I have seen the future..blinded by the light...

Okay, I shouldn’t go overboard with praise given that all I have done so far is download Scrivener and run through the tutorial once. There’s so much here I know I’ll be referring back to the tutorial but tomorrow bright and early…hmm…maybe not, seeing as how late it is now…anyway, I’ll get up and dunk my head in coffee and then give this baby a whirl. I’m a writer. I’ve been working a novel for a few years now. And by gum I have so many different files from different applications, from Word to Mellel, CopyWrite to MacJournal, NoteTaker to…you get the idea. I kept looking for ways to distract myself in this post-pencil sharpening world. Email, of course. Forums like this, naturellement. But what a neat thing you’ve done! I’m very, very impressed. I was about to give up on the computer altogether. In fact, today I just bought a used Olympia SM9 manual typewriter on eBay…because I was so frustrated by the distractions. And now I have the ultimate tool, the sine qua non of writing tools…God. What am I going to do? Spend a week learning it, I suppose. Buy it, definitely. Tell folks about it, fer sure, eh. Well, beddy-byes time. My head is swirling from the tutorial. I suppose if I was old school, I’d take a swig of the Glenlivet, but instead I think I’ll take a Relax and Sleep. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s produced by Jameson, who do all-natural, holistic vitamin pills and stuff like that, and this one has valerian and catnip in it, and one or two pills taken before bedtime really help to settle one down, with no ill effect in the a.m.)

Hey Fingers!

I think you’ll find there are many people in this forum whose pre-Scriv experience mirrors yours. I could have written your post myself. Since using Scriv, I’ve about tripled my productivity, probably upped my quality even more (simply because the more you do the better you get), and I’ve been having way more fun. The forum and its contributors are also great — well worth the price of admission — both (shouldn’t there be a word to contain more than two, like troth?) — troth for help, for learning, and as a great distraction.

All the best,


I even have an SM-9. :slight_smile: Mine has the 11.5" carriage though.

Thank you. :slight_smile: Personally, I think I’d prefer the Glenlivet to the Relax, though. :slight_smile:
All the best,

I’m in the same boat. For months, I’ve been contemplating buying a typewriter. Should I scrap those plans? I too have so many different file formats from going from one app to the other. Maybe I should have stayed with Word, but the thought that a computer could offer so much more was tempting. In my head, I’ve always had this vision of a digital workflow similar to the traditional one of the pencil & paper and a typewriter. So I went from OmniOutliner, OmniGraffle, Circus Ponies NoteBook, Hog Bay Notebook, and the whole lot. I actually think that I’ve spend more time moving notes from one app document to the other than actually reading through my notes and write. My productivity caved in, I think, because I was torn between the pencil & paper and the computer. I so wanted to move into the digital world, but no app truly offered me the same workflow or an even a better one. Scrivener is an app that defines a digital workflow that compares well to the paper world. I’m moving forward again.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that I don’t have to let go of the pencil & paper. I’ve bought myself a stack of Moleskins to get myself and my handwritten notes organized. They work beautifully. I’m throwing out those computer handhelds I have. In my head, I was always complaining that they never fully did the job. I’m getting myself organized in both worlds. I love the pencil. I also love my Mac. With Scrivener and the Moleskins, I think I’ve found a home. We’ll see, but I haven’t been this excited for a long time.

Ditto, ditto, ditto. Hog Bay Notebook, Mori, Circus Ponies Notebook, Journler, MacJournal, Mellel, DevonThink, programs whose names I can no longer remember…you get the picture and the note of desperation that accompanied this long, painful time of searching. None of them worked for me as writing programs. I kept running up against their limitations and the forms imposed by them. None of them matched the way I work.

Enter Scrivener and my salvation. I discovered Scr. right before the first new beta was released, so I started with Scr. Gold. I was awestruck, and many months later using Scr. in its different incarnations, I still am. Yes, on the increased productivity, hopefully yes to the increased quality, and a major yes to the fun! And the forum is filled to the rim with wonderful folk!


That’s all perfectly true; I’m very happy with Scrivener too. Yet I must add that Mellel, despite its idiosyncrasies which are well known and don’t need to be discussed here, remains an excellent choice for very long, academic documents. After Scrivener’s birth, applications like for instance MacJournal have become superfluous for me; but Mellel has not.

Seems we’ve all gone through the same basic progression to get here.

My only regret at all is that Gus Meuller’s superb VoodooPad has fallen by the wayside for me. I miss it (I planned my wedding with it!) but I don’t find myself using it as often these days.

Now I’ve made myself all sentimental. I’m opening VoodooPad to make a to do list.

Interesting, Sean

I tried VoodooPad and really wanted to like it, but I was never able to sync it with my workflow. It was always remained potential for me, but never crossed the border into kinetic. What did you like about it and how did you use it?


Another Olympia (an SM8, as far as I can work out) owner here, bought for the same reasons, and it still has a feature that no computer has - it’s bloody impossibly to keep tweaking things, so you have to keep going forward. Great for first drafts, and I also love the increasing pile of paper, the sound, the smell, the physicality of hammering it. I learnt to touch type on manuals so I’m fairly at home with them. There’s a guy in Liverpool has ribbons for them, I’ve discovered.

And yes, I’ve done the Hogbay/MacJournal etc route though I do like Mellel as a WP. It renders
so beautifully.

I’ve also junked the PDA and gone to Moleskine… glancing at that 43 Folders stuff on the way. I hope to God I never have to organise my life that much. I know it’s highly customisable, but I can’t really be bothered to customise it…

Agreed. I had trouble fitting it into my routine as well. But I loved the theory: A vast, interconnected web of notes, scribblings, documents, movie clips, whatever – all in one container, all indexed and hypertext-ed.

I have a pretty big VoodooPad document that houses the minutiae of two months of my life. All the crap I ran into online, all the notes I took in my Moleskine (transcribed), recipies, wines and movies I liked, notes on two separate writing projects, three (awful, first-draft) short stories, client notes for my advertising work, links to and .pdfs of invoices, and a to do list.

Thing is, it got unwieldy, and keeping it all indexed and straight was a lot of work. It’s exciting to think that you can dump your brain into one document, but brains are untidy things, and VoodooPad is awfully free-form. I either lacked the patience or the organizational skills to make it work – my final VoodooPad was certainly interconnected, which is to say tangled like fishing line.

For writing projects, same problem, different scale. VoodooPad was just too freewheeling for me to make outlining and note taking work – it didn’t do enough of the organizational work for me. I kept finding myself having to do organizational stuff at the exact moment I didn’t want to be doing it. I’d have an idea and instead of writing it up and dumping it somewhere, I was always having to make the place to dump it first.

So now, it’s just a to do list. Line items of next steps for my day to day life, with the occasional link to something relevant (for example, I have to take the drycleaning in, and that line item links to a .pdf of a coupon).

I think there’s a powerful app in there somewhere. I’m certainly not giving up hope.

Exactly my experience. Kept having to make containers and connections. It was kind of like having to clear a space on my desk rather than just keep working. In the end, I gave up. I have a weird philosophy on these things, by the way. If I use an app for more than a couple of days, I’ll generally buy the license, even though I know there’s a good chance it won’t last for me (or I won’t last for it). I’m quite deliberate about this and do so for two reasons:

First, I strongly believe in supporting people like Keith and Gus and Jessie (HogBay). If they can’t make a semblance of a living, they’re going to stop writing, and if they stop writing, the pipeline of really intriguing new independent developments dries up. I know I’m just one person. But it’s a kind of Kantian conclusion sort of thing. You know, if one person picks a flower in the park, no big deal. If a thousand do, no more flower bed. Second, who knows? One day either the app or I might morph or mature so that we can work together. I have this notion that it’s almost always a good idea to help fund version 2.

Thanks for your insights, Sean.


Count me in. I also spend hundreds and hundreds of Euros on apps. Usually, I had this notion that the one app might do it better for me than the previous. And I wanted to support these guys. With most apps, I knew they weren’t really what I was searching for, but I bought them anyway and tried to adapt to them. Most apps failed in the long run. Some apps failed through the versions. With each progression, I couldn’t recognize the original concept. But they all were just barely doing it for me. I knew it, but I went with it, because I wanted to go digital. OmniOutliner had become a sort of switch-back app for me. I’m so excited about Scrivener and the way things are progressing that I think I’ve come to the end of my search.

About VoodooPad, I thought it was a fantastic app. Just dump everything in a document and hyperlink it. The problem with it was: It became a hyper-mess. There was no overview and it was disorganized. It became a dumping ground, leaving my head disoriented.

Ditto, again. I loved the idea of VoodooPad and its wiki-links, but it was impossible to manage all the data I needed to store in it. I think it would work better for a much smaller base of information, perhaps if I were developing a more focused collection of material. It sure is a neat idea, isn’t it?

I have licenses for VoodooPad Pro (I’m a sucker for “Pro” features I’m not nearly smart enough to use) and WriteRoom (as well as Scrivener, of course) for exactly this reason.

As for VoodooPad, I think all of us who have posted here agree that the problem isn’t the quality of the app – it’s excellent software, and Gus is a responsive and talented developer. If you’re a writer, researcher, or a digital packrat, you owe it to yourself to demo VP. It just doesn’t happen to fit my ramshackle working style. If Gus included an Adderall prescription with every license, it might help some of us out. (Hell, if that were the case, I’d buy 10.)

(I keep wanting to call you Mr. Coffee, but I’m sure that would set your teeth on edge…
… damn, now I’ve done it… the moving finger writes and having writ… etc etc.). :confused:

Maybe that’s just it. Maybe Scriv heads are all that way. I know I am. :unamused:


I also tried VoodooPad, and while I quite liked the wiki-like features (I had all my notes for a novel in a wiki) the thing that turned out to be the deal-breaker for me was the complete lack of internal structure - something that is, really, the fault of the RTF format and not of VoodooPad itself. Creating and maintaining a structure using wikilinks is something that I never had a problem with.

Scrivener allows me to create structure using the binder, and I may eventually find a way to work my highly cross-linked notes from the wiki into something useful in Scrivener, but with the limitations of RTF when I’m accustomed to working in a structural form like (X)HTML or LaTeX that may or may not happen.

Man, it’s really great to read the comments here, although I must refrain from logging in during my writing time… The manual typewriter has only been used once since it arrived (not looking anywhere as mint as in its eBay picture, caveat emptor and all that), because Scrivener has released me from my computer frustrations; however I still have that annoying and self defeating habit of checking my email every few hours. Oh, lets be honest, if we can’t be honest here, where can we be honest: I probably check my email every half hour or so. Addicted. And of course it breaks the flow.

Actually, when I AM in in the flow, I don’t notice the time go by, nor the daylight (office in laundry room, daylight not much of an option), and sometimes am still typing when I desperately need to pee. Or stretch. The cat sometimes reminds me, I think she can sense when I have a full bladder. I digress.

The typewriter or the Moleskin notebook: love those things! Love stuffing a notebook in my cargo pants or jacket pocket.

But organization? Do you find yourself with tons of notes, index cards, printouts from research on the web, photocopies from books, I don’t know, all that shit that we pull our writing from, and what the hell to do with it?! My desk is buried in notes. Fortunately the iMac rises above it. I guess if I went back to a typewriter the vibration would eventually cause all the bits of paper to shift off the desk onto the floor. And then the cat would take care of them.

Why can’t cats file? What GOOD are they? Aside from reminding one to pee, that is.

Gotta go…you know…really, I must go.

Speaking of keyboards…

…which one is that!

I’ve had similar experiences while looking for “the” writing app. Right now I’m pretty happy using Mellel and Scrivener for most of my writing.

I haven’t opened Word or CopyWrite for about a year. As for Voodoo Pad, I love the idea, but, for my needs, it just doesn’t work in practice. Every file ends up like a tangled ball of yarn, and soon I get tired trying to ‘make’ it work.

I never cared much for Omni Outliner, either, though I do use it for a couple of things. It sort of feels like a small little app that almost made it.

One app I really do like is Inspiration. I find a lot of uses for it, but it feels so old and clunky, as if it were written ages ago and never updated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make use any of the cool new OS X capabilities.

Before moving along, I’d like to thank the fine folks in this thread who spoke of having writing related files in every dust-filled corner of their hard drive. I knew I couldn’t be alone in this. : )