Great Software for Writing Long Projects

I have mentioned or recommended a good number of writing books on my blog here, but I’ve never talked about writing software.

I don’t have much of a writing budget, so even when I look at writing software, it’s more from a “that would be nice” perspective. Actually, the small budget is a blessing that prevents distraction and clutter. I don’t need one program to do this, and one program to do that. In all likelihood, playing with new writing software would become one more way I would spend time away from actually writing. But, every once in a while I do browse. Usually when I’m stuck at the beginning of a project: I know what I want to write, but don’t know how to get going. It was at one of those vulnerable moments that I stumbled across it.

In a subsequent weak moment of trying to avoid writing, I downloaded the free trial.

I don’t even remember what about the features or write-ups appealed to me. But the testimonials of the writers were glowing. That download changed my writing process dramatically for the better.

Okay, have I got you curious enough?

 

Scrivener is the software I’m speaking about.

It is no longer difficult to start a large project. It’s fun! This software has a place for everything: brainstorming, notes, research, website pages, images, even audio files. A corkboard feature and an outliner makes outlining so easy! And once the writing starts,  it’s easy to break a project down into very small parts, and with just the click of a mouse, to put it all back together again. I can annotate my digital manuscript with ideas, other possibilities, comments or just a note to fact check. It’s also easy to do multiple drafts, saving each version either by date or with a name describing what’s unique about it.

I’m bringing Scrivener up now because:

  • a new Mac version is releasing soon
  • the first Windows version will be coming out next year

There are too many features to mention, but Literature & Latte’s website does a good job of showing them all through the screenshots and video tutorials. The one or two shortcomings I’ve found with Scrivener (for example, no page layout screen) are being taken care of in the new version.

I highly encourage writers who write long projects (novels, nonfiction, screenplays–it interfaces well with Final Draft 8 ) to think about giving Scrivener a try. It’s well worth the price for the time it saves and the way it allows me to focus on the creative moments of writing.

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