First project - success!

I just finished using Scrivener for the first time on a real, albeit small, project. I had three 1,000-word essays to write as one of many authors for a large reference project. I already had a good deal of notes on the subject created in my word processor, Nota Bene.

In Scrivener, I created a new project from scratch. In the Research folder I created a subfolder for various PDF documents, e-mails, and a Website related to the project itself, and another subfolder for my own existing notes and subsets of them. With this as a basis, I created a basic outline in the Drafts folder for each of the three essays.

As I worked, the documents in the Drafts folder related to the various outlined topics were given Scrivener links to my notes in Research. I found it handy to use Document Notes in the Inspector to keep track of things that I needed each of these documents to deal with. As I came to each topic, I could develop those notes in the documents themselves. I then did the actual writing in Nota Bene, reshuffling outline parts in Scrivener as each essay developed. I found that I could easily copy and paste back and forth between NB and Scrivener, including words and phrases in Greek.

Early on I had to deal with the fact that Scrivener (naturally enough) can’t display Nota Bene files. At first I created a Research document with a link to my NB notes and went back and forth. Then as I realized how easy the copying and pasting was, I just pasted the whole 70KB notes file into the Research document and worked from that.

Late in the project, I had some basic research to do, and was able to organize and analyze data from yet a third piece of software using a document and its notes. That could just as easily have been done in Nota Bene, but having the two separate writing areas in the Editor and Inspector made it simple to look at the data and write up basic observations on them.

The whole setup was just absolutely a joy to work with. Scrivener made the arranging and organizing of research material a breeze. I find the key to its usefulness in the flexibility—there are so many tools that can be used in so many different combinations depending on your own preferences and habits. I find that Scrivener lets me develop my way of working rather than forcing me to work in its way.

The main features I found myself using were the Draft and Research folders in the Binder, the Corkboard and Outliner, and Document Notes. I didn’t find a use for the Scrivenings view on this project, but I may later. I did make use of labels and status, creating a “Done” label and using it, along with Done status, to mark completed parts of the outlines. Very satisfying to watch the names in the Drafts folder changing color as I made progress!

Thanks for a great product. Scrivener may help me overcome my writer’s block simply by making the work more fun to do! I look forward to finding more ways of using more parts of it as I continue to gain experience.