This is a public service announcement from the Content Director of Writers Bloc about the divine gift to writers that is Scrivener.
I recently attended TINA, the National Young Writers Festival. I’m 32. Here’s footage of every panel I did.
Anyhow, one thing I took away from the festival is that a lot of young writers want to know how you stay motivated to actually finish a book. And once that's done, how to keep going back in to edit it until it’s ready to publish.
It’s a big question, but the answer is simple: Scrivener.
Scrivener is a word-processing program and outliner designed specifically for authors. In fact, it was designed BY an author who needed help organising his novel. In a nutshell, it’s a really, really easy way to keep track of everything you need to when working on a big project. That little bar to the left lets you keep all your documents in one place: notes, rich text, PDF, audio, video, whatever.
Even better, it’s got this neat split-screen function that lets you chop and change between documents and move huge slabs of text in a second.
Here’s footage of trying to wrangle the same documents in Microsoft Word.
So, we're endorsing Scrivener. It’s not something we're in the habit of doing, and it can backfire spectacularly when someone endorses a product. Just look at this photo of Ted Cruz regretting his life choices.
You need Scrivener in your life. Scrivener is not some passing fancy, some ephemeral treat that teeters at the very top of Maslow’s pyramid ready to be blown away by the moment's zeitgeist, like "love" or "food". Scrivener is the most important thing you will ever know.
I hear you out there, doubting, asking, “Yes, Liam Pieper, you’re a famous, bestselling author of several wonderful books that between them paint a masterful portait of the human condition without losing any of your patented brio which makes us laugh and cry, often at the same time – but what would you know about what’s good for me?” To which the correct answer is, of course, “Shut up.”
Yes, Scrivener, is just a word processor, but it’s as close to the platonic ideal of a word processor as one might imagine. It’s clean, it's simple, and once you've got the basics down, intuitive.
It’s perfectly calibrated to trick your mind into jumping through little cognitive hoops and keep you grinding away on a project until you wake up one glorious day and it’s done. Look at this feature that lets you set daily and total project word goals! As you move towards the goal, the bar fills up and turns from an alarming red to a calming green.
I can’t tell you how soothing it is watching that bar fill up. It's what I imagine happiness feels like, although, of course, as a professional writer, I really have no idea what that means. The whole thing makes writing a manuscript less daunting. It almost makes it easy
Writing an 80K word manuscript is impossible. Writing 80 individual 1000 word instalments just a matter of persistence.
There are all sorts of little features hidden away which you’ll learn to love, from a thing that generates names for your characters, to character dossier sheets, to easy publishing options to help you cut your own ebook.
And remember - if you're a writer, publishing professional or freelancer, you can get it back on tax.
Try it out. Thank us later. Or better yet, try Scrivener at the link below.
Liam Pieper is the former Editor of Writers Bloc. His 2014 memoir, The Feel-Good Hit of The Year, was shortlisted for the National Biography Award and a Ned Kelly award. His most recent book is The Toymaker, which was long-listed for best debut fiction by the Indie Book Awards and won the Fellowship of Australian Writers Christina Stead Fiction Award. @liampieper