Archive for the ‘Scrivener’ Category

We’ve had a good run, but it’s time to say goodbye. I never used you as an actual writing program; I merely copied what I’d written in other programs and apps and pasted them in to you. So I was only using you as a place to store all my writings.

My first mistake was configuring you to use Dropbox. I wanted to be able to access you across all my devices. But that created a problem: when I launched you, Dropbox had to sync before you would open. And when I’ve got an idea for an article or story, 2 minutes is too long to wait.

So I deleted you from my laptop, after deciding that I’m never going to own a Macintosh, desktop or otherwise.

Instead, I’ve moved all of my files into Evernote.

Why Evernote?

  • Because I can install it on all 3 of my devices—laptop, iPhone, and iPad—and it will synchronize across all 3 of them.
  • Because I can fine-tune my settings to a degree that Scrivener never approached.
  • Because it has a smaller footprint, loads faster, and in general just does a better job of what I want it to do.
  • Because even if I leave my devices at home, I can access it on the web via the nearest computer.

Still, it Hurts

It hurts because Scrivener has been a good friend for the past couple of years. And like any other friend, it hurts to say goodbye.

But nothing lasts forever, right? Just as we outgrow certain friends, so it is with computer applications. And I’ve simply outgrown Scrivener.

An Aside

QUESTION: What’s the difference between an app and a program?
ANSWER: There isn’t any. Software publishers decided that “app” sounded sexier than “computer program,” and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

    Consider this an experiment. I’m creating this document in Scrivener, then I’m going to copy/paste it into Medium and see if it retains my formatting.

    The Problem

    Do I rely on technology too much? Right, I know this is a strange forum for discussing technology, when one considers that without technology this forum wouldn’t even exist.

    But here’s my problem:

    I access Medium—at varying times of thee day and depending on my location and mood—either by my laptop, my iPhone, or my IPad. I find my laptop gives me better control over formatting—not to mention a greater source of images—than the other two options. But I don’t usually use the laptop until I’ve been up and functioning for a few hours. Instead, my default device is my iPhone. Yes, it’s easier to type on the iPad’s larger keyboard, my my iPad is a few generations old, and is rather slow. And I get impatient as I wait for my tea water to boil so I can brew my first cup of soothing, calming tea.

    So the iPhone it is. It’s much newer than the iPad—it’s a 6S Plus that’s a little over a year old, so it still is fast enough—and it handles the latest updates to iOS without blinking. But I’m really unhappy with the lack of formatting options on the iPhone through the Medium app. And I’m not above admitting that it may very well be the ID Ten T at the keyboard. (Write it down and you’ll see it becomes ID10T.)

    Enter Scrivener

     
    I’ve been using Scrivener for well over a year now, and I’ve never bothered to truly delve into all of its secrets and wonders. Rather than using it to compose my writing—mostly blog posts—I create and edit everything in Open Live Writer, then copying them to Scrivener, which serves as an archive. But I’ve recently decided to get my money’s worth out of Scrivener and use it as it was mean to be used: to create, edit, and save one’s writings.

    So this is the first test. As I said, I’m doing everything in Scrivener, then I’ll see how well it it transfers into Medium.

    Well, THAT sucked. A simple copy/paste lost all of my formatting. And no, a Google search didn’t yield a Medium-specific editor.

    So it’s back to the drawing board.

    I’ll keep you posted.

    Literature and Latte have just released the iOS version of Scrivener. I’ve touted the wonders of Scrivener elsewhere (here and here), and while I still use it extensively, I no longer use 750 Words. I still think it’s a valuable service, but I’ve moved all of my writing to Scrivener. I use Jarte for quick notes, which I later import into Scrivener, but all of my blogs are done in Open Live Writer and then copied to Scrivener. And now that I have Scrivener on my iPad, I’ll be reversing the process and doing everything in Scrivener, then copying it to Live Writer to post to my blog.

    Let’s face it: as handy as they are, most of us don’t carry our laptops around with us everywhere we go, right? We have tablets for portable computing. My iPad Mini is my faithful companion (I’m going to ask Santa for a full-sized iPad Pro), and until now, getting articles from the WordPress app into Scrivener has been an arduous, complicated task. But no longer!

    I’ve got Scrivener on both my PC and my iPad configured to save their files to DropBox, and to send backups to my iCloud account. I also have a 3 terabyte external drive that automagically saves all of my files, so I am in full compliance with Robyn’s First Rule of Computing. Remember that one? It says Be Paranoid and Compulsive!

    The Journey of a Thousand Miles

    Or, in my case, about 2,600 miles. Next month will find me on the road (well, to be honest, the rail) to Seattle, WA. Stacey and I have finally decided the time is right to head home to the Upper Left Coast. I’ll be traveling by Amtrak, and I’m bringing my iPad, laptop, and camera to document my journey. Stacey and Fyona will follow later by car.

    Once again, I’ll be handling the entire project in Scrivener. It will go a long way toward weaning me completely off MS Word, which with each “upgrade” becomes harder and harder to use.

    But more on that in a future post.

    Let’s talk a bit about Scrivener, shall we? I’ve written about it before, back in January, but since then my feelings (and work habits) have changed. My old work-flow looked like this:

    • Compose post in Open Live Writer (OLW)
    • Post it to the blog
    • Copy-Paste entry into Scrivener

    But that’s all changed.

    Some Background

    I first discovered Scrivener a little over a year ago. I downloaded the demo version, used it for a month or so, and then purchased a copy for myself. I said "a month or so" because Scrivener has a generous trial period: you can use it for 30 non-consecutive days. In other words, for 30 days of active use. That means if you only use it twice a week, you can use it for however long 30 days at twice a week comes to. Hey! I was an English major; YOU do the math!

    I struggled with the tutorial: although it is very well-written and easy to understand, I have a couple of learning disabilities that make it hard for me to learn via textbook or step-by-step instructions. So while I ended up with a brief understanding of the power of the program, it was a superficial understanding at best.

    But I woke up this morning with the intention of learning more about Scrivener.[1] After all, up until now I’ve really only been using it as a glorified file cabinet, and that’s not what it was intended for. So I determined to start to learn how to use it the way it was intended to be used.

    Naturally, as I usually do when I want to find information, I headed over to my Internet-based library card catalogue, aka Google®, and type in "Windows Scrivener tutorial." That brought up several links to YouTube,® and I followed the first one, which brought me here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdwnHo23Ub80.

    The Change

    That’s when I decided to reverse my work-flow and use Scrivener for composing my entries, and then compiling it for importation into OLW. In other words, I finally decided to start using Scrivener the way it was meant to be used.

    Well, that didn’t quite work. See, the thing about Scrivener is that when you compile your work, everything in the main section of your binder (usually labelled Drafts) is included. So when I compiled my latest post for export as an RTF file, all of my entries for the entire blog were included. But since that is the only folder that’s included, I’ve decided to create a new folder inside the Research folder, and move all of my previous posts to that new folder.

    And there is a perfect example of the power of Scrivener: it lets you tailor the program to the way you work, rather than forcing you to work the way it thinks you should work.

    The Future

    So that’s my first step in becoming a better Scrivener user, and in learning how to adopt it to meet my needs. There will be more to follow, I’m sure.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Robyn


    [1] 1 Actually, I woke up to the sound of the garbage truck emptying the dumpster outside my window.