Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.
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As I wrote last week, I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo and suggested some features of Scrivener to think about using during next month’s writing scramble. I’ve also offered some tips to leverage Scrivener as you organize your outlining efforts. But what other features should you leverage as you prepare? Here are 4 more tips that seem rather small but could make a huge difference in your daily efforts:
1. Work on your layout: the Layout Manager is a way of organizing the visual layout of Scrivener to suit your writing needs. It’s meant to assist you by creating visual sets of features available based on where you are in your project. For beginning development & outlining, you could create a layout that incorporates the Binder and/or the Inspector being turned on. For strictly writing, you could create a layout that has only the editor available in the Scrivenings mode. Later you might progress to another layout for editing. You might incorporate the layouts for your development and rough draft phases to eliminate visual distractions while having just what you need available.
2. Choose your writing backgrounds: you can turning on backgrounds in full-screen mode while you are writing each day. This allows you to see a background of your choice while you write that might offer some inspiration. You may want to change these up regularly so you might gather pictures into one folder so you can set the background as necessary and write with different scenes each day or even change it several times a day. While the Layout Manager does not include this feature, just having a layout set and then going full-screen with a background might be just what you need to keep your productivity at its peak.
3. Set your project goals: I know I’ve hit on this one a few times but setting these goals can really help you know how things are going. Make sure you know what your daily goal is as part of your overall goal for the month using the Project Targets. Set your word target for the project and then daily targets. If you close the project each day then the daily goal will reset. If you close it during the day you need to record your word count from it to track what you’ve done. If you don’t close the project daily you’ll need to use the Reset button at the beginning of each day to get an accurate word-count. Make sure to record you daily totals somewhere – a spreadsheet, a table in your project or in your NaNoWriMo account.
4. Pre-load your Auto-Complete List: this little tool can save you lots of time each day. As a fantasy writer, I have numerous unique character and place names. This varies from writer to writer but for me, having these names – and even terms – set in the Auto-Complete List is a real time-saver and can even help later when editing since all the names and terms will be consistent. I’m loading these in my list each day as I think about what I need. I’ll even keep adding to it after the writing starts. It could really cut your time writing each day as well as reduce your stress. While you shouldn’t be editing during the month, many of us are tempted to correct spelling so this tool can even reduce that temptation which can save you even more time.
Are you in NaNoWriMo yet? If so, what are you doing to prepare? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.
P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.
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