Earlier this summer I downloaded the free trial of a writing program called Scrivener. I have always used Word, but find organization within that program frustrating. I often keep a separate document for notes and a third for an outline. If I do not work on a particular project for a few weeks or months, I end up lost and spend much of my time trying to figure out where I was. Enter Scrivener. This program allows one to organize a novel by chapters and scenes, or however one wishes. Each scene has a “note card” attached to summarize the contents. There is a note card view and outline view. I can make all of the buttons and clutter disappear so all I can see is words with a white background, helping to eliminate distractions while writing. I can also keep a research folder with images and character profiles. The combination of Scrivener and Freedom has made my summer writing productive and less frustrating.
There was a bit of a learning curve, so I did go through the entire walk-through, which took an hour or two, and I’m sure there is functionality that I am not using right now, but for the first time in the 1 1/2 years (on and off) that I’ve been working on this novel, I feel organized. It is decidedly a first draft writing tool; when it comes down to editing and formatting I will be working in Word, which gives far more control in that arena.