When an old friend asks…

One Good Thing…

It’s time for the weekly  post of a feature I’ve chosen to title “One Good Thing.” Each weekend, I’ll post something about what has been good to—or for—me during the week. 
Scrivener talk

Earlier this week, a writer friend asked me what I thought about the writing program Scrivener and if I thought she should try it out or not. And since I enjoy sharing things about Scrivener, I realized that I had my One Good Thing to share with everyone.

Yes, I have written about Scrivener in the past, and about how much I really feel comfortable using it to do all of my writing (blog posts, short stories, novels). Although in the beginning I wasn’t too sure about it due to my comfort level in using Word for all things writing.

Plus, like anything else that is vast and complex, there is a pretty fair amount of time required to invest in understanding Scrivener. Like so many others who became frustrated and overwhelmed by it, I thought I had to know everything about it in order to make it work for me.

Consequently, because I was unsure about most things about it, my grasp of the powerful writing program was nearly nonexistent, even though there’s a pretty good tutorial built into the program. In short, I was ready to forget the whole idea and scurry back to the familiar world of Word.

Fortunately, before giving up completely, I found Gwen Hernandez’s Scrivener for Dummies, followed by her online courses in Scrivener “basics,” and things began to look less daunting and frightening! A simple truth revealed itself, finally: One need not use every feature of the program to accomplish one’s writing goals! 

After using Scrivener for four years now, I still use very few of the wide array of wonderful features or parts of it. What’s good for me, may not be good for another. And various things others find useful in their writing may not be good for my needs.

And that’s one of the real strengths of Literature & Latte’s Scrivener: One can pick and choose and put to use any parts that make writing work for him or her.

Here are some of the Scrivener features I like and use most often:

  • “Compose mode”-Allows me to write without distractions.
  • Binder organization-I can move scenes or chapters around as I see fit.Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.50.39 PM.png
  • Writing Progress Targets-I can set a desired word count “target” and will be notified whenever the word count is reached.
  • Compiling-Although it’s a bit tricky to understand and fully use without some really good guidance from folks like Gwen Hernandez, it’s a very powerful way to get my work formatted and “out there” in the form I want to publish. (E-book, paperback, etc.)

I learned a long time ago that whatever makes one comfortable in the creative process is the best regimen to follow. Some like to write things out longhand or use an old typewriter or voice their words or type away using one of the zillions of writing programs available.

Whatever mode best helps one get to the finish line of a piece of writing is the best mode for that person. As for me, I’m most comfortable with Scrivener, and I’m always happy to have the opportunity to talk about things I like. Glad my old friend asked me about it this week!

Until next time, that’s one good thing!


14 thoughts on “When an old friend asks…

  1. I took one of Gwen’s courses too, and it was hugely helpful. I printed out all her lessons so I have the binder ready when I need to look something up. There’s still much I don’t take advantage of in the program, but I know where to look if I need to.

    1. I think we all are of the same mind when it comes time to hanging on to, and printing out, Gwen’s lessons. I find myself referring to them quite often. Hope your weekend is a good one. 🙂

  2. Like Carrie, I took one of Gwen’s courses and have the lectures in a binder. Now, to find the time to work with it. I’ve got the program and have yet to utilize it…sigh…
    I hope your trip to NC isn’t in the next few days, Mark. They’re predicting an ice storm on Monday.

    1. Thanks, Jill. We won’t be heading to NC until Friday, February 26. Usually, our biggest weather issues are just getting out of Illinois! Maybe this year that will all change. At any rate, we’re looking forward to the typically mild climate that weekend, with lots of stuff blooming! It will be good to get away for a few weeks. 🙂

  3. Yes, I’m another one of those that became frustrated and overwhelmed by using scrivener, I have a pdf on my computer about using it, most likely out of date now, must have another look and see if I can use it to write my book.
    Happy days writing.

  4. Very timely, Mark as one of my aims for this week is to get back to my NaNo novel (& Scrivener!). I downloaded it at Christmas and bought ‘Scrivener for dummies’ but I’m so dumb that the dummies book is a challenge! Must persevere though. Interesting to read that you use it for short stories too. Must give it a go! Where do you find the online courses? You Tube?

    1. Mary, Sounds as though you have everything you need to get going with Scrivener! Below is the URL for Gwen’s website–the part that lists her various courses, etc. She will definitely put you at ease and get you up and running comfortably in a short while! As I wrote, I write my blog posts, short stories, and novels in Scrivener. As always, I’ll be glad to help you, too. 🙂

  5. I’ve heard a lot about Scrivener and I am almost tempted to buy it, was great to read about someone who has been using the program successfully for such a long time! (I’m quite content in word for the moment though)

    1. Hi, Millie. Word is definitely good, but Scrivener works better for the things I need to do, such as being able to move about among chapters/scenes quickly and not having to scroll through one long Word file. But whatever one is “content” with, is what’s best for him or her. Glad you checked in. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

      1. This is exactly why I need scrivener, being able to move through chapters easily/efficiently would be golden! Just need to get off my backside and go ahead and give it a go 🙂 Thanks for the motivation!

      2. Well, there you go. Another neat thing about Scrivener is its 30-day free trial that only counts those days when you open it. I suggest you download it from Literature & Latte and work through the nice tutorial that’s easy to follow. Then, if your interest is raging and totally out of control, take a Scrivener class through Gwen Hernandez. They’re inexpensive but very worthwhile. And I don’t get paid a cent from either Literature and Latte or Gwen for promoting this! Let me know how it goes. 🙂

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