Newbie workflow question

I’ve made my living as a professional writer for 25+ years and have used just about every program out there (my favorite was Appleworks: simple, spare, got the job done); I write mostly magazine articles and advertising copywriting for national magazines and large national companies. I bought Scrivener several months ago and have been noodling around with it in my spare time before switching over. Love the program and it’s ability to organize, hold multi-media files for reference, notes, etc., while also giving an uncluttered writer’s space. One huge issue is holding me back from full-time use, however, and that is the whole underlying concept of having to export work and then work on it again in another program (word processor) before sending it off. My time is money, and that seems like a lot of wasted, double effort to me, especially when I get comments back from an editor or client. My projects sometimes go through at least three or four rewrites. Do I do the rewrites in Scrivener (preferred, I would think)? But then I have to re-export, reformat all over again, and I end up with twice the number of files which just gets more confusing. Or do I do rewrites in the word processor? But then I don’t have the benefit of all my notes and reference materials in Scrivener? I write on a MacBook Pro, so don’t have a large screen that I can have multiple windows open so I can’t see a Scrivener window and word processor window at the same time. I try to manage my time so I make at least $125/hour and adding extra steps means more time/less money. It seems as if the underlying principle of Scrivener: your work must be exported to another program to print, might be great for submitting a novel, but not great for production work. Am I missing something? Thanks!

I draft everything in Scrivener, from short articles to book reviews, nonfiction and fiction books,and screenplays. For me, the software is quite adaptable, regardless of the end product. But I only use Scrivener as a drafting tool. I do research collection in DevonThink Pro and final revision and formatting in Pages. And then I export to .doc, for editors who must labor in Word. So it’s a steady, forward-moving process for me, with no time lost at all. Perhaps as you work with S for a longer period, it will become so for you.

It’s the eternal conundrum, isn’t it? :smiley:

Scrivener does the structure and editing so well, while the programs that format nicely make it hard to do anything else.

I just finished a ebook that wouldn’t have gotten written without Scrivener. Well eventually I could have finished it, but Thank you, Keith! I was much faster, and had more fun, with Scrivener.

Once I had it chaptered and the right stuff in the right place, I just grabbed a chapter, even all fragmented, and switched to Edit Scrivenings. Then I Selected All, and pasted that right into Word.

If something was a chapter or section heading, I made it bigger and bolder, so I can easily find it and select the right Word formatting. The Word document I pasted into already had the margins and indents set up for me.

Now we make the Word document what it needs to be, which, if I’ve done my job right, is only the formatting.

I have it off to a copy editing friend, and when it comes back, we’ll wrestle with it. If something gets knotty, I plan to paste it into Scrivener again, but we’ll see.

I’ve found that copy & pasting back and forth is not only faster than exporting and importing, I bring it back and forth in a way that makes sense for what I need to do.

I found this to be the case as well. A few years ago I shifted to Scrivener for all the research, structuring, outlining, fiddling, rewriting, rewriting again–all that I Don’t Quite Know Where I’m Going Yet stuff that Word does so abysmally. My research notes are open in one window of Scrivener, and my building draft is in the other. When I’m happy with it, I highlight the draft, Click Edit Scrivenings, and copy and paste it to a fresh Word document set up with my standard magazine-submission format. Num-Num-Num: there’s a magazine article. I read it again, format it, print it out, edit it one more time in pencil, transfer the changes, zap 'em to the publisher; they send back an edited version, which I re-edit–still in Word–send back them back, and then I paste this final version back into Scrivener, replacing my submitted version (or sometimes saving it into its own folder as Final Version). And that’s that.

I’ve been doing the same thing with a book-in-progress with my agent: copy and paste to Word, and then email as it stands, without doing any formatting of any kind; all the Scrivener formatting carries straight through.

To be sure, here’s an extra step, compared with doing the whole draft in Word. But I find that first draft is so much cleaner, and goes so much faster, and can be so much more complex and is way better researched than I’ve ever done while using Word for the past 25 years, that I hardly notice this back-and-forthing from one program to another as a speed bump at all. Quite the reverse.

This is pretty much my workflow for magazine stories as well, sans the pencil mark up! I usually just export to Bean or TextEdit, but when I need to deal with comments and change -tracking, I use Pages (and before that NeoOffice) seamlessly with my Word-captive editors.

Ah, well, the pencil mark-up is an ancient artifact carried over from my editorial youth, when coffee came from diners or the pot on the stove, and Starbuck was still first mate of the Pequod. But I’ve found that final bit of blue-penciling is as important for me as reading the final print-out aloud: both prevent me from writing something absolutely barbarous. Most of the time.

I don’t doubt it. Both can be extremely valuable. Seems like I always used to find glitches of some kind back in the day when I printed and marked up copy. Same goes for reading your stuff aloud, a very useful policy I (shamefully) seldom actually follow anymore yet always required of my students. Do as I say, not…

Thanks to all for your thoughtful replies. I hadn’t considered just copying and pasting between programs. Duh. I guess the thing to do right now, as someone suggested, is just to jump in and start using Scrivener for real work and get to know it better and adapt it to my working style. Thanks again.

–Lee C.