Dear Scrivener, It’s me, not you…

I broke up with Scrivener earlier this week. I exported my WIP back to my old relationship with Word.  😦

FWIW, it’s totally a failure on my part. Not Scrivener’s. Scrivener is still, in my estimation, an excellent program for compiling a new work and organizing information for writing.

My problem is that I was finding myself increasingly distracted by the fact that Scrivener isn’t Word. I’ve been writing in Word so long that I was struggling mentally with the format within Scrivener.

  • First, I never felt that I was working with the whole document, because I had divided it into scenes in Scrivener. Even though I could view it as one document, I wasn’t comfortable navigating it that way.  (Totally weird.)
  • Second, I was very distracted by the fact that the text didn’t -look- the way I was accustomed to seeing it.  Yes, I could have worked harder to learn all the formatting tricks to make the Scrivener sections look exactly like Word text, but Scrivener isn’t really a formatting program.

Both of these problems are more about my being accustomed to Word than they are about Scrivener.  However, given the fact that a) I have deadlines, and b) I will have to export and format the document for my publisher in Word anyway, the exercise of trying to learn the new system became too time consuming.

So I exported the WIP and immediately felt more comfortable seeing the whopping 138K in a Word file with headers and footers and formatted just how I like it.

This is all more of a commentary on my compulsive need to control my document’s appearance than it is on Scrivener’s capabilities. 

Someone asked me whether a young teenager would benefit from using Scrivener, and I think my answer is absolutely, yes.  Teenagers aren’t as  set in their ways, and aren’t as likely as a person of mature years to want hard copies of everything that they can touch (also an issue for me–when I loaded research into Scrivener, I found that I never opened those files again, I kept going back to the hard copies.)  Scrivener’s a fantastic program for worldbuilders. It allows you to keep all your information in one big folder: all your research, pictures, and writing. It’s an amazing organizational tool.   If I were a young writer, I would definitely start out with Scrivener.

And if my mind were more flexible and less compulsive, I would have stuck with it longer than two months.







8 thoughts on “Dear Scrivener, It’s me, not you…

  1. Ypu’re not alone. Scrivener looks like a great idea. But I’ve muddled my way through with Word and Excel and it might not be everybody’s idea of a class act, it works for me. And as you say, everybody wants a Word document when you deliver. I’ve just about given up on writing programs. Yes, I’m old and – not really stuck in my ways. I guess I figure if it works, don’t fix it. Same as you 🙂

    1. I do know a lot of people who love love love this program, but like you, I’m happy with Word, I suppose. Why fix it?

  2. Same here. I’ve tried several “writing” programs (although not Scrivener), and failed at all of them. I just find that having the entire file in a single document teaches me about the flow of the book (because I’ve got to learn by heart where to find a scene). Also, all that stuff about making character sheets and gaaaaahhh! So distracting! Just a waste of time.
    I don’t even use any of the formatting capabilities in Word.

    1. Hi Patty, I suspect that a lot of this is just that I’m set in my ways, too. I like things a certain way…

  3. I’ve tried Scrivener, still got two projects in mid-draft in it. But I prefer Word, I don’t know why. In the future it’ll be Word first and foremost unless something changes dramatically.

  4. Oh, not encouraging 😦
    I’ve just downloaded a trial version of Scrivener and am having the very misgivings you report, because I’ve been writing for so long in Word, and it just doesn’t look the same on the Scrivener page, no matter what I do with it.
    I plan on using it to assemble my current novel, which I’ve had to split into viewpoint sections and work on each separately to keep the individual stories straight, so I reckon the cork board should be a great tool for getting scenes into their final order.
    BUT, I think I shall probably continue writing in Word as I’ve always done, and maybe not end up buying Scrivener after all.

    1. It’s a hard call. I suspect that if I persisted, I would learn it eventually, but since I don’t have to persist…well, that’s why I went back.

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