Scrivener is a writing program for the Mac. I’ve just learned it is also in Beta for Windows, as well as a new OSX Lion version for Mac. Several writers I know have likened it to OneNote. I’ve used OneNote and for me the programs are entirely different. That may be a personal thing. By that I mean it may be the way I used OneNote and not anything about OneNote itself. With that in mind, I thought I’d tell you why Scrivener is the app that got me to switch – kicking and screaming and still reluctant after three years – to a Mac.
I am not by nature a tidy person. Give me a piece of paper today and unless I literally pin it to the wall, it will be lost in a whirl of papers by the end of the week. It’s frustrating and I have gone to great lengths and through remarkable feats of creativity to have this not be the case. But it is. Repeatedly.
I am not by nature a person who works in one place. I roam from room to room and work wherever it is quietest at any given time. I used to keep my papers in portable files and lug them around with me but that got old – fast – when I began work on a book with thousands of pages of documents and scores of very big and dusty books.
I am by nature a person who works on more than one thing, at differing stages for each project, at one time. I’ll be doing preliminary research for one. Tracking down primary sources for another. Completing a draft for another. You get the picture. And it may be a while until I cycle back through.
I am by nature a person who hates to lose things. When I can’t find something it doesn’t just ruin my day and waste by time, it produces a sort of blue melancholy that can best be described as a mini-pity-party. As anyone who writes is well aware, there is not time for pity parties, mini or otherwise, in our jammed days.
Being a person who hates to lose things, works wherever it is best at that moment, and yet is not tidy – and lacks sufficient wall space for all my important papers – it became necessary to find a solution. A foolproof solution.
I have it on my laptop and my desktop. I keep the working file up in the “cloud” and bring it down to where I am when I need it. Find a pdf of an out of print book on Google Books? Not a problem. I download it and bring it right into Scrivener. There’s a website I absolutely must remember for this project? Forget adding it to the 2,469 bookmarks I already have. I link it to Scrivener where the page is saved with the link intact so I can go to it from within Scrivener. Photos? Into Scrivener. Interview notes? Scrivener. Anything else? There’s a way to have it incorporated into Scrivener.
Once it’s in Scrivener, I can search and anything in any form that meets the criteria is identified. Nothing is ever lost. It’s all in one place. I can organize it different ways. I can make notes on it in different ways.
It’s the equivalent of one big wall.
And it’s tidy!