Tech Tuesday: My Super Experience With Scrivener!

Scrivener Cork Board

Screenshot of the Scrivener “cork board” which allows you to organize your writing  

Growing up I always had pen and paper in hand.  I’d sketch out newspaper templates, and would write amusing articles for my family’s enjoyment.  As I grew older, the pen was replaced by a typewriter.  In my Sophomore year at Elsinore Union High School, I was given the opportunity to write for The Rancho News, where I’d cover the happenings at our local high school for the community newspaper.

What Motivates Miss Rancho-Temecula Contestants?

One of my first newspaper articles, published in The Rancho News

By 15, I was taken on as a paid, freelance reporter.  Toting my 35mm camera, I’d cover stories such as the design of the Riverside County Emergency Medical Services (the predecessor of 911), area floods, and how the gas crisis of 1979 was affecting Temecula residents.   My first paycheck was a whopping $18.37, but I was in heaven – getting paid for something I LOVED!  My dream was to become a photojournalist, but in the end, I decided to be practical chose the nursing profession- it pays the bills!  But I digress.  :-)

I have some opportunities for writing projects at work as a healthcare executive, but most of my pen-and-paper (okay, word processor) outlets are enjoyed at home.  Enter Scrivener!  From Literature & Latte, the producers of this cool software application:

“Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.”

I first learned of Scrivener as Lisa Alzo discussed her favorite writing tools as a guest speaker on Geneabloggers Radio.  I’m still playing with the trial version of Scrivener (it gives you 30 non-consecutive days to test-drive it before deciding if you wish to pay the reasonable $40 purchase price), but I’m pretty sure this is the tool that is going to help me write “The Wasgatt Book.”    What I like best:

  • You can organize your notes and your media in separate folders which can be referenced as you write your draft.  No more switching between multiple files, programs and databases!
  • Electronic “index cards” allow you to create a synopsis that can be organized.
  • Customized labels allow for color-coding.  I’ve selected a color for each of Thomas and Margaret (Davis) Wasgatt’s eleven children, allowing me to focus on each line of descent individually.
  • Items can be tagged; for example, my index cards above all show “to do,” allowing me to see where I am in the writing process.
  • “Scrivener Links” that create a split-screen; you can view a document in the bottom of your screen while completing your draft in the window above.  Great for referencing PDFs, images, or other documents within in your file!
Scrivener Split Screen

Creating a “Scrivener Link” allows you to view another document within your file while working on your text

I am barely scratching the surface of Scrivener’s many features and abilities in this brief intro, as I’m still quite a neonate in my usage.  However, the software is very intuitive while still providing sophisticated tools to help with your research/writing project, no matter how large or small.  Check out Literature & Latte for more info.  Happy writing!


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