For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been immersed in learning the basics and the various whistles and bells of Scrivener, that flexible writing program that has become quite popular “out there” among folks who write for a living, for a hobby, or for just the fun of it! And, I must say, I’m enjoying every moment of it so far.
Each weekday morning, I log-in to the class site and download the lesson/tutorial that awaits and print out a hard copy. I then read and work through the ten pages or so and add the previously unknown skill to my base and then practice it within my current writing project—editing and revising my NaNoWriMo novel. I wasn’t too sure how that would all work, but I’ve learned how to import the Word document, split it in appropriate chapters or scenes, and add colorful icons and labels for easy reference.
Of course, there's much more that has made the writing and revising process so much easier. The cork board has become an important tool for helping me keep track of characters, plot elements, and what exactly is going on in a particular scene. And it's all right there, easily manipulated and accessed!
I have always wanted to be a more organized writer, and Scrivener definitely allows for that. There is no more need to have an over abundance of files open and trying to work back and forth as one has to do in Word. In Scrivener there is a delightful Split Screen option that makes it so easy to look at one thing while working in another. And even though the text I’m working with was not created within Scrivener, it still is easy to change as needed.
I have even moved writing my blog posts into a Scrivener project. One more fantastic feature is the Composition Mode which allows me to shut out all other distractions. In this mode, it’s just a blank page where I can type my important words and thoughts, and a wonderful background scene of our lake cottage in winter so I'm always in the correct writing mood!
The typewriter scrolling makes it so nice since I’m always in the center of the page. And while I crank out my blog posts, I can quickly look at the “floating” Target and the progress toward reaching the number of words I’ve set as the blog post’s “target.” Since I usually shoot for 500 words per post, I no longer have to guess or estimate just how many words I’ve written or need to add.
The class, Scrivener for Mac, is taught by Gwen Hernandez, who wrote the book Scrivener for Dummies. She has demonstrated great patience thus far in answering questions that we “students” invariably have. She is quite thorough and presents the concepts and functions of the program in a clear way. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve actually employed the majority of things taught these first couple of weeks, and I am eager to do the same with the remainder beginning tomorrow.
I would highly recommend this Scrivener program for anyone who is serious about creating fiction or non-fiction. It’s easy to get a copy of the program, and a free 30-day trial at that, by going to
The price is $45 for the Mac version and $40 for Windows. Thanks to my efforts in this year’s NaNoWriMo, I got it for half price. And I haven’t looked back!