Writing More Productively

My writing was so disorganized. I had chapters made in Word tucked away in folders I forgot. There were characters in my story who’s names I could not remember, forcing me to search through the many pages I had written to find them – a major break in concentration. And yWriter, as much as I like it, is clunky and needs some visual updating.

I was about to resign myself to organizing my characters, scenes, and locations by the very bane of all corporations, Microsoft Excel, when I stumbled upon Scrivener. After watching the introductory video, I was instantly hooked, but, being the perpetual cheapskate that I am, the $40 price tag almost made me click the back button. Then I realized that I would probably be spending that much on cheap Trader Joe’s wine within a month, so I went against my own grain and impulsively bought the damn thing.

It’s great. With this software, created by a writer who knows coding, I can now organize my manuscript, characters, locations, items, histories, and research all in one cBinderconvenient place. This is the Binder and you can see how its organized by cascading folders. I am especially impressed by the ability to import pictures, as you can see at the bottom where I import a pair of pictures about horses, this is because I don’t know the first damn thing about horses other than they are big, smell of farts, and have the terrible habit of trying to bite my ear.

The full screen mode is great for just getting yourself in the mood – the writing mood, mind you, but perhaps a sexual mood too if that’s what you’re into, I don’t judge. This screen will fade out the rest of your computer and leave you alone in your world, provided the kids don’t wake up or the wife reminding you to put the laundry in the dryer.

There is also an option to tile multiple windows, a feature that I have used seldom, but it is helpful every now and again.

It’s also got a handy-dandy name generator that can be narrowed by country of origin, which is great because I am lazy and can only think of a handful of great names, such as Chesty McShortskirt, Towers Petersen, and Clarence Thomas.

Main screen
The main screen allows you to type, view images, and created metadata for all objects in your project.

The Compile feature seems very robust, though I haven’t had the opportunity to really use it as my book is nowhere near completion. It will export the manuscript in paperback, ePub, mobi, and various other formats. I exported the first five chapters of my own book and it created a table of contents with clickable links! And I didn’t even ask it to!

Since I got this, I have become reinspired and have breached the milestone wall of 25,000 words in just a few short weeks. I continually say this, but this is the year when I finally finish that damn book.

Granted, a piece of software will not make a turd into a diamond (though it can be done with enough heat and pressure – I should know. I’m a geologist), but all I want to do is prove to myself that I can write this thing, that I have the discipline and the initiative to see it though.

We’ll see if that $40 was worth it.


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