I'd performed internet searches looking for programs that would allow me to hand-write with my tablet. Several exist for the iPhone and iPad, but I couldn't find something for my laptop.
So I developed a workflow, tedious but do-able, to hand-write using the tablet, an drawing/image-editing program, a PDF editor, and images of engineering paper. (If I have to use lined paper, engineering paper is my preference. Habits die hard.)
On a lark, I performed one more search and I found a program, Circus Ponies' Notebook with a free 30 day trial available, otherwise $49.99. It allows easy typing, drawing, handwriting - even with handwriting recognition to make it searchable, marking up photos and PDFs, all in one organized, customizable notebook. It's more powerful than I wanted, with the organizing and multiple templates, but a way better solution than my create-single-page-PDFs in one program, organize single-page-PDFs in another program.
Just a couple screenshots ...
|Imported a PDF, used pen/ink function to mark changes.|
|Started a writing journal. See the engineering paper?|
|Just so you can see the handwriting function of the application.|
They also have an iPad version, $29.99, so if I wanted, I could work on a notebook between my laptop and iPad, however they don't support Dropbox yet.
One problem, which I haven't yet solved, is how to print the pages without the handwriting shifting on the page. Should be an easy fix, or at least I hope so. If not, they have a nice support page so get help.
When my trial runs out, I'll most likely pony up (hehe) the $50 and buy it for my laptop. While the iPad version is nice, I can't justify buying it just now. (Unless my husband starts to use it for work. Hint, hint.)
FYI -- I was not contacted by Circus Ponies, nor do I, to my knowledge, know anyone at the company. Just thought I'd share just in case someone was searching for a similar solution, or maybe had other digital handwriting suggestions for me.
For those interested - my old process looked something like this:
1. Open digital image of engineering paper in a drawing program.
2. With a pencil or pen tool, write one page worth of words on image with tablet and pen.
3. Print to PDF. For added file-ease-of-mind, save the new "drawing" as an image file as backup.
4. Repeat the 1-2-3 sequence above as necessary to capture words/story.
5. Open individual saved PDF pages in Preview, arrange into one document, and save.
6. Proof-read/edit the new PDF document with tablet and pen in Formulate Pro, a free download.
7. Save marked-up PDF document. Can be used as reference for making changes in a typed story or typing in a story.
Note: My process was developed on Apple computers. I didn't mention which drawing program in my process as had been working out which one I liked best.