Does anyone here use Agenda to write a novel?

Before writing a true first draft, I use a number of platforms (like Freeform, Plottr and Bear) to plot, take notes and brainstorm. Now that I’m giving Agenda a try, and I see it’s great value for my work and personal tasks, events, notes and journalling, it looks possible that I might be able to use Agenda instead of Bear. That way I can do more things in less places.

(Plus there are a lot of other bells, whistles and design elements that I believe surpass Bear’s. And this community looks very, very promising.)

I find the functionality similar enough. Although, I will miss the ability to expand and collapse content under headlines. But I am glad I can still create instant wiki-pages for when I want to go into detail about a concept and not fill up more space on the page I’m on.

So it looks like I’ll be plotting and brainstorming the same way. Start with an outline page, broken up by parts and chapters, then the scenes or beats as bullets under those chapters. Then when I’m ready to jot down ideas about a certain scene or beat, I turn it into a wiki page and go to town there.

NOTE: As I was writing this, I saw some other posts by users that are also using Agenda for writing. I’m looking forward to perusing those.

Keep up the great work, Agenda-nauts!


Well, I use to write a book and recently blog posts. If you feel like expand/collapse options, you can create a project and divide your content in notes. These can be expanded and collapsed. I’d still use freeform though because it’s such a great native app. If eventually you need to mention a freeform project, you can share it and copy its link direct to agenda. You can also share the note link to freeform if you intend to use it bidirectionally

1 Like

Thank you for your response. And yes, I accidently discovered that I can collapse and expand the individual notes. It made my day, frankly. And I will be using this feature quite a lot I’m sure.

(I’m such a nerd.)


In general, we notetaking enthusiasts are all nerds :laughing:


As I mentioned in another thread, Agenda is not the ideal tool for a novel. You probably can use it, especially if you split the content over many notes and projects.

I think Agenda would be good for planning and outlining a novel. To actually write the novel, you might be better with a long-form writing tool like Scrivener or Ulysses.


I used and loved Bear for a long time. Wrote notes, outlines, and drafts of articles and book chapters in it. I’ve switched to Agenda for all those tasks. The environment is just so comfortable. I paste a lot of images and figures into my notes. Bear is capable here, but Agenda is even more so.

One thing that always held me back with Bear is its organization is based on tags. Tags are fine, but my brain works in folders for organization. Agenda shines here.

One thing I often do is discuss some idea with a colleage on email. I then realize I should keep that message in Agenda. For now, I’m simply copying and pasting. This works well because I typically don’t want the theire message (heads, previous messages in the thread), just the relevant portion.

Another thing I frequently do is take notes from published articles and books. Again, I do this by cutting and pasting the text from the PDF (I use PDF Expert) into Agenda. I keep all of my references in Bookends for Mac (and iPhone). Bookends gives me a feature to copy and paste a link to the reference into Agenda. This way, I can click that link in the Agenda note and go to the reference in Bookends.

I’m putting together a keynote address. Agenda gives me the capabilities and freedom to organize the outline, keep notes, quotes, images, etc. Eventually I’ll compose the address in Keynote ('m a Mac user and never got used to Powerpoint, I can make Keynote do whatever I want). I don’t think I will try to somehow connect Agenda and Keynote. I’ll find it better to use Agenda as my brainstorming and organizing tool, and then compose the slides in Keynote.

I’m loving Agenda as a tool for a writer and researcher.


Cool. Checking out Bookends now.

And what you metion are the two of the drawbacks I see. Having to cut and paste from certain sources. Hope eventually this functionality arrives.

A while ago I was an Evernote entusiast. Cipped everything into that. Now, because I want to use as few apps as possible, right now I either immediately make a PDF of the aritcle via Books. Or save to a Feedly board. But it would be so great if Agenda wasn’t “notes + calendar” but “Pocket/Instapaper/notes + calendar” :grinning:

What are you missing exactly in Agenda here? You can share documents and links to Agenda, so PDFs should work fine, as well as text etc.

Is the missing piece having web archives? Ie copies of web pages directly in Agenda?

I would like to be able to save entire articles into Agenda, rather than just the links. For now, if I want the text in Agenda, I have to cut and paste. And sometimes that needs two steps. Because there will be some hidden code in the text that when I paste it into Agenda, it goes into one column of the table. Then I have to select all in that table, copy, then paste beneath the table and delete the table.

And even with links, I have to cut and paste, instead of saving via a share button.

I really miss the old publish/subscribe technology that Apple used to provide. The ability to select anything from a document do a selection inside the document and publish it to another application that would subscribe to the content. And the links were live so that you could edit the document and the subscribed content could be updated (or not…your choice).

Yeah, it sounds like a web archive. But do you mean you actually want the web site to become an Agenda note? Or do you mean be embedded in the Agenda Note as an attachment?

If you meant actually move the content in as an Agenda note, it is a bit tricky, in the sense that Agenda isn’t a web site, and you will end up with different degrees of success with the result.

If you meant an attachment (ie web archive) of the web site, that is certainly doable, and something we would like to do.

I use GoodLinks as a read-later / bookmark app.

Universal app with one-time purchase, Apple Script support (on Mac), good Shortcuts support.

It’s also possible to export articles as Markdown or Plain Text.

1 Like

I love what you said about the ability to do “more things in less places.” Even though Apple came out with a journaling app, which I like, I still use Agenda for other detail-heavy journaling.

I too have discovered a lot of Agenda’s bells and whistles via “happy accidents” — unknowingly triggering an action in the app, which, in turn, triggered a positive response in me — and then my workflow gets even better.

I have several creative projects listed under a category by that very name (creative projects), and in each of them, I have started some kind of outline or general sequence. I had to make one of those projects a sub-category because there were so many different notes and outlines built and organized into it that one project could not contain them all.

So yes, outlining is a breeze in Agenda. But, as Drew indicated, it’s better to use dedicated word processors for the actual story drafts. I use Final Draft as a screenwriter, and obviously, that would not work in Agenda. :nerd_face:


Good to hear you have these “happy accidents”. As an app maker, you are going for that. Presenting all functionality at once is way too overwhelming, so you make choices. The term we use is “progressive disclosure”. Start with the basic, essential stuff, and let the customer discover more as they need it.

I also have a project like the one you mention. Mine is called “Crazy Ideas”, but it is much the same as your “Creative Projects” I suspect. In any case, it’s a great place to just jot down ideas, to free up your head and feel good that you at least haven’t lost any gold.


Your last sentence makes me like it here even better.

I’m writing my first novel and have been searching high and low for an additional note resource.

I love Ulysses :two_hearts: and like to have another screen open with nothing but notes, a lot of the time. You can split the screen on your lap/desktop and iPad, not the phone, so a dedicated note app is important, to me. I’ve used Simplenote, Obsidian, Bear, Google Keep and a few others. So far Agenda’s coming out ahead.