Fully Integrating Scrivener into my writing flow

I mostly do two forms of writing: short, 1000-word columns for Massively, and anything required for school. School is either as simple as an essay, or as complicated as a heavily formatted document.

I’ve been struggling with fully using Scrivener for a while. When I bought the program, it seemed great for long bodies of work like books, short stories, etc.. With none of the stuff I write these days being that long, Scrivener seemed doomed to sit in the neglected pile. Which is too bad, because there are a lot of features I like in it. Its full-screen view is amazing, for instance.

There were two big hassles: since the columns end up on the web, creating a Scrivener project for of them seemed silly. School often has rigid formatting guidelines, and I was afraid I’d be spending as much time reformatting the exported Scrivener document as I would have spent just doing the damn thing in Word.

I had a perfect storm of light-bulbs going off in my head. Instead of creating a separate Scrivener document for every column and essay, why not create a Weblogsinc and School project, and then use Scrivener’s multi-document tree structure to write each column. When I’m done, just delete the file but keep the project. Same thing for the essays. My print clients will also get their own Scrivener file. It’d probably make sense to just have one Scrivener file for ALL my articles and columns, but it’s easier for me to focus this way.

It’s worked well so far. I’ve come to the realization I’m never, ever, going to get rid of Word and I’m ok with it. Unlike some Mac people, I’m not that anti-Microsoft and I actually kinda like Word 2008. My big beef is the damn thing takes too long to load and most of my instructors still can’t accept docx formats yet.

Which got me to thinking about Pages 08. The big strike against it has been the fact that it saves everything in .pages formats, and I need to export it to a .doc file to hand it off. Kinda like I have to do with Word 2008, now that you think of it.

The amount of stuff I need to do heavy formatting in is negligible. The Online Documentation class that just wrapped had heavy formatting needs with some tables, but the Modern Middle East class just requires single-spaced Times. Even though I prefer using Cambria these days, I set up a Scrivener Compile Draft setting to export or print it in Times. Scrivener sorta integrates with Endnote, so if I need to cite something I can run it through Endnote and get the bibliography done.


Author: Mark Crump

A long-time Mac user, Mark has been writing about technology in some form for over ten years. Mark enjoys his Kool-Aid shaken, not stirred. He also believes the "it just works" slogan from the ads should have an asterisk: except when it refuses to. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/crumpy. His personal site is www.markcrump.com

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