I recently purchased a program called Scrivener. I’m not going to lie to you, at first I only downloaded it because it seemed to be the “in” thing to use for writing if you’re a writer. So I thought I’d give it a shot since it comes with a 330-day free trial which is determined by 30 days of actually using it.
I opened it up back in February, took a look around, couldn’t make heads or tails of how one uses this. I didn’t really care to read the 500-page tutorial to learn how to either. There’s something kind of ironic about how complicated it is to learn how to use something that’s supposed to save you time and make writing easier and faster.
OK, I’ll admit I watched the basic starter’s tutorial videos on YouTube and finally overcame any doubts about using it. And I’m glad I did. I prefer writing with Scrivener over other writing software, bar none — that even includes the Mac version of Word, and Pages, which to date I had been considering far superior to Word.
A few of my writing friends or other bloggers have asked me what exactly is the big deal with Scrivener, or what makes it better than Pages. Well, it makes such a complete difference in organizing and working through the writing process. Especially if you’re writing large documents, like a book or a major research project. Being able to compile all my sub-articles or chapters all into one place — and by that I mean the document itself, not a bunch of documents in a folder — has been a huge time saver. Especially instead of scrolling up and down through a long document or opening up a bunch of different files in the same folder.
Made By Writers For Writers
Scrivener is basically an ‘all-in-one’ writing app created by writers for writers. Like I said, it can appear really complicated at first and be challenging to use, but trust me, it’s worth learning how to get the hang of it and in almost no time at all, it becomes second nature to you. It’s like getting the hang of using a Mac when you’re used to using PCs for years. At first, it seems daunting, but then after a while, you realize how great it is.
When you open Scrivener you are presented with a Project Templates window pane. The software comes with a number of pre-designed formats built-in. In the Getting Started window you also have access to an Interactive Tutorial, User Manual and Video Tutorials to help get you started.
When you’re finished you can compile your writing all into one file and export or compile it to many different types of files. If it’s ready, you can even compile it and convert it directly to epub and mobi formats, depending on the eReader you’re publishing for. Frankly, I’m seeing how using this for writing is saving me tons of steps in my process of writing.
The only downside is you can’t do that with Pages, which is the Mac equivalent of Microsoft Word. That’s the ONLY drawback I can think of since I’ve spent the last two years or so writing much of my content and Kindle drafts in that format. But since I’m usually exporting from Pages to Word for the sake of my friends and proofreader, it’s convenient to be able to do that directly from Scrivener.
I also have been using the ‘corkboard’ layout to take my chapters and make them appear as index cards on a board. You can also label things however you want and see your progress with stamps posted across the cards. Or you can view your whole document in an outline mode and see the progress you’re making on each section or chapter of your work.
Suffice it to say, I’m hooked.
They have both Mac and PC versions, and costs either $45 or $40 depending on your operating system.
Dec 30th/2013 Edit: I’ve since gone ahead and become a reseller for Scrivener. If you use any of the links on my page to purchase it, I will get a small commission.
Michael Hyatt’s 5 Reasons He Switched to Scrivener