re: Is Switching to Scrivener Worth the Learning Curve?

posted 5/29/18

Dear Editor…

I have a question about Scrivener. My Word program is 07 and needs to be updated. A writing friend of mine suggested I start using Scrivener. She says it is great for organizing and plotting. She loves it because she can keep track of multiple projects and MSs at one. Like all new software it will take some to adapt. I would love your take on the program. The $36 fee is not a deterrent, but I would hate to spend weeks learning a new program that isn’t ideal for checking grammar and spelling. Two things that I rely on repeatedly. Love to know what you think.



Dear DeeGee…

What works for one writer has nothing to do with what works for another. There’s only one way to know definitively if Scrivener’s right for YOU: Use it. Notice I didn’t say, “Try it”? If you go into this with your finger hovering over the eject button, then any speed bump you encounter will feel like a roadblock. That truly would be a waste of your time. Make peace with the learning curve! You’ll have one whichever new program you get, even the latest version of Word—which I, having updated Word many times, know well. Trim the curve with YouTube tutorials. Sure, tutorials take time, but it’s an investment that’ll reap rewards as it cuts down your frustration and lowers your protective walls. I don’t use Scrivener myself, but I hear great things about it. See how it handles your specific spelling and grammar needs. You have to make a change anyway, and I hear temptation in your letter….go for it!

Happy writing!
The Editor

P.S. For more on this topic, read Creative Process
posted by: The Editor
under: Creative Process
Comments to "re: Is Switching to Scrivener Worth the Learning Curve?" | Add a Comment
    1. Bill wrote (on 05/29/18 at 2:52 pm) :

      It’s quite easy to use. Rather intuitive. I’ve used word and Scrivener. Currently using scrivener to write my newest book. It is easier to organize info and chapters and move things around. That said I use only a small portion of its attributes. I’d give it a try and see. You can easily export to word if you decide to go back to the “old” way.

    2. The Editor wrote (on 05/30/18 at 9:04 am) :

      Thanks, Bill. It’s good to point out there’s an “escape hatch” should one determine it’s just not for them after all.

    3. Rahma wrote (on 05/29/18 at 2:59 pm) :

      I love Scrivener and would never go back to plotting and planning an enormous project like a book in Word. My favorite feature is that I see the name of all my docs/scenes on the left side of my screen. Move scenes up or down when you realize they belong somewhere else in your story.
      Create sub docs for notes that are pertinent to that scene. Color code them. And that’s just for starters.
      My second favorite feature is the search box. Did my character say this already? Put in search terms to find out.
      Start simple and play around with it. There’s a lot of features I don’t use. Just the ones that work for me. Hope this inspires you to give it a try.

    4. sheila flynn-decosse wrote (on 05/29/18 at 7:14 pm) :

      am in exactly the same situation as DEEGEE with the ancient 2007 Word.
      As I have a novel written in the old Word, am nervous about putting a new software on my old computer along with the 2007 word.
      Is the Scrivener software as large a program as Word? I’m worrying that my computer may slow badly or even collapse if I add it now.. Any comment helpful. Thank you.

    5. Laurel Kashinn wrote (on 05/29/18 at 9:31 pm) :

      Scrivener is exceptional software that is more than a word processor; it’s a project management tool. Set aside time to go through the tutorial. Great company with great support,, and the app is only $45. Worth it.

      Do recognize though that when done, you’ll still be using Word, to deliver your final manuscript. You can use Pages or another app, but the publishing world requires manuscripts meet Chicago Manual of Style standards with a properly formatted .DOC or .DOCX file.

      Use Scrivener for creating and editing; use Word for submission.

    6. The Editor wrote (on 05/30/18 at 9:02 am) :

      Thanks for weighing in, Laurel. Good point, too, about the final manuscript being submitted as a Word doc.