Sorry to repost, but I didn’t even know this topic existed. Gotta scroll down to get some Zen. Hope you enjoy this usage scenario:
You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette, right? Well, I kinda like to make a mess of my creative workflow before I figure out how it’s supposed to work. Here’s one that has been working nicely for me lately. The idea to write about this came from this post about exporting documents to Simpletext:
Shortly after I bought Scrivener, I got WriteRoom for iPhone. With the SimpleText.ws syncing, I’ve basically always got a version of my writing on me. In order to get the good stuff onto my phone from Scrivener, I would always have to copy and paste whatever I was writing into either the web or Wifi interface for WriteRoom. It wasn’t a huge nuisance, but it was about 3 more steps than I would have liked (Open browser, go to Simpletext.ws, login, etc.). Then I discovered the SimpleText application for Snow Leopard (unfortunately not available on 10.5). Basically it adds a folder to your User directory that automatically syncs with the web interface whenever something is added to it. Plain Text only, but it works, and fast.
So with Scrivener, you can save a file or even compile a draft straight to that folder, then boom, it’s up on SimpleText and just a click away on your iPhone. Sure, formatting gets stripped out, which is a real shame, but if you just want to keep plugging away while you’re out, it’s a quick way to get stuff onto the phone. For awhile I would just launch TextEdit to jot down addresses and phone numbers, then save them out to this directory too. Of course, SimpleText (and WriteRoom) became bloated.
Enter Notational Velocity. This app became pretty popular quite recently because they added Simplenote syncing. Now, Simplenote doesn’t sync with Scrivener, so there was no chance I was going to switch, plus it’s missing all the comfort of WriteRoom (the configurable colors and document statistics). Notational Velocity is basically a little app that allows you to search and create text documents intuitively and quickly. It’s difficult to explain how it works because it’s so simple you might not believe me if I told you. Just download it and take it for a spin.
The best part about Notational Velocity is that you can point it to any folder on your mac, and it will read any text document in it. I got this tip somewhere on the web (I forget where) to point notational velocity to the SimpleText folder on your Mac and voila! There are all of your notes, quickly accessible and searchable. Better yet, you can create new notes right in NV, so those snippets I mentioned earlier (addresses, phone numbers) can be added in no time. And all of this syncs to SimpleText.ws, and therefore WriteRoom.
WriteRoom features a very fast and convenient search, so don’t get scared when your app starts filling up with lots of text. Whatever you need is still searchable. And it’s searchable in Notational Velocity. And it can be imported to Scrivener.
Now, what does this have to do with writing? It means you should never be afraid to write whatever you want wherever you please. Export a 7000 word Scrivener draft to Simpletext, then tweak it on the road. The let it rot in simpletext for a week, as you start and stop with new paragraphs in various WriteRoom projects. When you get your bearings the following month on what was going on, you can search in Notational Velocity for all the scraps on Humpback Whales or whatever, then drag and drop it back into Scrivener. Then submit your story to a magazine and become famous and such.
So that’s it! It seems like a lot, but it’s not really. Once you set it up, it’s just there when you need it. I’ve probably used it once or twice since I set it up, but that once or twice I pulled together strands were worth it if I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. Phwew, I can’t believe I wrote so much on the matter. Links!