Several years ago when I first began writing I had no method of organization. Microsoft word was my writing software of choice. I used it to make notes on numerous documents at a time. My open tabs looked like a recycle bin full of yesterday’s newspapers. The bin of newspapers might have been better organized than my times roman scribblings. I couldn’t keep track of drafts and I was always losing research notes. I’ll admit it became extremely aggravating to find the trinket of information I needed months after I already published the document.
I discovered Scrivener on the blogs dedicated to the craft of writing I follow. Numerous authors mentioned the writing tool with the exuberance of a paid advertisement, so I paid attention.
Scrivener’s homepage lists several prestigious awards the program has received. PC World called Scrivener one of the best 100 of 2012. Most of the accolades Scrivener lists on its homepage are from Mac centric organizations. After reading the honorable mentions by Apple loving groups I, being a PC guy, became concerned that Scrivener was a writing program geared mainly for the Mac. Wow, was I wholly wrong—as the 30 day free trial resoundingly demonstrated. Yes, Scrivener comes with a 30 day trial, and no, you don’t have to give them your credit card information right away to reserve the software.
After I downloaded the free trial I opened the program I’ll admit it overwhelmed me. The home screen looks and functions like a cockpit, and like any pilot, you have to take a few flight lessons before takeoff.
Scrivener provides interactive tutorials that guides you through the first few steps of learning how the various functions work.
Scrivener is intuitive to the point that using Scrivener suggests a writer designed the software, and not a computer programmer with a writer in mind.
Video tutorials are available along with the interactive tutorial, so the people behind the software set you up for easy accessibility from the onset. I was able to understand how to use Scrivener within a few hours and mastered Scrivener within a week.
The organization of the program is clutch. I am a planner; I outline my work. The cork board feature makes for a great way to keep tabs on drafts revisions and notes in a visual way. Scrivener has a place for research notes, links, videos and recordings. It also comes with easy to use templates that you can add pictures to so you can visualize your characters and settings. My favorite feature is the full screen mode which places the curser in the middle of the screen. I turn off spellchecker for a distraction free writing process. With the many tools available on Scrivener it does not detract from the writing process. Scrivener frees up hours I’d otherwise spend searching through notes, drafts and other writing tools.
The only downside to Scrivener is that I can’t save to the cloud. I saw a tutorial on how to save the project on Dropbox for the Mac but the PC is not so easy. I can’t save the entire project in dropbox, what I must do is copy and paste my work into a word doc and save it in dropbox (God bless ctrl+c and ctrl+v). If there is a way to save the project in the cloud on a PC, please message me.
What I foresee happening in the future is for Scrivener to become a monthly platform allowing several people to access the same project at the same time similar to Google Docs real time browser editing features. For authors and writers that can not work together due to distance constraints this feature would be absolutely amazing.
I may be bias. I haven’t used Final Draft or any other writing software, so I am not aware of where Scrivener fits overall into the spectrum of writing programs. Overall, Scrivener is elegant and solid. I would be at a loss if I went back to using my old methods to organize and write or adapting to something else.
The link can be found here for Scrivener’s free 30 day trial as well as a link to the tutorials.
If you have any suggestions or comments, please, fell free to reply. Thank you for your time. I am glad to help, and by all means—write already!