Let’s face it, the days of seeing a writer hunched over a desk with a pen and a stack of paper are long gone. Today’s writers can choose from a lot of tools that can help them write better and faster, but before committing to using any of them to write your novel, you should ask yourself “What’s the right tool for me?”
Like most authors, I started my writing career using Microsoft Word so I decided to continue using it to write my first novel. It seemed like the natural choice because it was already installed on my computer, I was familiar with it, and everyone else used it too. Unfortunately, after writing my first few chapters, I was stunned to discover that Word didn’t work for me anymore. It was the perfect tool for writing my college papers, technical manuals, letters, and a million other things, but not for writing a novel.
“Why not?” I asked myself, but the answer wasn’t as obvious as I had hoped it would be.
It took me a lot of time and soul searching to figure out that Microsoft Word was just another business tool. It was designed to help students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and everyone else who needed to conform to the world’s standards and norms put their ideas in writing. Therein lies the problem. There’s nothing “normal” or “standard” about writing fiction. A novelist needs a tool that can help him or her take an ordinary concept and turn it into something extraordinary. For that to happen, I needed to free my mind from the boundaries imposed by standard word-processing tools like Word. That’s when I discovered a writing program called Scrivener!
Imagine yourself sitting in a quiet spot somewhere, with all your writing supplies including notebooks, index cards, post-it notes, red pens, yellow highlighters, and a cork-board on the wall. Maybe your place has a great view out the window, or maybe it’s nestled in a library with a fireplace. In your mind, it’s the perfect writer’s workspace, arranged precisely to your liking—at least until a strong breeze blows in through an open window and scatters your papers all over the room. Gasp!
Scrivener is all of that in a digital format. It’s the ultimate writer’s workspace, which you can arrange according to your own needs and thought process. It’s completely customizable, extremely powerful, and it always stays exactly how you left it when you shutdown for the night. It was designed to help writers do exactly what I found myself incapable of doing before I discovered it—stay organized and focused on finishing my novel.