Creative Chaos Contained with Scrivener #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

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Thank you Raimey!


I am not the most intuitively organized of persons. Creative? Yes. Clean? Most of the time, but only because I focus really hard to remain that way.

When I write, I often disappear inside my mind and shove out the world to track a story. At least in the time frame I allow myself every day. When I have to stop, it’s painful. When I put down the pen, it’s a fight to remember the emotion in that moment. It’s been a fight to go back and search through the index cards, or the word document I used to use, and even the PAGES App I started out with when I outlined my new work in progress.

However, now I’ve purchased Scrivener for my MAC.

Below is a list of my top five highlights that still make me curl my toes every time I open my saved Scrivener file:

  1. Scenes are like Index cards, but are digital and never fade

I began as a color tabbed index card girl. I love pen and ink the most. But now in Scrivener, I have a binder window with a file tab for each chapter, and within each chapter are note cards listing each scene. The middle pane harbors the writing in that scene. The Synopsis window on the right is the perfect place for bullet lists I used to write out on the flip side of each index card.

  1. Multiple Window Views

At my day job, I have two monitors where I manage all my applications and tool menus. This is not a feasible expense at home, nor do I have the space. As I mentioned above, Scrivener organizes all of my prior notes, outlines and index card methods in one view with multiple screens I can see or expand based on the click of a mouse.

  1. Resource Bank Serves as a Collage Wall

I have always loved idea boards. There is a lovely option in the Binder window where I have idea boards set up for characters and complex scenes which include detailed research articles. I drag and drop pictures into these boards. I copy and paste web research articles as well and quoted notes I need. I used to design notebooks for this purpose. In the interest of time, sometimes I failed to pull them out and use them the way I had intended to. That’s not the case anymore.

  1. Grammar and Spell Check

Last year I purchased Grammarly. It’s a lovely multiple application grammar check. It works for PC’s really well, but I am a MAC girl and it currently isn’t available in Word for the Mac.

  1. Word Count, And Word Goal Tools

I’ve not utilized a word count goal tracker before. Scrivener makes it easy. I select the project drop down menu. Then I go to Project Targets. It allows me to implement the projected target date. It allows me to enter word count goals. It tells me how many days I have left and a graph shows me the progress. It’s fantastic. It’s helped me get up every day and know how many words I need by the end of the week.

True, we all have out writing methods. But in my world I need a seamless process where art meets digital organization. I have no office. I have an island in the kitchen and a lovely new storage cabinet to hide my printer and writing resources. Scrivener holds everything visual I need. I have my idea board, my scene and chapter view, my running words in the center, my organized chaos. My writing area is easier to manage with a clean counter top, a cup of coffee, and my writing prompt guide books I put away at the end of each writing session in my lovely cabinet.

This is my new Scrivener freedom, my newest organizational hero.

Chaos can be organized

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on January 16, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. I never got the hang of Scrivener, but then I think the pen and paper notes actually help me focus. For now, I’ll keep the cards, notebooks, and magazine pictures.

    • Hello Elizabeth! I agree, pen and pen help me focus. I will continue to use them in my initial brainstorming phase. But now I won’t lose them and worry they will fade with time. You have a wonderful method and I think that is what counts 🙂

  2. I’m glad you’ve found a way to make your writing more productive and enjoyable 🙂 Love the Steve Martin quote.

  3. Hello Erika,

    it is always a pleasure to read your posts,and now I now how you make them.Creative mess 🙂 But don’t forget, the universe came out of chaos !

    Keep writing

  4. Louise@DragonspireUK

    Scrivener looks like it would be useful for planning. Glad it’s working so well for you 🙂
    Maybe I’ll cave in and buy it. I’ve been resisting for years because I’ve always been the one with multiple notebooks or word documents, or what I call organised chaos!

    • Hi Lousie. I still will use my note cards because I love touch and the physical aspect of writing helps me explore ideas better then straight typing, but now I can take those notes and enter them all in Scrivener and I don’t have to worry I will lose anything. I think if you have a process that works for you though, that’s really great too. 🙂

  5. It’s great to see you reaping so many benefits from the software. I have never used any app other than MS Word to write my stories but, lately, have been wondering about if I should take more advantage of technology. Perhaps something can shake me into writing every day, as lacking persistence has always been my greatest weakness when it comes to “authoring”. I’ll look into Scrivener to see if it can motivate me to write every day as it seems to do you. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you for stopping in today. I think when we find our grove in whatever routine we develop, it’s easier to keep the motivation going. Scrivener has been a huge time and space blessing for me. Have a lovely rest of your day 🙂

  6. I’ve never tried it, but sounds like it was a perfect fit for you since it offers all the things you were already doing.

  7. Thank you for this! I’ve been waffling back and forth on Scrivner. I’m not sure it would be ideal for the way I write, but this is a lot of good information to help me decide. Thank you!

    • You are welcome Megan. I won’t leave my notecards and Pen behind completely, but at least now I won’t lose a card or wish to rewrite them once I have typed them all into my working Scrivener document 🙂

  8. Good personal experience story with Scrivener. People seem to really love this program.

  9. I tried a very early version of Scrivener, and for some reason, I never went back to it. I think it’s the learning curve of getting used to a new application that worries me, because at the time, it wasn’t super intuitive. You’re making me rethink this though. 🙂 Great post! I’ll share this on Facebook in a couple of weeks.

  10. May I suggest you join the Scrivener Group on Facebook:

    It’s answered all my questions and more. I’m a die-hard Scrivener fan too, and if you use Dropbox with it you’ll always be backed up.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  11. Scrivener is my best friend and worst enemy, lol. I have yet to master all its features. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. I’ve heard such great things about that program. If I wrote more, I’d look into it. I barely use my Dragon Naturally Speaking though.

  13. What’s funny is that my first post for Author Tool Box is about being organized, but in a different way. 🙂 I’m an organization nut, but I’ve never actually tried Scrivener. I’ve heard so much great stuff about it, but I’m reluctant to have to learn something new.

  14. I’m someone else who has yet to get the hang of Scrivener. I use the index cards so I can see my whole manuscript on one page, but that’s about it. I’m always interested in seeing how other people use it so I can take advantage of more of the functions. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Great breakdown of some of the features for Scrivener, Erika. I adore Scrivener and can’t wait for version 2 to come out on the PC. I have both the Mac and PC versions currently as well as having it on my phone and iPad. I can work on my project anywhere and have all the bits and pieces with me. The only sadness is that some of the Mac features are never ported to PC.
    Since I am moving from writing to editing more I am looking forward to utilizing the snapshot feature. It lets you take a “snapshot” of the piece before you start and work on it. If you don’t like your revision you can just revert back to the original quick and easy.

  16. Victoria Marie Lees

    Ah, chaos in the midst of order. Wouldn’t that be nice? I haven’t used Scrivener, Erika, but from all I’ve read, it sounds great. Thanks for the clear breakdown. Wish you all the best in 2018.

  17. I like using Scrivener as well, but am still learning how to use some of the tools. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  18. Okay, you’ve convinced me to set aside my beloved index cards and give Scrivener a chance — great post! The few times that I’ve poked at it, I’ve discovered how marvelous it is NOT

  19. Anything that works! That’s my motto. And I loved the Steve Martin quote.

  20. Oh, I love Scrivener. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made since I started writing.

  21. Sounds like you’ve found your way around Scrivener! Glad to hear you’ve got a tool working for you. 🙂

  22. Ah, what is this resource bank? I can’t find it on my older version. Is it part of the new release which I’ve been meaning to buy after CampNano/AtoZ?

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