Hello to all the Story Empire readers. PH here today, getting ready for Thanksgiving! No, this isn’t a themed post. Instead, I’m here to help anyone out there who needs a start with Scrivener and just can’t figure out what to do with it.
I’ve seen several comments from other writers over the last few years which indicates they have Scrivener but just didn’t know where to begin. I understand the feeling. When I first started with Scrivener there was so much to learn and I needed to do other work that I didn’t have time to learn it. It wasn’t until I read several posts in which other authors described how they used Scrivener that I began to understand its power.
Why the confusion and reluctance in engaging with Scrivener?
It is fundamentally different from just using a text editor. It is a robust development software for an entire writing project. We’re used to just sitting down and typing in Word all the things that we are developing, creating any number of files and trying to track all the details somehow. But once you develop a project in Scrivener or convert an existing project into it you begin to understand just what you can do and how it benefits you. The important point is to take the time to learn the software somehow. There are great how-to videos as well as lots of reading material that help with Scrivener. It also comes with an interactive tutorial you can easily access by clicking on Help, then Interactive Tutorial.
But why start using it today? There’s no time like the present to make the transition. If you have a writing project that needs starting why not make that the point where you begin learning Scrivener? Why else should you begin in the middle of a busy schedule? You will learn through usage and then understand the power the design of this software brings to writers. Here’s 5 good reasons to make the change from Michael Hyatt.
Where to Start
It’s as easy as this: Open Scrivener and click File => New Project to show the New Project Window. Here’s a screenshot with the built-in Fiction template selected:
Choose the category for your writing on the left and then what it will be on the right. It’s not pictured here, but below all this just type in the name of your project and then browse to the folder on your computer where you will store the project just like in Word. Click the save button and you have a new project ready to go.
The main two features to understand in Scrivener are the Editor and the Binder. The Editor has much the same feel as any other popular word processing software so this is a familiar place to start. The features are similar in the most basic way so anyone can start typing words into a document and make progress quickly. Seriously, it’s not that different in nature to what you use that it will keep you from writing. It’s all the other development tools that really bolster your writing and those can be learned as you go.
The Binder is a feature which appears on the left of the Editor. It can be turned off and on from the View menu. Slide your cursor to Layout and click the check-mark off or on at Binder. What appears is a graphical interface that allows you to add folders and documents to your project by right-clicking on the project and choosing what you want to create. You can click and hold a folder or document to move it around. The Binder is simple and allows you to manage the structure of your project in a way that’s easy to see.
What else should you learn? After you’ve understood the Editor and Binder, learn more about how to manage projects, project templates and document templates. Just knowing what you can do with these elements gets you much further along. Try to find authors who write what you do and find out how they use it. Once I found how other fantasy authors use Scrivener to develop and track details of a fantasy world it really helped me develop and track my projects better. Likewise, other bloggers who use Scrivener have developed templates for organizing your whole blogging year. It’s a bigger scope creative tool but it makes writing much simpler by allowing you to spend more time being creative.
What keeps you from trying Scrivener? What ways do you want to improve your writing process? Leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as I can.
Please note that I cannot support licensing issues or software errors so please contact the software vendor, Literature & Latte for those kinds of inquiries.