Ways to make scrivener worth it?

Hi all - I’m doing a thirty day Scrivener trial to see if it will be a good organizing tool for me. I’ve only opened it twice, admittedly, but it isn’t striking me as the most user friendly and I’m just not sure why everyone sees it as so great. If it’s your processor of choice, why? What are you doing with it?

Writing books and other stuff.
Have you done the built-in interactive tutorial?

First, go through the interactive tutorial.

Then, start with a project that’s small enough for you to make real progress within the 30 day trial, but big enough to be “typical” of your work in terms of research materials, structure, and so on. If possible, start with something that’s pretty close to the beginning of its development. If you already have a nearly finished manuscript, it’s true that Scrivener may not offer much benefit.


I found Scrivener when I switched from Windows to a Mac and I love it. I use it for the following:

  • Tracking blog posts for multiple blogs (status, where they’ve been posted, ideas for next post, etc.)

  • Writing books (from outlining, writing, self-editing, and onward to the final draft)

  • Taking notes (I replaced MS OneNote with it when I switched to Mac)

Favorite features while writing:

  • Labels w/ color - sometimes for POV character, sometimes for writing stage
  • Status - I mark what writing stage I’m at on each scene.
  • Custom icons - I use different icons for each POV character
  • Custom metadata - I LOVE this feature. I add fields that allow me to track various information about each scene (or blog post). Things like Onscreen characters, Offscreen characters, scene goal, subplot, etc.
  • Keywords to help search for specific topics

So there’s a lot to it. And every person’s set up is going to be different. Scrivener is highly configurable to fit what works for you. And this means that the learning curve can be steep. But if you start with the basics and add complexity as you identify the need, it should work well for you.