When I started to finalize the list of the twenty tools that I wanted to highlight in this series, Scrivener kept jumping off the screen at me, demanded to be added to the series. I hesitated at first because Scrivener is not technically a ‘web tool’, rather a download that you install on your Mac or PC (rumored to be coming to an iPad near you). It doesn’t help identify new prospects, track and connect with them in social networks, and does not automatically add itself to your forecast.
What Scrivener does extremely well is help you get your ideas, your thoughts and your words captured in an intuitive way, allowing you to then deliver those ideas to others in an organized, flowing structure in multiple formats based on your intended audience. The reason I decided to include it in this series is that each of us has the need to communicate in writing, most of the time in bursts more than 140 characters. For that type of written communication, Scrivener has proven to be a powerful tool. It is not just for salespeople. Anyone that writes, from a memo, to a letter and most impressively a collection of ideas, chapters or sections will gain a tremendous boost after using Scrivener for just a short time.
Some reasons that Scrivener is my favorite tool to use when I write:
Templates – several templates are provided to give you a basic structure if you would like. I typically use the ‘Blank’ option but you also have options for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Scriptwriting, Poetry or Miscellaneous if needed.
Binder – everything you do is based on a Binder concept. You add your thoughts, website links, PDF’s and graphics to the binder focused on the topic you are working on. This keeps all the assets that you need all in one place-very handy.
Inspector – this includes a concept that is my favorite they call ‘index cards’. I am a visual person, and when I am writing on a topic I have sticky notes all over the place with ideas, links and references. I will expand on the index card usage a bit further down the post in Cork Board Mode
Split the Editor in Two – this allows you to have your document in one side, either horizontally or vertically and a website, photo, or an earlier version of you doc on the other side. Makes integration of additional sources fast and effective.
Full Screen Mode – this puts your document on the screen and blacks out everything else, eliminating the distractions that can arise from email, social networks and other shiny objects. I find this very helpful to keep me focused.
Cork board Mode – this literally shows what used to be my physical yellow sticky notes as index cards on a cork board background. From here, you can edit, add to and re-arrange the cards by dragging and dropping, resulting in a visual view of how your document is structured, what order your points are made, and the flow of your ideas.
Outliner Mode – works exactly the same way as the cork board, but in an outline format. You can still drag and drop each line of your outline to organize in the same way as the cork board.
Compile – this makes it worth the price all by itself. Once your work is complete, in the order you want it to be in, simply select compile. Scrivener will gather each of your sections, index cards or lines in your outline and assemble them into one document. The output options are terrific as well with PDF, DOC, RTF, Open Office, Web Page (HTML), and get this – ePub (eBook) or even Kindle (.mobi) formats.
Scrivener works on the concept that any document is a collection of smaller ideas. In sales, consider the RFP. There are many sections of your response, and each section is written as a response unto itself. There are typically many collaborators in an RFP response of Proposal. Scrivener excels at adding each persons work as a separate piece, yet melds them all into one magnificent response when you are complete.
Scrivener has noticeably changed my approach to writing. I use it for writing all of my proposals, some of my blog posts, especially a series of them which I can then break down into individual ‘index card’ formats, and even some of my longer communications. If you have subscribed to receive this entire collection of twenty Tools during September, you will be receiving that document created entirely within Scrivener.
Look, I know that Scrivener is not the sexiest tool, not the shiniest object in the tool box, but I believe that if you give it a try with the 30 day Free trial, you might just tell me that it is one of your favorites as well. If you do like it, the price is $40.00 and a simple download.
I am using Scrivener for a major project that I am excited to announce within the next month. Scrivener has given me the enjoyment, focus and tools to deliver something that I have wanted to do for many years. Scrivener is one of my most treasured tool finds, and I thought it was time that I shared it with you.
For those of you video inclined, here is a 10 minute video from Keith Blount, the developer of Scrivener that shows you all the cool capabilities of Scrivener in action: