Scrivener has long been a favorite drafting tool for Mac users. Recent updates has brought this program to the world of Windows users. With a unique approach to organizing text and research, integration support with a variety of other applications and native support for exporting MOBI and ePub files, this program is a powerhouse of self-publishing.
However, its flexible interface and design makes it useful for more than just bringing your literary dreams to life. With a little set up and tweaking, Scrivener can be used for more than just writing. Here is how I’m using Scrivener at Family Freelancer HQ.
At its heart, Scrivener is like a digital three-ring binder. You have a text input interface, a tool bar and some powerful features. Get under the hood and look around a bit and you will realize that Scrivener is much much more. I personally recommend the interactive tutorial bundled with the software. It will give you a great grasp of everything the program can do.
Features of Scrivener include:
- Corkboard: This handy feature lets you organize your thoughts and documents on a collection of digital index cards. Colored markers indicate their status in the workflow and a multilevel design makes it easy to drill down through your various pieces of content.
- Scrivenings: This mode allows you to connect and edit multiple documents in a single sequence. Instead of bouncing back and forth between multiple windows or tabs, each document is presented end to end with a simple page break indicator. This makes it easy to see how pieces of your writing relate to one another and without juggling multiple files in separate windows.
- Multipane editor: The multipane editor allows you to open more than one document in separate windows. You can even open the same document in more than window to easily check on previous parts of an article or story while continuing to write.
- Comprehensive indexing: From keywords and labels to the actual text, every document is indexed from start to finish to help you find your characters, topics and other aspects of your writing with ease. You can also save frequent searches for easy access throughout your project.
- Snapshots: With Scrivener there is no need to keep multiple copies around when making a significant change. With built in revision management, all you have to do is hit the snapshot button. Should you wish to revert to the original text, just rollback and start again.
- Full Screen Text Editing: Eliminate distractions and get more done with a highly configurable full screen text editor. You can set page colors, font colors, opacity, page width and more with a few clicks of the mouse. This makes it simple to create the perfect environment for getting things done.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Every time I load this program, I am discovering new uses for it. If it sounds intimidating, there is an interactive tutorial included with the program to help you get started. While it might seem a little daunting at first, the tutorial does an exceptional job of explaining both basic and advanced features of the Scrivener software.
Scrivener as a Project Management Suite
As a freelancer, the bulk of my income comes from writing. This makes the benefits of Scrivener easy to see. One of my biggest frustrations with my work is having to juggle multiple programs and windows to keep track of the information important to me.
As I was using Scrivener, I realized that I could utilize the framework offered by the program to help streamline my work process and keep track of things easily. I loaded up a blank template and got to work tweaking settings. In about 15 minutes, I had a project management solution that helped to eliminate a large portion of the little nuances that I cataloged and recorded.
My Scrivener Project Management Solution
By default Scrivener supports label and status tags for every text created. The label color and status text is shown on the corkboard. This makes it easy to cut through your orders and find something quickly. By adapting these labels, I created a quick and simple two-field categorization system for my current orders.
- To Do
- In Progress
- Needs Submission
- Needs Recording
- Needs Client Follow Up
With these two simple tags, I can cut down on a large portion of clutter in my tracking spreadsheets and documents. I can also glance at my corkboard and know where any order in my queue stands. All that was left was making individual folders for each client and populating my current orders.
I’ve currently been using this system for about a week and I love it. Instead of accessing three or four programs to complete an order, I can complete 90-percent of an order in Scrivener. What is left is easily tracked at the end of the day and can be done in bulk in just a few minutes. This is going to be a major time saver for me.
I personally try to keep my tools and applications free when possible. As a freelancer, if you try every tool you run across on the Internet, you could quickly find yourself spending thousands of dollars.
I highly recommend Scrivener for any freelance writer out there. I also recommend it for anyone that wants to keep track of data and have a freedom of organization that typical word processing interfaces do not offer. You can check out Scrivener with a 14-day free trial here!
Should you decide it is not for you, simply uninstall it and go back to life as usual. Should you decide you like the program, it is only $40 for a regular license. The preceding link is an affiliate link. I do receive a small commission in the event that you purchase. However, in my opinion, Scrivener is a great value for the functionality the program offers and I personally use it on a daily basis.
Still not convinced? You can find more information on Scrivener on the Official Literature and Latte website.
Do you use Scrivener for you freelance business? What are some of your favorite features? Do you have an outside the box use for Scrivener? Have a tool that you prefer over Scrivener? I want to hear about it! Just leave me a comment in the boxes below!
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