How I Used Evernote To Write My First Book

20140412-152812.jpgMy first book releases in just a couple of months. It’s a project that I have to be honest in saying that I didn’t want. I didn’t want to spend hours and months writing a book… not with all that I have going on and all of the things I have my hands in on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, after some prodding from a publisher and the Holy Spirit, I agreed to begin working on a leadership book for younger leaders. Being a pretty organized person, one of the first things I knew I had to do was organize all of the ideas and content in a way that made sense to me. Writing Next Up took plenty of time… I didn’t want to have an unorganized mess to work through while I was writing.

Below I’m going to outline how I organized all of my content, notes, outlines, and ideas in Evernote. I’m an Evernote believer (I was before this) even more so now. Evernote made writing my first book a less frustrating experience.

1. The first thing I did was look at the Table of Contents and make a notebook for each chapter. I titled each notebook “4- From Unreliable to Consistent” and so on.

Within each chapter notebook, I kept notes for that chapter. If I had a quick idea and knew where I would probably use it within the book, I made the not in that notebook. What I ended up with was a notebook of clips and bits of information on the topic covered in that chapter.

2. I also made a notebook entitled “Working Chapter Outlines.” I chose to keep the chapter outlines separate from the chapter notes because I didn’t want to lose it in the snips and clips.

Within the Working Chapter Outlines notebook, I went ahead and made a note for each chapter with the chapter number at the front (to keep them in order). As I outlined each chapter, I kept the note in this notebook. It never left this notebook. Once that chapter was written, it got the title (FINAL) at the end.

3. I also created a notebook within Evernote called “Next Up Saves.” Each time I wrote a significant section of the book, I placed the word file in this notebook and gave the new note a title according to where I was with the manuscript (ex: Saved / Chapters 1-4). The purpose of this notebook was solely to have a back up of what I had done… just in case. In the end, I ended up with 10 saves in this notebook.

4. The last notebook I created was called “Next Up – General.” Within this notebook, I kept a running list of random ideas that didn’t fit within a chapter, marketing ideas, and contacts that could help me get the word out later (you may be in that list). By keeping contacts and marketing ideas along, I saved myself a lot of time on the back end.

Of course, all of these notebooks went into an Evernote stack called “Next Up Book.” It was in this stack that I worked out of for several months. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the perfect system. There were probably things I could have done to have had better organization of content, but it worked well for me.

If you have any questions, leave a comment.


  1. I’m anxious to read it too! But for the life of me, I cannot make sense of Evernote. I can never seem to get it to work the way I want it to. Fortunately, OneNote has come out with an app, which is much more user-friendly for the way I work.

    Congratulations, Jonathan! Lots of good things happening for you right now! :)


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