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I mentioned last week that I rely a lot on apps to stay organized, especially in my creative ventures. While I mentioned all the typical tools: Dropbox, Evernote, Todoist, and more, there was an app I didn’t mention that I love: Scrivener. If you’re unfamiliar with the tool, let me tell you why I love scrivener for writing.
Scrivener is a writing application that originated on Mac (you can now get it for Windows and for iOS products as well). It’s a word-processing app, like Microsoft Word, but ten thousand times better.
I began using Scrivener in high school, senior year. When I got my first Mac, I didn’t have Microsoft Office (that was before you could get it as a subscription so it was a couple hundred dollars), but Scrivener was cheap. Needing to finish all my papers before I graduated, I bought Scrivener and it’s been love ever since.
All of my creative writing projects in college were in Scrivener (remember, I was a creative writing minor). I’m constantly writing, and Scrivener has been with me for a long time. I’ve formatted e-books and paperbacks in Scrivener. The point is, this program can stay with you during every step of the writing process. While it was hard, I picked five reasons why I love scrivener for writing and other things.
Reason #1: The Corkboard for Outlining
The corkboard is probably the most unique feature of Scrivener. While I love being able to do this all with actual index cards, I’ve been trying my hand at using the corkboard too and it’s fantastic. I love being able to lay it all out and it’s so easy to drag and drop things in a different order. This is my current outline for the book I’m working on, Justice & Lies. If you have a bigger screen, I think this would work even better, being able to see your whole story all at once.
Reason #2: Full-Screen and Distraction Free
Because I have a Mac, every app on my computer has the ability to go full-screen. Which is great if I want to ignore all the other little apps at the bottom of my computer or the internet. When I’m working on edits or reoutlining, this feature works really well.
But before Macs could go full-screen, Scrivener could. There’s a feature called “Compose” (click on the button in the top that has the arrows expanding outward) that takes the document you’re working on and takes over the screen. If you really want to focus on just that particular scene, this is your go to. Those days where I can’t focus on anything, I throw this style up and I’m good to go.If you haven't tried @scrivenerapp, here are five reasons it's the best for writing. Click To Tweet
Reason #3: Writing Targets
This is my most used featured, the writing targets. Every day, I focus on a word count that I want to hit. Each manuscript has a target and every word I add to those targets helps me make that little blue bar grow. I turn it on constantly, in fact, I get a little passive aggressive about the fact it doesn’t open with the program by default.
Reason #4: Compile and Formatting
I mentioned it above, but I’ve used Scrivener to compile manuscripts and format books. I keep two versions of each novel on my computer. One that I work and write in. Then after I do all my spellchecks in different programs, I import it back into Scrivener for formatting. There I set all the rules so it looks nice, make sure I have all the extra information like copyright pages and dedications. Now, I have a template I use for formatting my paperbacks, but this would have been so much harder without Scrivener.
Reason #5: I Can Take Scrivener Anywhere
After Scrivener for iOS came out last year, my writing game changed. When I was working full time, my office was an eight-minute drive from my house. With an hour long lunch break, I would hightail it home and make lunch. While lunch was cooking, I could grab my iPad and write for twenty minutes, all while leaving my laptop at work. It was so easy to just grab my stuff and run home, without the hassle of packing things up. Now, when I go to things like car appointments, I take my iPad with the keyboard case, giving me the option to either read a book with the kindle app or work on my own book with the Scrivener app. The iOS app has been a game changer, y’all.
The important thing is that in the long run, Scrivener is incredibly inexpensive. I paid $40 for the Mac app six years ago, and given the fact I use it almost every day, the cost of it goes down every day. The iOS app was $20, but $60 for a writing suite that can go with me anywhere as long as I own a Mac or an iOS device? That’s a pretty solid deal.
If you’ve never used Scrivener, you can download a trial for your computer. It’s a 30-day trial, but it’s different than other 30 day trials. Instead of 30 days from the day you download it, you get 30 days of full use. So if you use Scrivener one day a month (make sure you close it so it doesn’t count against you), you can make your trial last more than two years.
If you’re looking for more resources for Scrivener, be sure to check out well-storied.com, which as super in-depth tutorials.