Why I Won’t Stick to Scrivener

Posted January 23, 2015 by Briana in Writing / 8 Comments

Woman Typing on Vintage Typewriter
Photo Credit: Lívia Cristina on Flickr

Earlier this week, I was telling my friend Rae that I was trying to get into the hang of using Scrivener when she mentioned that she didn’t use it. I feel like every other writer I meet uses Scrivener, so I was taken aback. Put simply, Rae prefers simplicity. She can’t resist the shiny lure of Scrivener’s buttons and folders, so she doesn’t write there. It makes sense.

Of course, the conversation got me thinking: why was I even using Scrivener? I’ve never had any real issues with Word. Sure, it lags with some of my longer documents, but I can deal with that. Like I said, a lot of writers I know love Scrivener. Maybe their influence led me to purchase the product? I’m not blaming anyone for my decision, but I’m interested in finding out why I thought I had to have it.

I still don’t know anything about Scrivener. I’ve been trying to use it for months, but I haven’t been able to make it work for me. Like Rae said, there are too many distractions. I spend more time moving folders around and clicking things than actually writing, which is a problem.

Author Ksenia Anske (she’s FANTASTIC) just sticks to plain old Word. She’s found what works for her, so why change anything? Sometimes simplest is best.

Writer Stephen Moran expressed a similar sentiment to me the other day when we were talking about computers. I mentioned wanting a Mac so that I could take advantage of iMovie. He told me that he had a Mac for the longest time and loved it, but he seldom used it for writing. Now that he has a basic PC, he gets much more work done (check out my review of his novel ELLA here – it’s an excellent book).

I’m not telling you to uninstall Scrivener. If you’re using it to write and it works for you, great. I just don’t want you to think you have to stick to something because it’s what everyone else uses. When it comes to achieving success as a writer, your best bet is to do whatever best suits you. For me, that means writing in Microsoft Word, outlining on index cards, and printing the MS before I read through it. That’s what works for me. I hope you find what works for you.

What do you think? How do you feel about writing software? What programs or technologies do you use to write?

Tweet tweet:

Don’t feel guilty for not using Scrivener, says @brianawrites. (Click to tweet)

According to @brianawrites, when it comes to writing, you should stick with what works for you. (Click to tweet)

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8 responses to “Why I Won’t Stick to Scrivener

  1. I use Word, too! Sometimes to really be able to ‘see’ my novel, I’ll use Yarny as well, but Word works for me. As I go I’ll make a spreadsheet in Excel listing the scenes, chapters, and page numbers, so that I can quickly go right to the scene I want to rewrite or reread.
    Great to find a fellow Word-ian!
    ~Sarah Faulkner


    • What is Yarny? I’ve never heard of that. And I ADORE Excel spreadsheets. I need to learn more about Excel so I can use it more efficiently. 🙂

  2. I’ve expressed similar sentiments before. I’ve tried to ‘get into’ Scrivener multiple times, but I feel that unless you’re willing to shift your entire writing process over to Scrivener’s style, you won’t be getting the full value out of Scrivener – and I agree with Rae, there’s far too many shiny buttons.

    I stick to Word and OneNote to manage everything, with OneDrive synchronization so I never lose my work. So far, it’s worked wonderfully for me!

    Work with what makes you comfortable, I say.

    • OneDrive is the Cloud storage solution from Microsoft. It’s installed by default on new Windows machines, but you can download it for free. You get a massive 15GB free storage and it scales all the way up to 1TB depending on whether you have Office or not.

      OneNote is part of the Office family. It has a free version that you can download from MS, and it can be told to sync with OneDrive – so you never lose notes again. It’s less feature-packed than Evernote, but follows the same aesthetic as Office, so it’s smooth on the eyes and focuses more on minimalism.

      Use them all in conjunction, and you can create notebooks and pages for your novel in OneNote, write it all up in Word, and sync to the cloud with OneDrive so you never have to worry about losing stuff.

      *takes IT hat off*

      Okay, hopes that help!