When Kathleen asked me if I’d review Scrivener, I said, “Sure!” I'd used Scrivener, the fairly-new writing tool, to create two different books (neither yet published). I was familiar with the layout, functionality, and usefulness.
But then I realized it wasn’t cool at all….Kathleen wanted me to review it as a blogger.
Blogging using Scrivener? I’d never thought about it. So, let's learn together, shall we?
WHY YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT USING SCRIVENER FOR YOUR BLOG
Artist and writer Austin Kleon says in his book Show Your Work! that great blogging is about great storytelling, and Scrivener hands you tools to craft your best story. Because you can leave the “binder” section open on the left side of the screen and note on the right (and throughout), it’s easy to continue a train of thought and later come back to those spur-of-the-moment edits. I’m also a fan of the corkboard looking thingy for notecards (I’m sure that’s the professioinal name!)….lots of areas to help you improve your thoughts and write better stories.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of reading the same-old stuff written the same old way. I’d like to be different. Scrivener helps me create stuff that’s different because I can create AND I can think about different.
But what’s good for bloggers?
Let’s jump in.
SCRIVENER FOR BLOGGING
Scrivener comes with a suite of tools that allow you to manage many activities at once….something every professional bloggers struggles with. I’ve worked with folders, outlines, spreadsheets….and still stories end up in the wrong spot. With Scrivener, it’s easy to stay organized. How? The magic is in the file system.
- As you can see, I’ve begun setting up “collections”, each of which is one of our blogs. I haven’t done it yet (because I’m brand spankin’ new), but the next step is to create folders inside of each collection for projects in different states of disarray.
- Bloggers naturally have ADD, and another reason to love Scrivener is the full screen composition mode. Pages also has this feature, but I was glad that Scrivener included it. I can stay focused on the task at hand. All of those people Tweeting about me (I’m so, so popular….I won’t find out about until later).
- The cork board. I have a bazillion story ideas….and then when it comes time to write, I’ve forgotten them all. The corkboard allows me to plan out wild ideas.
- MultiMarkdown integration. Once again…Scrivener comes through with the ability to allow me to keep my hands on the keyboard. If you haven’t been using MultiMarkdown….neither have I, until this post. I actually heard about it at Podcast Movement conference last summer (a podcaster uses it to save time writing show notes) and I wrote I HAVE TO START USING MULTIMARKDOWN and that’s where it sat. However, I’m using it right now, and it could be a game changer.
MultiMarkdown is a series of shortcuts that allow you to format HTML without having to take your hands off the keyboard. So instead of highlighting text, moving the to top the of screen and toggling H2 for your H2 tag (or worse yet, going into text mode and placing “
” before and after each header), you just type ## before your headline and MultiMarkdown recognizes the shortcut. An H2 tag is ##, while an H3 tag is ###. That H1 tag you’re looking for? Wait for it….#. Easy peasy.
You’ll find a sweet MultiMarkdown cheat sheet here.
The last step? Cut and paste to your blog. Once you’re done, just move to clean HTML format. I did it with this piece right now!
BUT IS IT WORTH THE TROUBLE?
Time to answer the question….there’s a learning curve (this piece took three hours…most of which was struggling with MultiMarkdown integrating with our blog, NOT with Scrivener. I had a ton of trouble figuring out how to move this post over to our blog….and I experimented with the features associated with Scrivener. This tool gives me the feeling that I’m crawling along the side of the road at 35 miles per hour in a Ferrari. I have no idea how to drive Scrivener yet, but I know it’s powerful (and that’s after writing two books using it).
I like it enough that I’ll be using it to write blog posts for the foreseeable future, and I’ve read that others, like Michael Hyatt, have done the same. At this early stage, it seems to me that being a Scrivener ninja will help me create more thoughtful posts quickly. To me, thoughtful AND fast is the killer combo for good blog writing. I’ll check back in and update this post in a few months to let you know how it’s working out.
Try Scrivener Yourself
*Do you use Scrivener? What’s your story? Share in the comments below.