by Rachel Smith
09 July 2021
If there’s one device that writers have been oohing and ahhing over in the past year, it’s the reMarkable 2.
I wrote here late last year about how I bought myself one following a home office makeover and a pledge to go (more) paperless. And six months on, what do I think of it? Is it worth the somewhat hefty price tag? (It cost me the better part of $1000 with the folio and pen.)
Short answer? Hell yes. But I know you’ll want a bit more intel than that, so here’s what I – and other reMarkable users from our Gold group – think of it.
I bought the device with a few goals in mind, initially:
But it helps me do a lot more than that. I’ve used it to sketch out a web page to show a developer (emailed in one click). I’ve used it to record a food diary. I load all those huge, pesky ebooks and pdfs clients send me into the reMarkable, so I can file them into the right folder, annotate them and refer to them during projects.
Plus, it has multiple pen choices, heaps of templates and the ability to convert your scribbles to text. it organises all your notes in files, and syncs them to a reMarkable cloud, which you can access via your main computer. Oh, and I’m charging it about once every 2 weeks, if that.
Here’s what else I use it for…
I used to always print out my questions for interviews and transcripts, because I like to scribble notes while I’m chatting to sources, and highlight key quotes in transcripts. I now do both of these things on the reMarkable 2 (the pen doubles as a highlighter). Same goes for podcast scripts – I mark off questions on the reMarkable as we cover them during the recording.
I also use it to sign contracts – I simply drag the contract pdf into the reMarkable app on my computer, it appears on my device, I sign it and email it straight to whoever it’s going to. No more printing, signing, scanning, emailing – and the signed copy is safely stored on my device. I also use it to store bills – they all come in pdfs to my inbox now anyway, and I used to print them out and have them in a folder. Now, I drag that pdf to my ‘bills’ folder on the reMarkable, and slash a line through each one with the stylus when it’s paid. Way more efficient than my old system!
Take notes is a huge part of how I use it – with new clients, and existing ones. I have a folder for each client and can convert my scribbles to text (quite accurately) and send a report to a client if I need to. Or I can mark off items I’ve actioned. No more scrambling for the right notebook when the phone rings, or dealing with a dodgy pen – it’s ALL on the reMarkable now.
What DON’T I use it for? I have tried to read fiction ebooks on it, and it’s okay, but not great enough that I’ll be giving up my Kindle anytime soon. There’s also no backlight but to use it in a dark room, you can just clip on a book light.
I’m in a great FB group for people who have the tablet or are thinking of buying one, and it’s fascinating how people use it (or hack it) for their own ends. But I also wanted to talk to freelancers like me to see if I could learn anything new on how to make the most of the device. Here’s what a few of them had to say about their reMarkables.
Rashida Tayabali, a copywriter for women in business, got one just before I did so we compared notes a bit. She uses it quite differently to me.
“I love notebooks, writing and tech but forever was losing ideas because they were scribbled in paper notebooks,” she says. “I thought a reMarkable was a more efficient way to store those creative ideas and much more environmentally friendly. I use it for different things – I use it like a private journal to brain dump and make sense of things. As soon as I’ve done it, I erase it so it feels like I’ve cleared my head without leaving anything around for anyone to read.”
Rashida also uses her reMarkable as a vision board. “I’ll use it to map out what I’d like to achieve in my business. I use it to store story ideas for future novels, create a bucket list, and I use it for creating process flowcharts for my business. Haven’t yet used it for clients but will do when/if I attend meetings.”
For freelance writer Jodie Humphries, it was a purchase she made because, like myself, she wanted to get away from piles of notebooks and go paperless. “I also wanted something I could use on my desk and while relaxing on the couch,” she says. “There’s something about handwriting my thoughts that I find more helpful. Like all writers, I sometimes struggle with the white page of text when sitting at my desk but with the reMarkable, I can just free-flow write knowing I can clean it up later.”
Jodie uses it to write first drafts of content for herself and her clients, converting to text (a reMarkable function) and transferring the notes to a Google doc to edit and clean up. “I also use it to help me visualise layouts of web copy I’m creating pages for, to help me understand where the copy needs to go and what other copy I need. I like that I can mix paragraphs of text with visuals like boxes to represent CTAs or layout features.”
For copywriter and content strategist Amanda Vanelderen, a reMarkable was a chance for her to consolidate her ‘squazillion’ notepads, lists written on napkins, and post-it notes falling off her computer (I hear you, Amanda).
“And I use it to take notes during meetings, I use it to brainstorm – clients ask me about what I’m writing on all the time,” she says. “I keep a folder for each client with multiple sheets, [which represent] all my meeting/project notes and ideas in one spot. Not a napkin list in sight!”
She also makes a really good point about what the reMarkable DOESN’T DO (stay with me here): “The biggest benefit for me is that I can’t hop over to Google or socials to distract myself – if I’m working on the reMarkable, I focus better. And it’s just bloody fun!”
Digital marketer Claire Chow works with me at Rachel’s List, so she was the first to see how my reMarkable stacked up. We’ve since been super nerds working on our reMarkables together at cafe meetings – amid curious looks from fellow diners!
“I’m always looking at ways to be more productive with how I organise my projects so when you first told me about reMarkable I was super curious,” remembers Claire. “I must admit, I wasn’t convinced of it’s value until I saw yours and gave it a whirl. It really does feel like writing on paper! And I love the choices for the mark-making. My preference is to use the fine-liner (also my preference when using a pen and paper!)”
Claire’s big on a bullet journal system which she still uses to some extent, but says the reMarkable has become her ‘official’ notebook. “I use it for all of my scribbles, to-do lists, bullet-points, mapping out projects, task lists. It’s so satisfying erasing completed items and use the click, select, move icon to move tasks up or down the page depending on priority. If a messy to-do list drives you crazy, it’s so great being able to erase items and move them according to priority, instead of having to create a whole new list.”
It’s a cracker device for anyone who uses a lot of paper and wants to have it all on the one device – but as you can see above, it’s not JUST about being able to scribble down a note or ten. There’s just so much you can use it for.