Monday, December 3, 2018

Making the Switch

For the last four years, all of my writing has been done in Word. I came from the corporate world so it was familiar to me. As a whole, I like it and I’ve learned how to use certain formatting techniques to make final edits for both e-book and paperback a little easier. Once I was well into this writing gig, I started hearing about writing programs, such as Scrivener. I was intrigued, but I was comfortable with what I knew. I didn’t want to waste time learning a new platform—and what if it made it more difficult to get my books into their final forms? But, I’m a sucker for a good program and so it stayed on my mind. I figured I’d make the switch after I finished my current manuscript so I wouldn’t have to transition in the middle of a project. 

Well, Christmas came early.

No—I haven’t finished the manuscript yet for that book I told you I’d finish by the end of May. But I did finally get a new laptop. I didn’t realize just how much the old one was holding me back. I kinda feel the way I did back when we made the switch from dial-up to WiFi. Oh, hello, Productivity. I’ve missed you.

I figured since I have a new laptop, I might as well go ahead and download Scrivener. Even though I haven’t finished that epic manuscript yet, I plan to learn how to use it through other projects. Such as this blog post. I’ve always written all my blog posts in Word first and then copied them over to the website to post. I did this because my Internet would often crash at random times and I didn’t want to lose all my work. The other reason is I like to keep a record of all my writing and back it up to my external drive. Anyway, I converted my Word document for this blog into a Scrivener project. This is my first use outside of the tutorial, but my first impression is:

One of the things I’m loving so far is that I can split each topic into a document. And each document is sorted into the year that I wrote them. I can now easily go back and see what I’ve written about before. I often look back over my topics to make sure I’m not just regurgitating the same ideas over and over again. Previously, in Word I’d have to scroll through to find the titles. It was doable, but not efficient. And I like efficiency. Some of you are probably yelling at me through your computer screen/phone telling me that I could just filter down to my posts on the blog itself. Yeah, I could, and I have. But remember my computer problem mentioned above? My connectivity was so poor and sporadic that I got used to working off-line until the last possible moment. Now I don’t have to worry about it. It’s all listed on the left side of this screen.

In the screen shot you can see that I also insert notes to myself in my post draft telling me where to insert graphics. Another thing Scrivener allows me to do is drop images or other document types down in the ‘Research’ section. I’m not yet sure if I’ll use that feature for my blog posts, but who knows. At least I can do it if I want to. 

Another thing I think I’m going to love about Scrivener is the way I’ll be able to keep track of ideas for future blog posts. Back up in that screen shot, you can see I created a section called ‘Future Ideas’. I sometimes write a post I won’t need right away. Like I did for my next BJHJ, which won’t be scheduled until sometime in 2019. I had an idea and didn’t want to lose it, so I went ahead and wrote the post now. I don’t know when Steve will put it on my schedule, so here in Scrivener it can sit nice and safe in the ‘Future Ideas’ category until I know. Then I’ll slot it into the 2019 category when my time is up. I sometimes also draft out other ideas that I don’t know if I want to make a topic or not. I’ll keep a draft of the post or outline until I decide. Again, I’m loving Scrivener for helping me keep it all organized. 

Now, my big challenge is do I want to group all my blogs into this one Scrivener project, or do I want to create one for each blog? I see pros and cons for each. There is no wrong answer, and the cool thing is I can play around with it and try it both ways to see what works best for me. 

Oh, and I should mention that the conversion from Word into Scrivener and splitting each post into a new document was super easy. 

Now I’m off to see how easy it is to transfer this document into Blogger. If you see a well formatted post then you know it went off without a hitch :D 

~ Carrie

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