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Changing Ways

Deep down in my heart, I used to be a purist writer.  The truest form of writing is taking pen to paper.  In my younger years, it was the only way that my stories took shape.  Over the past two decades, lost worlds of handwritten notebooks collected underneath my bed.  Most will never see the light; a select few have been begrudgingly typed up and stored on various flash drives that litter my desk drawers.

In my mind, if the literary greats like Austen, Poe, and Shakespeare hand wrote everything – why couldn’t I?   Well, the crushing reality is that publications will not take handwritten manuscripts.  It was not until my late teens that I fully converted over to using a writing software (ahem, Word), leaving the world of notebooks behind.

However, the purist in me would not allow myself to be 100% digital.  Outlines, research notes, character descriptions, and such were all hand written, and efficiently organized into binders for ease of reference.  A balance was formed between the actual output being digital and the “R&D” lived on as handwritten.

I thought that this was a good and healthy process, until I outgrew space with binders and my organizational skills slacked when I gained a career.

About a month ago, I was introduced to Scrivener.  Immediately, I balked at the idea of using it.  My purist mind reeled – Austen and the like all handwrote.  To which, the person who introduced me to the new tool replied, “Do you not think that if Austen had this technology, she would use it?”

I was speechless.  That never once crossed my mind.  If Austen or Shakespeare had access to typewriters, they would have surely used it.  If Austen or Shakespeare had access to a computer, they would have used it.  If Austen or Shakespeare had access to Scrivener, they sure as hell would have used it.

So why was I denying myself the pleasure of experiencing the use of an organized writing tool?  I no longer had a valid answer.

On March 23rd, 2014, I signed up for the Scrivener free trial – and instantly fell in love with the tool.  I converted my WiP novel over into Scrivener, and then typed up all of my character bios and research notes into the tool.  It brilliantly and efficiently organized all of my items in a clean UI design, and I was left dumbstruck by the fluidity of the tool.

All these years of my snobbery over being a purist writer lead me to not experience the wonders of all of the writing software programs.  It was pure stupidity on my part (with a splash of ego).

Scrivener has changed my writing life.  No longer do I have to go in search of binders or that random piece of paper that has notes haphazardly scribbled.  I can directly go to my research folder in Scrivener and pull up that piece of information.  My novel is laid out where each chapter is its own little folder and I don’t have to scroll through a 200-page word document to find one single chapter.

I can reorganize or restructure with a click of a button, and have all files everything securely backed up.  My productivity is completely maximized.

The best bonus is the ‘distraction free’ mode, which completely stops me from accessing Skype, Facebook, Twitter, or any of those other Internet attention monsters.

Scrivener was built and designed with the writer in mind.  The entire tool is structured around supporting a writers needs, whether it be writing novels, screenplays, blogs, articles, podcasts, etc.

I am still a beginner with Scrivener and am pretty sure that I have barely scratched the surface of what the tool actually has to offer.

Since the moment I touched Scrivener, I lost my snobby, purist writer title and gained the name: Techy, geek writer


Try Scrivener free for 30 days (and that is 30 use days, not calendar days!!)

Mac OS: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

Microsoft Windows: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php?platform=win

9 thoughts on “Changing Ways

  1. Ooooh, Amanda. I want to hear more, please. If I were to meet you at a cocktail party (we would both look fabulous, btw) and asked, “What exactly is Scrivener?”…WHAT would you say?

    • At a fabulous cocktail party and talking about writing (and Scrivener) sounds like my kind of fun!

      Well, I would say that Scrivener is the writer’s digital notebook. It contains absolutely everything that I need to efficiently organize ALL of my writing, from blog posts to short stories to novels. I have dabbled with other writing tools in the past, like Evernote and Storybook, but they just completely turned me off and made me retreat back to Word. They did not offer any more organized functionality that I could already get with Word – so why pay extra?

      Scrivener literally knocked me off my feet during the first use. The basic functionality quite intuitive and easy to figure out. Also, I just cannot say enough about the clean UI (and for working in software development – that is something that I highly regard).

      Scrivener was created with the writer and the writing process in mind!

      • That was a FABULOUS cocktail party response. Thanks, Amanda. I’ll definitely look into Scrivener and let you know what I think!

    • You know I am usually not pushy when it comes to influencing a writer’s writing style – but I personally thing you would love this.

      Oh, and I still haven’t 100% given up handwriting. Escaping to a coffee shop with a moleskine is my Zen. I can only sit so long in front of a computer before I become restless!

  2. I’m a big Scrivener fan. I know that I’m probably not using all of it’s features, but I’m using what works for me and learning as I go. You absolutely nailed it with What Would Austen, Poe, and Shakespeare Do? Embrace technology; it can only empower us to become better writers.

  3. I know I’m in a very tiny minority, but I don’t like Scrivener. I think I got so used to MS Word that I just cannot get used to dealing with Scrivener’s many options. I still have a good number of days left of my trial, SSSI maybe I can experiment more with it with my next book’s first draft.

    • Have you tried the latest version of Scrivener (v2.0)? I think it just recently released. It is a lot better than the previous version. I disliked the earlier versions and clung fast to Word.

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