How to Write a Book Using Software Designed for Note Taking and Archiving

The following is the opening of an article that Nicholas Carlson has written for Business Week, in which he explains how he used Evernote to write a 90,000+-word book called Marissa Meyer and the Fight to Save Yahoo. I am not necessarily promoting the use of this particular software, but I think that the slideshow that Carlson provides with the article may be of interest to those who are open to alternative ways of approaching large scholarly projects:

“It was a weird choice by me because Evernote is not a word processor. It’s a note-taking application. It wasn’t built for book-writing.

“One reason I used Evernote was because I kept all of my reporting notes and research in Evernote, and I wanted quick access to all that while I was writing.

“It felt less clunky switching between screens in the same app than switching between Evernote and a slow-loading memory hog like Microsoft Word or the surprisingly lethargic Google Docs.

“Another few reasons:

–Evernote constantly saves what you’re working on and backs it up to the cloud.

–I have Evernote on my phone and iPad, and it was nice to be able to pull up my draft and review it anytime anywhere.

–Evernote note windows are sparse, and I like that for writing.

–I’ve developed a “process” around turning reporting/research into writing in Evernote, and when you’re doing work as open-ended as long form writing, it’s nice to have some step-by-step tasks to do to ground you.

“If you’re writing a book soon, you should probably do it in Microsoft Word or even Apple Pages (I can’t recommend Google Docs). But if you want to be weird like me, I’ve outlined my process in the following slides. Sorry that I had to blur out so much. There are sources and spoilers to protect.”


Click here to see the slides on how to write a book in Evernote »


The complete article can be found at:


For those unfamiliar with EverNote, here are several of the opening paragraphs from the Wikipedia article on it (I left out a paragraph on how it has been raising operating capital):

Evernote is a suite of software and services, designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook.

“Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including OS XiOSChrome OSAndroidMicrosoft WindowsWindows PhoneBlackBerry, and webOS) and also offers online synchronisation and backup services. . . .

“Evernote is available in a paid version or a more restricted free version. Use of the online service is free up to a certain monthly usage limit, with additional monthly use reserved for paying subscribers.”


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