There are so many ways that Scrivener helps me as a writer and it’s hard to narrow down the most important. I’ve already shared 8 ways it improves my writing experience on a daily basis. But since the time I wrote that post I’ve begun using Scrivener more heavily. Here are 8 features of Scrivener that have dramatically impacted my writing.
1. The Binder – it’s an obvious choice but the Binder is so incredibly effective a feature in Scrivener. The ability to re-structure a large project is huge. Just grasping this in other software like Word used to be monumental, if no monolithic. Now I just drag as many folders or document-scenes around to a new location as necessary within a few minutes. Then I only have to do some re-writing to smooth out the changes.
2. The Inspector bar is laden with so many useful tools it’s hard to cover them all in one blog post. The list is long for the all the tasks that can be addressed in this feature. They are all meant to help a writer track, document, reference and enhance the writing process.
3. Snapshots – this is actually part of the Inspector but I single it out as an important way to manage different versions of content. Do a snapshot before you make major changes and you can easily revert back to another version you prefer or need. I recommend using it before making any large-scale change in a project in case you make mistakes or delete something.
4. Collections – I recently wrote a series of posts on this multi-function tool. It has been a useful aspect of Scrivener for making structural changes where I need to write more scenes or edit for style. I can select specific folder or documents to add to the collection, work with it and remove each part as I complete them until I’m done with the mini-project. Very handy, especially when you consider you can use it in other ways – like compiling a manuscript.
5. Document templates – I find this most useful for my year-long blog project. I have different types of posts so I have a different templates to use for each one. I can update each template as changes occur throughout the year and all my new posts will have that without having to add the content by other means (by typing it out or doing a copy paste).
6. Project Templates – I can create a template for projects like short stories, my year-long blogging, a book, book reviews, newsletters, my blog tours and promotions as well as managing my overall writing. Each template is specialized to what the project is and they can be updated as necessary to reflect my changing needs.
7. The Layout Manager – this is really a cool feature to me. I can setup specific layouts for different types of writing tasks based on the stage of my project. If the project is new and in development, then I can have certain features turned on. Once I move to a new stage all I have to do is change to a different layout that I’ve created and transition into the new phase seamlessly where some parts of Scrivener are turned off and others are visible.
8. The Scratchpad – you don’t hear a lot about this feature but I’ve written about it before. It’s found on the Tools menu and lets you write notes and insert the test to other parts of the project within which you are working or even to another project you may have open. For instance, I often have several projects open at a time and I may come up with an idea for another in which I’m not currently working. I can use the Scratchpad to write the note and insert it into a specific folder or document in the same project or another open project. I especially do this while journaling since that’s where I may generate a variety of ideas. I can journal it and then transfer the notion elsewhere using the Scratchpad.
That’s all for this list but I think these cover the bases well. Everything in Scrivener is designed to help writers write intuitively, fluidly and effectively. There’s no wasted effort once you’ve learned the software to any degree. You don’t waste time creating all the environment you need to write – you set it up and then you are able to start writing without worrying about all the details – and that’s the best feature of all.
Just as a reminder – my Scrivener posting schedule is changing to Friday’s to accommodate several writing events during September as well as the release – most of which occur on a Mondays. So I’ll be back next Friday with more Scrivener goodness. Until then, you are welcome to check back on other posts here as well as my writing news.
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