(Posted for and on behalf of member, Tea Cooper)
There’s an elephant in my cupboard.
I have a confession to make which will probably get me drummed out of the Brownies or at least any self respecting group of serious writers/authors.
I can’t use Scrivener.
I know it is supposed to be the be all and end all, to revolutionise my life, keep everything neat and tidy, easily accessible and generally make me a better writer. But I can’t!
How can you write historical novels? What about the research?
I do a lot of research, it’s half the fun … museum fanatic, that’s me. However it doesn’t matter what genre you write there’s always going to be research of some description. And no, I don’t have piles of dusty tomes sitting in my library or a fleet of research assistants scribbling away with fountain pens in Moleskin Notebooks (mind you I am very partial to Moleskin notebooks but that’s another story). I have Evernote – the elephant in my cupboard.
To the uninitiated Evernote is a free program (like many programs you can pay for an upgrade but nine books later I still haven’t needed to) that looks after all your bits and pieces.
First you make yourself a “Notebook”. I like that. It feels as though it is volume one of my WIP – the book exists before I have even written a word! Instant gratification.
Look – isn’t it pretty and the rest is just easy.
I have a little elephant who sits on my tool bar and, like Pinterest, if I want to keep something I find on the web I just tell him to put it in his trunk. I can choose which notebook I would like it in and how much of the page I would like to clip and I can add tags (back to those in a moment).
It has the most wonderful search engine. Extremely important if, like me, you forget where you put something or want to return to it a few books down the track. I just type in a couple of keywords and hey presto all of my relevant notes pop up. This is where the tags make it even faster if you have an organised mind, but you don’t really need them. I keep PDFs, images, web links, word documents, newspaper clippings … you name it the elephant takes it. And, did I mention you can talk to your elephant and he never forgets? There’s a voice option for notes too.
I can hear committed Scriveners say but Scrivener does more, so much more. It is a word processing program. You can move chapters around and a hundred other things, all invaluable to the serious writer.
As I said, I did try. I really did. I spent a whole month trying. I moved all my “Novel Attempts” (that’s the name of the file I have with all those amazing first chapters and half written wonderful ideas) into Scrivener, all my research, I made corkboards and character profiles and I wrote nothing, zero, zilch, nada. Too much to play with. I know it’s my problem—If I was a horse I’d have mandatory blinkers before I was permitted to set foot outside the stables. So, no Scrivener for me.
A plain old fashioned, boring word document with a document map and headings and my elephant and I’m set – and not sidetracked. It works wonders for my word count!
Seriously though, check Evernote out. I don’t only use it for research. I have a notebook for Writing Tips n’ Tricks, Blog Ideas, Publishers, Recipes, … the list is endless. Oh, and did I mention the elephant syncs to iPad and iPhone? So all my notes are available on any device I use and I can share them … though I’m not really sure I want to share my elephant!
Scrivener or no Scrivener — check out the elephant! There’s a great run down here and I forgot to say it is available for Windows as well as Mac.
No peanuts were offered in exchange for this glowing testimonial.