Scrivener: A Program to Write With

For the first time in a few days I got the opportunity to write uninterrupted for a few hours, while my wife watched Secretariat on Netflix. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy being with my wife, but it was good to be able to write down some thoughts that have been stirring in my head over the past couple of weeks. Being a writer it is hard sometimes to keep ideas in your head for long, and if you don’t write them down within a reasonable amount of time they can often leave your brain hemorrhaging.

Not sure why, but I was created to write. Not sure the full reason why I write, but it has been a passion that has been with me since I was a kid. I always loved pulling a book off the shelf, even before I could read to stare at the words. Though my day job has nothing to do with writing. I am a web designer/developer by trade. If you think that is odd, then you’re not the only one because so does my family, and anyone I’ve met on a job interview. Having to read my degree on the page has made many wonder if it was a typo, or whether I even know what I am talking about.

In the past few weeks I have come to the conclusion that i need to take my writing more seriously. So I have been using a program on my Mac is that is quite literally growing on me, called Scrivener. I would recommend this program to anyone that considers themselves a writer and wants to get serious. It runs $45 dollars, but you can use it to write screenplays, short stories, poetry, documentation, or your next book.

No matter what you want to write Scrivener allows your creative juices to flow, and gives you many different avenues to write. Though I think that the most crucial feature of the program is that it takes all the formatting work out. Sure formatting is important when it comes to submission, but it doesn’t matter when you’re writing. Scrivener in simple terms allows you to write, either in a tiny window or in full-screen mode, which blanks out all the distractions on your screen to leave a writer space to write. When I found this program I was amazed that the greatest feature about it was the fact that it gave me back the freedom to write without having to worry about formatting. Having used Microsoft Word, and Notepad for years to write I found those program lacking because all my notes were either in separate documents, or on different pages which didn’t allow me to find things easily. With Scrivener I can write notes on cards, and then compile those cards into a scene or notes for technical book that I am writing quickly without having to copy and paste them into a new document. Plus I can keep all my notes, images, research, and ideas for different writing projects in different project files neatly without having to resort to massive folder structures were often times I lose precious writing time.

There might be other writing programs out there though I have found few programs that make it easier to write without having to learn the program your using. And being an iPad user I have found Scrivener a great way to sync my work when I am not at a computer. For example, I sync all my ramblings on DropBox, then connect using the PlainText app on my iPad, so that when I get home all my notes that I was writing on the road are synced and ready for me stitch together. While I wish there was a native Scrivener iPad app so I could sync my Mac at home with my iPad on the go, I am content to say that the solution I have now works wonderfully. Besides working in a plain text environment removes all the distractions of having to style everything when my inner designer gets in the way.