Sitting here this morning with my fingers on the keyboard, I ask myself, “Self, if you had to choose between Microsoft Word and Scrivener for use when writing, which one would it be?” Self sits as if frozen for what seems like minutes and then, from the recesses of her coffee-begging brain, a thought stirs and a light bulb (why are those still the outdated incandescent?) flickers on and grows brighter.
Aha! A thought is born!
The index fingers stir, the middle finger joins in and a word appears on the screen. “Both.”
Huh? Did she just key in both? Indeed. Scrivener and Word, while being separate writing entities can complement each other and be used in combination to aid a writer in reaching a goal.
This morning, I needed a simple program to write a blog post and easily move that post to its final destination, I chose Word. I opened up Word on my laptop and began writing this post. When I am done, I can do a “send as” or “copy and paste” to move it to Paddlecreekwriters.com. For this type of everyday writer work, Scrivener is not as straight forward. It requires using the export feature, which I am still fumbling with.
When I need the big writer guns, I rely on Scrivener. Last week when I realized, in my first three drafts of chapter one, I had changed a character’s name three times while working in Word; I turned to Scrivener. I used index cards under the “Character” section of the project and a list of all my characters appeared to the left of the chapter I was working on.
While Word implements opening multiple screens for different documents, research and tasks; Scrivener provides an overall map of larger pieces of work on one screen. In one glance I can see if I have chapters numbered correctly, characters listed properly, research saved, pictures at the ready and the trash can ready to empty. The trash can feature is one that has saved my writing bacon more than once. Until the moment I decide I no longer need a discarded piece of writing, I can keep it in the trash and know if I change my mind I can put it back in active with a drag and drop.
Scrivener has a feature far superior to Word. It automatically saves every four seconds. Woe to the poor writer who slams the screen down on a laptop or hits the off button without saving while using Word.
Scrivener, when it comes to formatting and compiling, is a savant. Word is sitting in the corner wearing a dunce cap. This feature alone makes it worthwhile to have Scrivener when getting a book onto Amazon. It saved my religion, marriage, and sanity when putting out my third cookbook.
As I stated in my first post this week, Scrivener has a high learning curve. It is so different in concept and usage compared to Word, it isn’t even in the same league. There are features on Scrivener I may never understand or use. It is so complicated it should come with a bottle; genie included.
For those of you out there who have used both Word and Scrivener, what are your preferences? Do you use them in tandem? Do you prefer one over the other? Have you tamed Scrivener and can get it to purr like a kitten?
In The Kitchen Again