My first love was notebooks. They were readily available, easily transportable. I always enjoyed how welcoming notebooks were, offering up eager, blank pages. Because I enjoyed writing so much, I didn’t bother myself with the technical aspects until that story was out of my system. Notebooks and I were the perfect mates.
I abandoned my notebooks for a brief stint when I learned how to type. The luxury of typing words as fast as I could conjure them up was seductive, addictive. I hung out with it at all hours. There were times my parents caught me breaking curfew as I mingled with my typewriter.
Eventually, the romance fizzled when precious hours to write were lost because I couldn’t bring my typewriter everywhere I went. I resumed my affair with my notebooks, cavorting with them whenever the mood struck, while I used the efficient typewriter for final, polished drafts.
Along came computers and word documents. Saving and editing stories on a machine was exotic. I excitedly broke up with my electric typewriter for my computer, even dumping my notebooks in my desire to get to know my computer better.
Once I learned the basic features, I didn’t experiment much with Word. All I cared was that I could write, and write fast, save it at any point in the story, and come back to it with no worries, breezy as a summer day. There was no other writing tool like it, anywhere! I was officially in love.
When laptops became the rage (imagine, carrying your computer around with you!) I was totally smitten. Picture it: just me and my laptop, together at a coffee shop or park, writing off into the sunset. Match made in heaven.
I still dallied with the notebooks, though, because as convenient as a laptop is, they are also cumbersome and, let’s face it, fallible. Notebooks are classic, undemanding, and pure. I don’t think I could ever, really, truly, leave my notebook.
I built a long-lasting relationship with my laptop and in particular Word, but I still didn’t experiment a lot with options. I kept each of my stories in separate documents. All of my darlings were stored in one document. My research stashed in another document. I didn’t want to get fancy and organized with folders, sub-folders. Not that Word offers much more beyond that, but even so. I simply wanted to write.
Then I met Scrivener.
I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Scrivener. Because I won NaNoWriMo last year, I was able to download Scrivener for 50% off the regular price. I thought that was a sweet deal I shouldn’t pass up.
But, Scrivener and I are off to a rocky start. I downloaded the PC version, and I have been making my way through the tutorial. There are a lot of paths to learn in this new relationship, it’s like exploring a labyrinth. The tutorial is clear and easy to understand. But there is so much to use, to remember, that I’m nervous about writing a story on it. I feel like unless I use all the bells and whistles, that it would be pointless to make a commitment to Scrivener.
But writers are raving about it. The program supposedly helps with structure and organization. The program keeps everything in documented places so it’s easy to navigate from chapter to character to plot with the click of a button. But could I find that button to click when I need it? Then the tutorial coaches on how to choose sub-folders, turn off the Inspector (where is it again?), splits, outliner…I’m already lost just talking about all the features of this bad boy.
I want to give Scrivener a chance, because I think it could help my writing process immensely. But I’m a hands-on type of learner. I can’t read a tutorial, absorb it, then frolic with Scrivener. I have to learn by doing, so my question is Will that slow down my writing? Will I be so concerned about how to properly arrange my chapters and character sketches that I won’t be writing to my full potential?
How about you? Do you date Scrivener? What is your relationship like?