As a writer, and for years as a wanna-be writer, I have always been drawn to writing software. I have downloaded and tried out everything from Word to Write Way to Storyweaver. I looked at Dramatica to WritersBlocks and every other piece of software I came across. I was a software junkie.
But nothing seemed to fit. I am sure it was through no fault of the software developers. Many of these programs looked great and did exactly what they promised. No,it was something in me. I think deep down I kept expecting the specialized software to be so intuitive that it would actually make writing easier.
Well, that was the first problem.
Believing that it gets easier. Not gonna happen! Like anything worth doing, it takes work. And it always will. There is no magic formula, or magic software that will make the entire creative process easier. That is up to me and my muse. It is dependent on the old Butt-In-Chair-Fingers-on-Keyboard formula that writers have been relying on for years.
There is a software program that is so customizable that it can accommodate any writer’s work process – whether they are writing novels, blogs, term papers, or just trying to keep notes for a class organized. It is built to make navigating around large and cumbersome projects easy, searching for the one sentence you know is in there somewhere simple, and formatting the project to meet any conceivable industry standard a piece of cake.
I had heard of it for years, spoken of in reverent tones, and everyone who used it sang its praises. But at the time of my software hopping it was not yet available for Windows, and I did not yet have my Mac. So we were never properly introduced.
When my husband gave me a MacBook Air for my birthday last year, Scrivener was the first bit of software that I downloaded. I opened it up, full of excitement, poked around a little bit and thought hmmm… Not really sure where to start. So, I printed out the ENTIRE MANUAL – all 516 pages of it! Pretty hefty, let me tell you. And, I still wasn’t sure where to start. I watched part of the built-in tutorial but got confused. So I closed it, and kept writing in Word.
Then along came Gwen Hernandez. She is the author of Scrivener for Dummies and she blogs on The Edited Life. She is a Scrivener guru! A master extraordinaire! Last month, I took the plunge and signed up on her website for her Scrivener class. And I am so happy I did!
This program is a wonder. For $40, you get a word processor on steroids that can be molded and shaped into a book formatting machine! If you write linearly, you’re covered. If you want to be able to hop around from scene to scene, you’re covered. If you want to search for each scene where a certain character or setting shows up, you’re covered. If you want to format for any kind of e-book, print book, thesis paper, whatever… you got it – you’re covered. And that is just the beginning…
I will not lie to you – the learning curve is steep. This class has gone a long way towards making me feel more comfortable with navigating around in Scrivener, and I am no longer afraid to try all the bells and whistles it offers. If you are a Scrivener newbie, take Gwen’s class, or buy her book. Don’t let this fabulous tool lie dormant on your computer because you don’t know where to start.
I came across this interview that Gwen did with Joanna Penn of the Creative Penn. They discuss the book and have a well-deserved mini love fest over Scrivener! It is a great introduction and I highly recommend watching if you are on the fence about trying this software. Or, you could head over to Literature and Latte, the creators of Scrivener, and download a trial!
Give it a shot! Your muse will thank you!