How an ADD-dyslexic-visual-tactile human uses Scrivenir

This is a “usage scenario” and thank you in one from a new user, an ADD-dyslexic-visual-tactile poet, designer, teacher of design and reluctant academic:

I saw a reference to Scrivener on DIY Planner and man, am I glad I did, because I downloaded it last month and started using it and haven’t looked back. I’m using it to develop some courses in creative thinking, to put together proposals for two “digital literacy” courses, and to work on a proposal for the NSF (with two colleagues).

What I especially love about this app, and what makes my working process more productive (a good thing) and more aesthetic and pleasurable (equally important to me):

–The split screen. Brilliant!. Especially being able to use it vertically which often fits better with the way I think. It’s a huge help for me whether referencing or cutting/pasting.

–The project/document notes. No more scampering around for the slips of paper with my meta-notes.

–And most of all, the ability to collect and scan all my resources in one space.

There was some discussion in the 43 Folders post about “why not just use the Finder.” I can appreciate that for some people the Finder/Folder hierarchy is all the collection and organization they need, but I’m not one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong: I have well-organized files and folders and I appreciate that organization for archiving materials and for quickly referencing THAT handout in THAT format which I need to print out/email/whatever for THAT person.

But for creating–synthesizing–writing–thinking, the ability to gather all those resources and formats into one space and quickly scan or quote from them is, well, just priceless.

One unexpected side effect for me is that I’m one of those people who love to collect, collect, collect notes and information and yet when it comes down to the time to process and write, I NEVER feel I have enough information. (When in fact, more often than not I have too much information.) In Scrivener, it’s much easier for me to see that I have what I need (and to fill a real gap if there is one.)

For me, it comes back to being a really lovely, useable, physical (and virtual) SPACE to work in, with what I need at my fingertips and what I don’t need (distraction) keep at bay.

Which is where Leopard and Spaces fits so brilliantly, because I’ve set up a Space for thinking and writing and a Space for “research” (which so often becomes goofing off). So, Safari and Mail, etc, are in my mundane Space and Scrivener is in my thinking Space. If I do need to reference Safari, for example, I LOVE the way my writing world disappears and the worldly world appears. It reminds me that I’m venturing outside my writing space and makes me want to get back to it.

BTW–and this is an ADD-digression–for me, Yojimbo is the perfect companion to Scrivener. Yojimbo is my universal archive. Anything I run across that I think I MIGHT want to recall someday, I throw into Yojimbo. (This is easy because there are so many ways to input into Yojimbo I have no excuse not to.) Smart folders, organized around my projects/current concerns/someday-maybe lists (like books, CDs, etc) keep the whole thing in order with very little thought or work on my part. When I want to look at “that article” or “that artist” or “that book” again, I’m 99% certain of finding it in Yojimbo. It’s robust enough for me, but isn’t more than I need (DevonThink, I’m looking at you) and it’s saved my butt on countless occasions. That serial number? in Yojimbo. That new technology for “printing” food? In Yojimbo. That solar laptop charger I was looking at? In Yojimbo. You get the idea.

And BTW # 2, I’ve been having good experiences overall with my determination to use Pages and not Word wherever possible, using the translating (export) options in Pages. Granted, I’m not a footnote person, so being able to export from Scrivenir to Pages with footnotes as endnotes is fine by me. If and when I have to communicate in Word and I have to make sure everything is formatted precisely, then I use Word for the last pass. But why should I make myself miserable for the other 98% of the time?

In any event, thank you, Keith. for such an elegant, powerful and useful application.

Liz I