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Scrivener! The Writer’s Best Friend

17 Apr

I suppose one of the advantages to the new reality of first-time authors having to self-publish is that it forces us to learn so much about writing and publishing in general. For example, to learn more about marketing self-published books, I turned to Michael Hyatt’s modern classic PLATFORM – Get Noticed in a Noisy World. I learned that Mr. Hyatt uses Scrivener as his exclusive writing software / app.

Mr. Hyatt lists five reasons as to why he made the switch to Scrivener:

1. It provides a hierarchical file structure. I like this aspect of Scrivener, too, as I naturally tend to organize documents this way. For a simple example, think of a book, with its underlying chapters forming a hierarchy. The file structure of Scrivener can be exactly matched to your book’s structure, which, hopefully, has already been flushed out in the process of writing your book proposal. I’ve done this with Scrivener for my nascent Book Two:

My 2nd "child," in utereo

My 2nd “child,” in utereo

2. It has a distraction-free composition mode. Ultimately, a writer has to write. Scrivener’s composition mode is about as close to having nothing but a blank sheet of paper in front of you as you can get:

No distractions, so just write

No distractions, so just write

3. It was created with writers in mind. Scrivener has so many useful features, and you can use as few or as many as you would like. Some of these are:

– It organizes each project (i.e., a book) as a separate binder.
– It has helpful views besides basic writing, such as a cork board with file summary notes or an outline view.
– You can keep research articles (text, photos, etc.) together in a binder. For a non-fiction writer such as I, this is a significant feature.
– You can split your screen. Thus, I can view a research article (maybe a newspaper article, for example) while I am writing about it in the other half of the screen. Or, I can view footnotes in the 2nd screen as I peruse the main document.
– It has the stats a writer would want access to (e.g., word counts).
– It has an “inspector window where I can keep notes, track status, link to articles, or even create custom meta data.” (Hyatt)

What a great way to organize your writing

What a great way to organize your writing

4. It supports multi-markdown. According to Hyatt, this feature allows us as writers to separate the content creation phase (i.e., the writing) from the formatting, with Scrivener doing much of the work for us.

5. It allows for a variety of export options. This is potentially exciting for self-published authors, as Scrivener allows you to export directly to Kindle, iBooks Author, ePub, or PDF formats. This alone might make Scrivener worth its price of admission.

Hyatt mentions that he still uses Evernote as his main information warehouse, but that he does all his writing with Scrivener. I use both Evernote and Pocket for writing-relating information storage, and, as I am still relatively new to Scrivener, I am going to have to see how to work the relationship between these apps.

Think you might be interested in Scrivener? Check out the 10 minute An Introduction To Scrivener video.

If you’re interested, also note that Hyatt’s article says you can get a 20% discount by using his affiliate code MICHAELHYATT when purchasing it. Since it is now on sale for $45, the MICHAELHYATT discount code would reduce the price by $9, for a cost of $36. My preliminary use of Scrivener suggests that it is the real deal for serious writers, and I think that $36 is a fair price for a useful piece of software.

I’ve heard of other writings apps, such as the $100 Snowflake for the Snowflake Method, but have not used them.

From what I’ve seen so far, I wish I had had Scrivener to write Book One with, and I am certainly glad that I have it for Book Two. I’ll keep you updated as I get more familiar with Scrivener. For the record, I have no commercial interest with Scrivener; I bought my copy. (Scrivener is available for both Mac and Windows.)

The Fantastic Quotes of Edward Gibbon

3 Feb
My man Eddie

My man Eddie

This is going to be a fun post.

I was an avid reader as a kid. It started with Mom teaching me to read with the slightly Eurocentric Dick and Jane.

The land that multiculturalism forgot

The land that multiculturalism forgot

Around grade 3, it turned to boys’ mysteries and adventures such as Brains Benton, adventures which I shared with the protagonist boys and treasure to this day.

Brains blows the Hardy Boys right out of the water!

Brains blows the Hardy Boys right out of the water!

Grade 5 saw me find H.G. Wells classic “The Time Machine” in my school library.

How to engage a grade 5 boy's mind!

How to engage a grade 5 boy’s mind!

By junior high school, it was golden age science fiction and epic fantasy. I still recall being enthralled by Tolkein’s “Silmarillion” in grade 9, and I rather enjoyed the Shakespeare comedies that we studied in high school English class, along with provocative science fiction such as simpler works by Ayn Rand.

The standard by which all epic fantasy is judged

The standard by which all epic fantasy is judged

When I hit university, what became important was the caliber of the writing and the mind behind the writing, more than the genre. I got into the Easten Press’s “100 Greatest Books” program before the 90s military pay freezes, the Canadian dollar tanking, and the cost of raising a family put an end to it. (If you’re into great books and great minds, you’ll probably enjoy jrbenjamin’s blog. I do.)

One additional set of books that I bought from Easton Press that I have never had the chance to fully read (got through most of Book One before the kids and the rest of life interfered) is Edward Gibbon‘s classic of the Enlightenment Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Worth their weight in gold

Worth their weight in gold

My goodness, but Gibbon had a beautiful mind. One is best advised to have a dictionary at hand when reading him.

Gibbon’s work will be a major foundational element in the sequel to my current book. To introduce him to you, I thought we would look at some of his more famous quotes. To make it fun, I am introducing a poll. It asks which Gibbon quote you like best. The results will form the basis of a new post.

Enjoy: