Thesis student feedback

I have been using Scrivener for one week and I love it. I was recommended it by a commentor on ‘The Thesis Whisperer’ in this post: … hit-crazy/

Ditching MS Word has done wonders for my output. I did not realise how much time I spent faffing around with formatting as procrastination. My drafts were in perfect format, with indented quotes, endnote references and styles etc, but I wasn’t getting the word output I wanted. Now I completely ignore formatting and referencing and just write. THis is a tool that really understands and works with what writers need. I use the project and session targets. When I reach my session target (generally 1500 words) I feel really good and let myself have the evening off doing something else I enjoy (or more likely, cleaning up after my kids go to bed…Scrivener is helping our family hygiene…).

My supervisor likes to restructure everything I give her, so Scrivener is perfect for working on chunks and not being particularly attached to the structure. Being able to reorganise bits of stories, interviews, analysis and joining together bits is the ABSOLUTE BEST.

I like the research folders and import any files I am directly working from. As an academic I am indirectly working on a LOT of files. I use evernote to keep track of these. At the moment I have any number of evernote windows open as I write, and some key files imported into scrivener. What would really work well for me would be the ability to drag and drop evernote notes directly into the research folders on scrivener this is becasue I scan in handwritten notes and they are stored on evernote and I have no idea where they are on my computer if at all and I can’t be bothered finding them to import them into scrivener. Drag and drop would be writer’s heaven!

I have struggled with synchronising between computers as previously I had one file to sync and I had this setup to automatically upload to evernote then sync with the cloud then I opened it via evernote when I got home orwhatever. NOw I am trying to use Drive HQ FileManager (I guess similar idea to dropbox – I chose this one because my dad shares large files on this with me already). Learning to use Drive HQ has been themost frustrating part of using scrivener. I try to save my scrivener project to my thumb drive but for some reason this often leads to incompabitabilies and I have to reinstall scrivener before I can access the file. Just yesterday I thought I had lost about 1500 words and wasted a whole morning trying to find it – it is difficult to know with scrivener where you are saving to! I click save as and select the location but I’ probably need to move the whole project folder on the thumb drive each day rather than just saving the scrivx file? I don’t want to work off the thumb drive, I want to get the sync stuff with Drive HQ working but I need some practice, to get a routine of saving going. In sum it would be really great if Scrivener could do the syncing itself

And every academic’s request: of course you will end up integrating with ENdnote. I personally hate endnote and probably need to research a better reference programme, but its free at uni so that’s what I use. I want my endnote to sync properly online too but it never seems to work. Another thing I need towork at but short of time. Maybe scrivener should just get its own reference programme.

Formatting. I’d like styles in scrivener, just because I like being able to label different levels of headings – I guess scrivener does this by making these different chunks but I particularly would like the ability to better format quotes – indented from the margin, smaller font, with the just the click of a button.

That’s me for now! lOoking forward to a new release on Sunday! Looking forward to the final product! I have been recommending scrivener left right and centre to every new phd student!

Kelly DOmbroski
PhD Scholar
University of Western Sydney

Two degrees of separation there!
I am a fellow PhD sufferer. My sister who writes science fiction fantasy recommended Scrivener to me, as she uses a Mac and loved the Mac version, and thus had heard about the Win version. I posted about it to RMIT Yammer. Inger Mewburn who is “The Thesis Whisperer” picked it up from there and did a rave on TTW, and lo, you now use it.
Re Bibliographic software. Try Zotero. Free, really good support, works with Firefox but they are about to bring out a “standalone”, and sort of works with Scrivener, if you use the style “RTF Scan” to paste in citations, then move the whole lot back to Word. (See posts on TTW for Zotero v/s Endnote too)

When I was an undergrad, we wrote our own bibliographies and we LIKED it. Why, we had to walk uphill in the snow barefoot BOTH WAYS to get to the library, and there was none of that there internets, no sirree. Not unless you wanted to use archie and gopher. VAX accounts were good enough for Jesus, and they’re good enough for me!

All kidding aside, I really, really wish I had Scrivener when I started college. It would’ve made life oh so much easier.

LOL Garpu … actually I think writing my bibliography in my masters thesis WAS much simpler – I just had a file open and whenever I referenced someone, I added them in, formatted. Checked it all at the end and removed any that had been remmoved from the text. Endnote is more work actually, but good to keep it for when you are writing papers and publishing as you can just download the publisher’s endnote style (theoretically!).

And yeah, I remember having to actually walk to the library… now its all online… so I guess I’m still barefoot but no snow!

Heh. My undergrad college was built into the bluffs of the Mississippi River, so going to the library really was uphill…both ways. But it did have a coffee house in it, so that made up for it. :wink:

Kelly, on the troubles you are having with backing up Scrivener projects. The project actually consists of many files, so it’s best to ZIP the project first before copying it to any external or network drives. If you do that consistently, you should have no problems. I highly recommend DropBox as the easiest way to go. Install it on two computers, copy it to one DB folder, and it’s available on the other machine.

THanks Druid, that’s a great idea. I guess I just want it all to be simple and me not have to do anything LOL. ENough to worry about with thesis and kids. ANyway, if I can’t get the hang of Drive HQ this week, I will switch to dropbox next week… I still have one large file to share with my dad on a joint project so will stick at it until that file is gone! I think I’m getting it now… just had to work out the timestamps issue (often the main ‘my project’ folder is timestamped at an older stamp than the actual scrivx file) I probably need to ignore the timestamps and just upload and download from the server the files I know are most recent.

Great tip re the zipping. WIll try that this time too.

OK so sick of Drive HQ, joint project finished, switching to dropbox. Question… although I should search the forums as well… do you work directly from your dropbox file, or copy the file to dropbox every day?

jmthornton – thanks for passing it on then! I can’t wait til the beta is sorted and its released – i’ll be expecting all my graduate students to be using it too then!

THanks for the tip re zotero. I’ll put it on my ‘to check out’ list! Can you import endnote libraries into it?

An oldish thread, but worth commenting on, I think.

I’m using a project directory under the Dropbox folder as my working directory. However, I typically turn off dropbox at the start of a writing session. Then, when things are where I want them, I turn it back on to sync. But of course make local copies with export, use snapshots, save a zipped copy. You absolutely don’t want to rely on one storage method for a thesis or any other important project.

There are also other free services such as spideroak, mozy, etc. (usually with paid plans as well), that offer a variation on what dropbox does. These give you additional options for safe backup/storage. Spideroak, in particular, encrypts your stored files remotely ; I use it in conjunction with Dropbox and and an additional non-free service (Rackspace’s jungledisk).