If you’re a writer who sticks to using Microsoft Word or another typical word processing program, you may be missing out.
I managed to snag Scrivener for a great price late last summer, but admittedly never took the time to get to know the program before it got lumped into the “stuff that isn’t as easy as Word” pile. How wrong I was.
If you do decide to get Scrivener, or you have already but didn’t think you liked it, my one piece of advice would be to browse through the interactive tutorial and then click and right-click everything to see just how much you can do.
While I greatly admire the sort of person who can write their stories in perfect order from start to finish, that is the opposite of me. I have tidbits, pieces, chapters, and random scenes all over the place, all of them in various vaguely-named doc files and folders scattered across my hard drive. Some of these files are just a sentence, or even a fragment. Scrivener has been a huge boon to my productivity for this very reason, because I can finally compile all of these pieces into one easily-accessible place.
There are a few features I’ve discovered in Scrivener that I’m not sure how I lived without:
1. Distraction-Free Mode
A simple click of the “full screen” button takes you to your writer’s retreat. As someone who is very easily distracted by the internet but still needs Pandora to get anything done, this is a really helpful feature. The bottom menu in the screenshot retracts until you need it, but I wanted to display the different options you have, including setting the scale and width of the page and the opacity of the background.
2. Page Color Options
There is a lot you can do to customize your workspace, but this is one of my favorites. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer screen, and black text on a white background can be a huge strain on my eyes after a while. Setting a darker or more neutral page color can help save your eyes, or you can try a little color therapy to get you in the right mood for a particular scene.
3. Word Count Goals
Click the little target/circle icon in the bottom right of your project section to get this menu. Targets are set per section, so you can use it to set yourself a goal per chapter, or even per writing session. Once a goal is set, the status bar to the left will show your progress.
These are just a few of the many great features in Scrivener, and I’m sure as I continue to explore this program I’ll make more discoveries to share.
Do you use Scrivener or another writing program? What are some features you can’t live without?