As I’m currently in book-writing mode, I wanted to share a tool with you that I find extremely useful. It’s called Scrivener and you can find it here.
First, let me emphasise that I don’t have any affiliation with Scrivener. I just use it – and I love it. And it’s only US$45.
Let me assure you that I’ve gotten a hell of a lot more than $45 of value out of it so far. In fact, I think Scrivener is invaluable considering it saves me a lot of time, helps me organise my research and writing and (thanks to its wonderful syncing feature with Simplenote on the iPad) enables me to continue writing while I’m out and about.
So will Scrivener help you?
If you’re writing a book, hell yes!
Or if you’re writing any long-form document – like a technical manual, screenplay, workbook – then yes. However, if you typically write magazine articles, which I also do, then you probably don’t need to graduate to Scrivener. Word is fine for shorter pieces.
Why do I love it?
It allows you to split your document into various sections, such as different chapters. These can start off as mere ideas but then, as inspiration hits you, you can add to these sections until they become fully formed parts of your manuscript. Depending on the nature of your book, you can move the chapters around, storyboard using “index cards” and view your manuscript in a variety of ways.
You can work on it a section at a time or view the manuscript as a whole. The beauty of Scrivener is that it allows you to take a “macro” approach to your writing, which is great if you are looking at the overall structure of your document. However, you can then deep dive into a “micro” level so that you can work on specific areas.
You can also create sections that are just for your research. This is where I store PDFs, research papers and other chunks of text that I’m going to refer to during my writing. I can label these clearly or move them around simply by dragging and dropping.
After years of working with Word, it got to the stage where I was dreading working on long-forms documents because Word just became so slow and clunky. And the endless scrolling (or searching in different Word files for the section I wanted) was driving me batty.
However, Scrivener frees you from that and I actually look forward to using it. With the book I’m currently working on, I know that using the app has helped me organise my information much quicker than before.
What else can it be used for?
If you’re not an author, you might be wondering why you’re reading this. Well, I’m a businessperson as well. Now that I understand the power of Scrivener, I’m also using it to map out complex projects. I use the drag-and-drop index cards to determine the main parts of the project and store important supporting documents associated with that project as well.
Like I said, I’m not an advertiser of Scrivener in any way. I just think it’s a great tool for writers. And it appears my evangelising is working, with the lovely and talented Tara Moss becoming a recent convert. You can read about that here.
The easiest way to check out Scrivener is to check it out yourself. There’s even a free trial. Check that out here.