I’ve been experimenting with a piece of software for writers called “Scrivener“. It’s got a number of advantages over Microsoft Word for writing a book and I think it will make my process less frustrating. At the bottom I also have a brief discussion about backing up your hard drive.
There are several things I like so far:
- The ability to work on individual documents that I can compile later into a single document. In Word, I’d have to either do individual documents and combine manually or else I’d have to work on a single massive document.
- If I create a long document and then want to break it into individual pieces, that’s easy to do.
- Ideas can be laid out in an outline, in a notebook structure, or on a corkboard with index cards.
- Research can be maintained within the notebook structure, yet kept separate from the writing itself.
- Documents can be moved around, order rearranged, or folders created as groupings change.
- Several types of themes are provided, from fiction to non-fiction to a blank. Each one has some defaults to help start the creative process but are easily changed for my particular needs.
- Outlines can be in a variety of ways or not at all.
I downloaded a free 30 day trial. Scrivener strongly suggested I do the tutorial first and I was glad I did. The tutorial was lengthy and didn’t even cover everything! By the time I started using the software, I’d forgotten most of what I saw. Because I knew what was in the tutorial, I simply left it open and referred to it extensively the first few days.
Some things were not intuitive about Scrivener, such as changing the default font (really, who uses Courier New?). With only a few minutes of searching the forum, I found my answer. I also found another template being shared by a member, based on the Christopher Vogler book, “The Hero Within”. It gave me a lot of ideas for using Scriver even more productively.
I can put Scrivener on as many computers as I want. I can’t cross platforms with my purchase, so I will have to buy a copy for each Windows and Mac if I want to use both computers.
The forum community discusses how to use Dropbox.net to store your files in the cloud for both backup and for access on other computers. Dropbox.net is free, although if anyone is interested in getting an account, please use this link: http://db.tt/M5fbXVIX. Both you and I will get additional free storage for the referral.
Additional space can be purchased on Dropbox if you want to backup your hard drive off-site. I use Carbonite for my back-up. Carbonite is a back-up only and not for rummaging around or going in and out of. Dropbox is made for uploading and downloading and can be used as additional storage space for your computer.
Regardless of what you use, please do regular back-ups of your hard drive. A fellow blogger recently lost years of photos when her hard drive died.
I felt the $40 spent on this was well worth the money for helping me get my arms around my material, lay it out, rearrange it, write it, and keep my work flowing.