It's my delight to welcome Gwen Hernandez as the first HTWF Guest Blogger. Gwen is the author of Scrivener For Dummies (Aug 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.), and the teacher of popular online Scrivener classes for Mac and Windows. Before she started using Scrivener to tap her right brain for tales of romance and suspense, she worked as a computer programmer, business school instructor, and manufacturing engineer. Learn more about her book or classes, and get free Scrivener tips, at www.gwenhernandez.com.
Looking for ways to be a more productive writer? Consider Scrivener. This writing software—available for both Mac and PC—not only lets you write the way that works best for you, it also provides some handy features for motoring through your manuscript at top speed.
What do you do when you’re in the writing flow and you suddenly realize you need to change something two chapters back, or you have a great new idea for the ending twist? Don’t stop your momentum by going off to work on those other sections.
I create a file within my project that I call Change Log. When inspiration strikes, I jot a few notes in the Change Log and then get back to what I was working on. Not only does this keep me moving forward, but I find that many times I end up changing my mind about the “great idea” later, so waiting to make the change saves me even more time since I don’t have to undo it if a better idea comes along.
If you come to a section of your story and realize you don’t have the information you need, or you just can’t seem to get the words right, don’t stare at it for three hours. Add an annotation—a colored bubble of text that stores notes and reminders right within the text—and move on. Alternatively, you can add a comment, which creates a colored link to a word or phrase, and shows up in the Inspector instead of embedded in the text. You can use the Formatting Finder to easily search for annotations later.
To track your progress within a single document, use a document target. This is handy if you have a minimum scene length, or are working on an article or story with a specified word count requirement.
Do you find the main Scrivener interface distracting? Try working in Composition mode (called Full Screen in the Windows version). Not only does this calming view block out the busy-ness, you can choose your favorite background color, and (currently on Mac only) even add a background image.
Scrivener can also help you keep your research at your fingertips. No more searching through stacks of printouts or trying to find the right Internet bookmark. Simply import documents you refer to regularly into the Research folder in your project. For websites that you frequent while writing, you can add a Reference so you can quickly open the site when you need it.
Those are just a few of the many ways Scrivener can increase your writing productivity. Got questions? Ask away. I’ll check in throughout the day to answer them. Thanks to Peter for having me today!