Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Scrivener Rules!

As a writer, and for years as a wanna-be writer, I have always been drawn to writing software. I have downloaded and tried out everything from Word to Write Way to Storyweaver. I looked at Dramatica to WritersBlocks and every other piece of software I came across. I was a software junkie.

But nothing seemed to fit. I am sure it was through no fault of the software developers. Many of these programs looked great and did exactly what they promised. No,it was something in me. I think deep down I kept expecting the specialized software to be so intuitive that it would actually make writing easier.

Well, that was the first problem.

Believing that it gets easier.  Not gonna happen! 🙂 Like anything worth doing, it takes work. And it always will. There is no magic formula, or magic software that will make the entire creative process easier. That is up to me and my muse. It is dependent on the old Butt-In-Chair-Fingers-on-Keyboard formula that writers have been relying on for years.


There is a software program that is so customizable that it can accommodate any writer’s work process – whether they are writing novels, blogs, term papers, or just trying to keep notes for a class organized. It is built to make navigating around large and cumbersome projects easy, searching for the one sentence you know is in there somewhere simple, and formatting the project to meet any conceivable industry standard a piece of cake.

Scrivener!     showcase-scrivener_header

I had heard of it for years, spoken of in reverent tones, and everyone who used it sang its praises. But at the time of my software hopping it was not yet available for Windows, and I did not yet have my Mac. So we were never properly introduced.

When my husband gave me a MacBook Air for my birthday last year, Scrivener was the first bit of software that I downloaded. I opened it up, full of excitement, poked around a little bit and thought hmmm… Not really sure where to start. So, I printed out the ENTIRE MANUAL – all 516 pages of it! Pretty hefty, let me tell you. And, I still wasn’t sure where to start. I watched part of the built-in tutorial but got confused. So I closed it, and kept writing in Word.

Then along came Gwen Hernandez. She is the author of Scrivener for Dummies and she blogs on The Edited Life. She is a Scrivener guru! A master extraordinaire!  Last month, I took the plunge and signed up on her website for her Scrivener class. And I am so happy I did!

This program is a wonder. For $40, you get a word processor on steroids that can be molded and shaped into a book formatting machine! If you write linearly, you’re covered. If you want to be able to hop around from scene to scene, you’re covered. If you want to search for each scene where a certain character or setting shows up, you’re covered. If you want to format for any kind of e-book, print book, thesis paper, whatever… you got it – you’re covered. And that is just the beginning…

I will not lie to you – the learning curve is steep. This class has gone a long way towards making me feel more comfortable with navigating around in Scrivener, and I am no longer afraid to try all the bells and whistles it offers. If you are a Scrivener newbie, take Gwen’s class, or buy her book. Don’t let this fabulous tool lie dormant on your computer because you don’t know where to start. 🙂

I came across this interview that Gwen did with Joanna Penn of the Creative Penn. They discuss the book and have a well-deserved mini love fest over Scrivener! It is a great introduction and I highly recommend watching if you are on the fence about trying this software. Or, you could head over to Literature and Latte, the creators of Scrivener, and download a trial!

Give it a shot! Your muse will thank you! 🙂

Related books:

Writing a Novel with Scrivener

Beautiful E-Books with Scrivener

Scrivener for Writers


  1. I’ve been using Scrivener for a few months, starting with a trial version. I found their online tutorial very helpful. I’ll have to revisit that sometime because I’m sure there are features I’ve forgotten about and am not using. Even so, it’s a big improvement over writing in Word.

    • I totally agree! As big and unwielding as this feature heavy program seemed at first, I cannot imagine using the strict lineal form of Word now. I just had to find the right tools to learn what it could do! 🙂

  2. Ahh, thank you for posting this! I’ve been debating starting the trial to give it a test run, and then if I like it, buying it at the end of April (one of the rewards for finishing NaNoWriMo is a 50% off coupon). I am sorta tired of managing so many different files and notes and supporting info that I am ready to organize it better. Glad to know you get such enjoyment out of it 🙂

    • Go for it!! I highly recommend Gwen’s class as well. Since you will be saving money on the program you should definitely treat yourself to an experienced teacher too!

  3. I’ve also been considering downloading Scrivener…now you’ve really got me going!

    • There is so much that Scrivener can do! I kept telling my husband all the features I was learning and neither of us can believe how an inexpensive program can dose much. I cannot recommend it enough! Gwen’s class has really helped me understand the features too. 🙂

  4. Cassidy Frazee

    Glad to see you’ve finally joined the Scrivener party! I don’t know how many differences there are between the Mac and Windows version, but I love all the things I have at my fingertips. Now I need to build my own templates.

    • Hey Cassidy! We are just now starting to learn about templates in class. Every day I am blown away by everything this little program can do! 🙂

      • Cassidy Frazee

        I’ve been working with it for almost two years now, and wouldn’t use anything else. Now that I know Typewriter Mode and how to get to outside websites, I like it even more.

        • Typewriter mode? Do you mean where the work area fills the whole screen so you aren’t distracted, or where the text always moves up so you are typing in the center of the screen? Or is there something else I haven’t discovered yet?? 🙂

          • Cassidy Frazee

            The second one. The first is Full Screen mode, which I have not use yet, but should. Have you used the Name Generator yet? That’s worth the price right there.

            • No, I haven’t checked that out yet. Everything I click on offers more tools. I am on a journey of discovery here. I may even find a whole new way to get the words down. 🙂

  5. I’ve downloaded it Cheryl, but that’s as far as I’ve got lol.

    Will check out your links.

    Thanks honey xx

    • Vikki,
      First rule of Scrivener… Do not let all the features scare you! 🙂 it can be as simplistic or as complicated as you need it to be. Highly recommend Gwen’s class to walk you through the basics without you needing to bang your head on the desk. Huge help and very well priced.
      Good luck and have fun!

      • Thanks honey, I must admit it looks VERY scary lol



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