Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RTW: My Writing Word Processor

Today is Road Trip Wednesday! What is that? It is a blog carnival where the contributors of YA Highway post a weekly topic and participants write their responses. You can jump from blog to blog to see each blogger's take on the question. 

Topic of the week:
What word processing program do you use to write you manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?

For years I used Microsoft Word for my writing. The frustrating part about it was I e-mailed what I wrote while working back and forth. I would copy and paste it into my main manuscript in Word to find myself working on formatting it correctly. Not exactly what I wanted to do when I could write.

I moved over to Google Docs (name is switching to Google Drive) since I'm able to access my work on the Cloud and offline if I'm using my computer with no Internet. I loved it since it was easier for me to share documents and I could access it from anywhere. Now that I live thousands of miles from my critique group, we use it to share our edits with each other. I actually have learned to love using word processors for revision (though paper is the way to go to catch the edits). It is also useful as a back-up source for all my documents on my computer so I never have to worry about losing my writing.

I've moved on yet again to Scrivener. For  years I've heard of this writing tool from many authors on Twitter. However, it was only available for Mac users.  I'm a PC girl and not even something sworn up and down by my favorite authors could change this particular preference. Now they have a PC version and I decided to trial Scrivener and a few other writer programs. It was a completely different mindset in organization that I almost gave up on.  Then, one day, it clicked after I spent some time with the manual and playing with the settings.

I understand why writers love Scrivener since it is awesome. Before I would have all my notes and documents in a folder in Google Drive. In Scrivener, I keep them all on the side of the screen so I can access them at any time without hitting back and waiting for it to load. 

How is that better? 

Instead of jumping back and forth I can use a horizontal split, or two panes, to keep me on task. In one pane I have the chapter that I'm working on, and in the second I have the notes I want to see while writing. It is excellent for revision! Everything used to be in one document for me, and now I split items into parts so I can focus on the task at hand.

Another great thing about it is the Compile feature. My husband and I use it so he can read what I've written in epub format or whatever else I need. It is a feature that I enjoy quite a bit.

If you're a writer, go out and download the free trial. If you love it, it isn't too expensive to buy. Also, if you participate in NaNoWriMo, they sometimes give discounts to participants and winners. 

What are some of your favorite writing tools?



  1. Thanks for sharing! I was hoping someone today would give me a reason to try it out. Nice to meet you!

  2. Scrivener is a good tool--just not for me right now. I downloaded it, and tried it. But I suppose I've become old and set in my ways. It takes more time for me to get used to the Scrivener way of doing things than just making notes on paper and typing up in Word, which is how I like to work. I wouldn't for one minute try to dissuade anyone from trying out Scrivener. If it works for you and helps you get your ms written--excellent! If not, don't feel bad. Just use whatever best helps you get the words written. :)

  3. Thanks for taking the time to explain Scrivener a bit. I don't see myself having the motivation or patience to switch at this point in my life -- maybe when the kids are older (I say that for a lot of things). I use Word primarily and google docs for backing up.

  4. I was hoping someone would write about scrivener. I am curious about it. I have so many questions about it. You have answered a few of them. For now I think I'm still a Word user.


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