The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

Toys and tools for writers – part 3 – the non fiction writer

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Toys and tools for writers – part 3 – the non fiction writer

May 10, 2011 | Hosting and Tech, Writing, content | 0 comments

And so, we roll onto the toys and tools for writers, for non fiction writers.

By ‘non fiction writer’ I mean copywriter/article writer/technical medical or otherwise writer that requires you to use your imagination but fit facts.
For this, I’m going to be a bit contrary – I’ve got go final recommendations to offer.   And I have a reason for suggesting them.  One is an app called ‘Egrelist’ which is specifically designed for the iPhone.  It integrates with Evernote and allows you to create Checklists that you can tick off in app.  But really, any system that lets you list tasks will help.

Planning your day

One of the things that this article does assume is that you’re already lining up or have work lined up.  This is critical for most non fiction writers, because most of us don’t live from book sales.  If you do, the methods will be slightly different again.
I find it very handy to look at my day and work out what I’ve got to do.  It helps if I’ve got a list of my ‘chores’ for the week, but then again, I still miss stuff off now so it’s not foolproof.
Plan your day around work, ensuring, if you can, that you can take a break or change pace if you need to from the really dull stuff.  If you know you work better at certain times of the day, try to plan your day around that so that you’re doing your best work then.  If you’ve got calls to make, try to do them when (a) your family are out or (b) there’s someone to look after the children, if you’re a work at home parent.

The joys of Evernote

I’ve found Evernote invaluable when working as a freelancer – I can jot down notes and load them to my phone, or work with stuff already on my phone.  It has made projects where I have (x) or (y) amount of articles to do super easy – I just keep adding check boxes till they are complete.  Evernote too, works with Egrelist and other apps to create a very slick working program.

I’ve also found word templates invaluable – it’s one of those things that you suddenly realize. It means I’m working from a formatting guide per client and gives me the opportunity to make sure that everyone is happy with their content.  I’ll explain more on this later, because I’m also finding it comes in really handy for e-book formatting.


One of the major areas that freelancing falls flat on it’s face is invoicing.  It’s difficult to work with many invoicing systems because they because each of them have a steep learning curve. For example, I’m not a technophobe but I haven’t enjoyed working with Sage, Quickbooks or any of the other programs I’ve been looking at.  It might just be specific preference, but I really like Freshbooks (affiliate link).  I’ve never found a problem with billing with them, and really appreciate the support they’ve given me.  I had questions, dozens of them, and they’ve always answered them promptly.  I even got sent a surprise t-shirt and paper aeroplane from the office that had been signed by all the staff, with a message – ‘reach for the stars Kai!’ written on it in gold.  That’s SERIOUS customer service!

Kai’s book, Glass Block, is due out in August.

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