Love Scrivener - back to the roots

After six months of extensively using Scrivener for Windows and also going through the upgrade I thought it was finally time to sign up to this forum and share my thoughts about Scrivener.

What can I say other than I LOVE IT (sorry for the shout). I’m not a professional writer, I am just writing stuff for me, so my insights will not be like those of the many professional writers out there, but hear me out first.

I have been writing with word-processing software for my own amusement since the mid 1980s, back then on the first versions of MS-Word in the good old MS-DOS times on a PC. Believe it or not, most of my texts from back then still exist and sit on my harddrive today, obviously converted into more recent file formats, but heck, they survived. Which in itself is a lot more than I can say about my paper manuscripts from before that time (which most of them were not worth saving anyway).

But I am disgressing. Those were the times, when there was no graphical user interface, my monitor back then was a small screen with a black backdrop and four (4!) different shades of amber and later green could be displayed on it. That was it folks. Writing and formatting a text was an anlogy to writing on a typewriter and I liked that, because it was impossible to be side-tracked (well, not entirely impossible, but pretty difficult) by the user interace, different formating options and well, the internet.

So when I first heard about Scrivener on a Mac, back in 2010 I think, I wanted to have it. No questions asked. Only problem then was that I am a sworn to god Windows user (I have used the various flavours of windows for the last 20+ years) and I don’t like the closed Mac environment much, but that’s personal preference no more than that.

I lost Scrivener pretty much out of my sight, until some day in 2012 I came across a blog post on some author’s site (I can’t for the life of me remember who) who reported on Scrivener being available for Windows now, albeit it being in a version that did not have all the bells and whistles as the Mac version.

So I downloaded the trial. And I got hooked. Heck, the hook went so deep, that I worked my 30 day trial to the full, just to make sure it really did what I wanted it to do without quirks. And then the hook reached for my credit card and I got the licence, back in September or October of 2012.

I finally had, what for me is the perfect tool to suit my writing style. I was able to close the study door, put Scrivener into full-screen mode with a black background and amber fonts, turn spell-checking and the lights in the room off, turn the keyboard lights on my laptop on and concentrate on writing and nothing demanded my attention more than the story I was working on. And write I did. More than ever during the last twenty years. It became the obsession it was when I got out of university. I rediscovered the joys of writing for the heck of it. Distraction free. No nonsense, pure word-churning and twisting bliss. It got to the stage that my wife and children actually tried to hide my laptop so I would have to go looking for it and see them at least some of the time, but that too is another story.

Since I started using Scrivener I have completed three (3) first drafts of novels of between 120.000 and 160.000 words each, two complete second drafts and I churn out anything betwenn 3.000 and 5.000 new words a day on various projects that I am working on. That kind of creative productivy I had last before I got a day-time job to pay for the bills. Before Scrivener I could maybe complete one first draft a year, if I was lucky. The software has really, really given me back the joy of writing, and maybe one day there will be one piece of work of mine that will stand up before my inner eye and give me the necessary courage to submit it to a publisher or two. Who knows. Just to find out.

With Scrivener I can do all the things I used to do back in the days of the PC with my index-cards and notes thrown all over my desk, but now I have them in one neat place and I can swap them about as I like without screwing whole files up as was usually the case in Word files (and basically still is if you are not careful). It has given me the freedom back, that other word processing software has taken away from me. For that I love it to bits and pieces!

Well, enough of my rants, hope you are enjyoing the trip as much as I am.

Ralph from France

Thanks, Ralph, for the trip down memory lane (black background and amber fonts! yes!). I love how, as the song says, “Everything old is new again” for you. Great to hear about your productivity too – it inspires me!