If you’ve heard about Scrivener, but aren’t really sure exactly how it will make your writing life better, I’m going to explain my personal reasons why I’m such a fan. I’ve thought about it and narrowed down what I believe are the five best features on offer that could make a real difference to your writing life.

I’ve previously talked about how Scrivener is one of my favorite tech upgrades for writers.

I’d still never suggest that Scrivener is perfect or the ideal solution for everyone. However, if you think about the following features in light of your own writing efforts, you might find it has something to offer you.

 

Research Integration

Have you ever been frustrated by the process of integrating research into your work?

There are very few, if any, types of writing which require no research whatsoever. The best nonfiction draws upon the wisdom and ideas of countless sources, distills them into a succinct product, and solves the problems of readers.

For fiction to be credible, it should be well-researched. There is nothing more jarring than having your immersion in a story ruined by an incorrect fact or detail which destroys your trust in the world the author has created.

Scrivener’s research collation is superb for both fiction and nonfiction. You can collect all of your research sources within Scrivener, meaning you can easily refer back to them without having to leave the software. It also syncs up really well with Evernote, which a lot of writers use to collect ideas and inspiration.

Personally, I’ve found that having all of my research in the same environment that I write in has allowed me to stay focused and avoid the distraction that comes with switching between different pieces of software.

 

Templates

I tend to write better when I have a clear roadmap ahead of me. I like to have a big-picture view of my project, so I can understand it holistically, as well as in detail.

One of the coolest things about Scrivener is its outlining and templating ability. Within the binder for any given project, you can quickly and easily detail all of the different sections you will be working on. This is a lot more useful than having a separate outline document somewhere which you have to refer back to.

The multitude of templates which exist for Scrivener are also really useful. The software comes with a few to get you started, but there are even more available online for free. This can be a timesaver as rather than reinventing the wheel and coming up with an absolutely unique story or book structure, you can build upon tried and tested templates which have been proven to produce results.

You can also use Scrivener to write in a less structured way, if that’s your preference. Personally, I’ve found the templates to be a lifesaver when I’m stuck on the exact structure my work should take.

 

Project Stats

The project management functionality offered by Scrivener is another powerful benefit over standard word processors. You can easily allocate word count targets to different sections of your project, and then monitor your progress towards those targets. You can also set specific word count targets for different days, depending upon how much time you have available to write.

Like almost everything in Scrivener, you only have to make use of this functionality if you want to. If you prefer to take your time, and write at your own pace, Scrivener won’t force you to meet strict quantified targets!

However, if you find a goal to be motivational, I’d really suggest making the most of this feature.

 

Scrivenings

The name of this feature is a little obscure, but stay with me. Scrivenings basically allows you to preview separate pieces of writing as a single file, without actually having to go through the trouble of copy and pasting large chunks of text in an unwieldy way.

Say, for example, you wanted to write a chapter which contained four distinct ideas, but weren’t exactly sure how they should fit together. Scrivenings allows you to write the four sections separately, and then preview the different ways they fit together. This can really help with maintaining your creative flow, rather than stalling over worrying about sequence.

 

Easy Export

Depending on the writing software you use, you may well know the frustration of trying to export your words into the right format for people to access.

Scrivener makes this really easy, and is suited to lots of different formats. For example, if you want to write blog posts in Scrivener, you can easily export them as HTML, and then copy them straight into WordPress. If you have a specific ebook format you want to use, Scrivener can export your work directly into it, without having to use another piece of software.

Learning the in-depth aspects of Scrivener’s format and export capabilities takes some time. Some writers may prefer to use a different solution. It’s still impressive to have this particular functionality along with everything else Scrivener offers.

 

Is Scrivener Right For Me?

Scrivener is really well-suited to my needs and a lot of writers love it. However, nothing is perfect for everyone.

You might not find Scrivener is the right fit if you –

  • Don’t want to take the time to learn the software’s complexities

  • Prefer to write simply without accessing research

  • Have an existing writing process which you definitely don’t want to change

On the other hand, Scrivener has a lot to offer if you’re willing to take the time to learn it thoroughly. Bestselling author Michael Hyatt goes into his reasons for using Scrivener here.

If you want to check out Scrivener for yourself, you can make it even more affordable by using a Scrivener coupon.

I hope Scrivener helps your writing process and you get as much satisfaction from using it as I have.