tables, I have saved my schedule for Mayfest itself, which will happen on May 1. Notice that I have copy-pasted several important notes from the Mayfest annouoncement on SCBWI, and in doing so, the hyperlink to that information pastes, too. This prevents the endless search for information that I will inevetibaly need to access again.