Any Words of Advice for a Scrivener Noob? #IWSG

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

It is Insecure Writer’s Support Group time, and I’m at a loss about what insecurity to post about. Which, I suppose, is a good thing.

I’m in this calm place where I can write without hope and without despair (The phrase is borrowed from writer friend Zafar Anjum, my sentiments echo his). I’m okay to just write and become better, let consequences take care of themselves. No expectations, no shortcuts, no anguish.

What I’m struggling with instead is Scrivener. Blog friend Corinne Flynn was one of the first people to recommend it, and I’ve got myself a trial version. But I haven’t taken her advice, which was to patiently sit through the tutorial — so I’m struggling with the simplest of tasks, like compiling documents. About ready to give up.

Anyone else have a (good or bad) Scrivener story to share? Words of advice for a Scrivener noob?

25 thoughts on “Any Words of Advice for a Scrivener Noob? #IWSG

  1. Hey there, I’m a new blogger coming from Monteleone Rocca Doria, Italia who found you on Would you have any ideas for those looking into blogging? I’m planning
    to start my own page very soon but I’m a bit lost on everything. Could you suggest beginning with a free platform like b2evolution or go for a paid choice? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed.

    .. What would you say?


  2. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually understand what you are speaking
    approximately! Bookmarked. Please also discuss with my web site =).
    We will have a link change contract between us


  3. I have been collecting differnet story ideas on the corkboard. Recently I expanded a note by clicking on “scene” at the top of the corkboard and wrote a longer entry. But now when I go back to ‘corkboard’ view, I cannot see all the notes I have collected over the past months (just a blank corkboard). Can anyone help with getting back to the original corkboard view with all my notes?


  4. I’ve been using it since the early beta versions of Windows (several years.) I highly recommend it. I apologize that I don’t have time to do a huge write-up and tut for you, but if you email me at the email address that I put on this reply (you should be able to see it since you admin the blog) I’d be more than happy to help you out with any questions you have, and even walk you through some things through screen sharing. :)

    If for some reason you can’t see the email address, please, definitely let me know in a reply (or pop over to my website and fill out my contact form; I promise I’m not trying to promote; just a way to get in touch with me) and I will definitely find a way to get in touch with you!

    Michelle Dear
    eBookSwag Co-Founder and Owner


  5. Compiling is the only part of Scrivener that I’ve found to be a pain. The thing to remember is that Scrivener separates formatting from content—this is actually an advantage, when you have disparate outputs such as Word and eBook formats. I’ve used a lot of other writing tools that work like this, and Scrivener is easier than most to deal with.

    Go through the manual, try different things until you’re happy with the output, then save the settings. You’ll get there.


  6. Yes. DO THE TUTORIAL! It is quite pleasant, and will unveil the ease of use. you will wonder that you couldn’t figure it all out before. I only use half the features – I love the ability to put my research in the file – like photos, pdf’s, even web links. There are character portfolios, etc. It’s great. Do the tutorial. Really.


  7. Booohooohoo. Thanks everyone. I need to go read the tutorials. There seem to be no shortcuts to Scrivener, and the payoff of sitting through hours of Tutorial seems worth the effort. Noted, sigh.


  8. I’ve never tried Scrivener, but it certainly looks like a pretty useful tool for writing. I tend to do things the old fashioned way. Well, I do use Word instead of pen and paper, but that’s about as advanced as I get.


  9. Scrivener is brilliant. Make sure you start with folders which will become chapters. Make sure you set your margins. Once you get through the compile feature step by step, you will find the program perfectly formats your document.


  10. You totally need to watch the tutorials. I started using Scrivener earlier this year, and when it came time to rearrange the order o some chapters, and some scenes within chapters, and then to add new scenes, it made the whole thing such a breeze. What would have taken probably hours of copying, pasting, cutting, and cross-checking in a Word document took literally ten minutes in Scrivener.


  11. I really like Scrivener but I hate video tutorials…call me old school, I guess. I ordered the Scrivener for Dummies book from Amazon. I have stored a ton of research, character photos and notes, future book notes and 34 chapters of my current mystery WIP as well as my three chapter in romance WIP.

    I used the Manuscript template to get started and I have compiled to text (single chapters for critiquing), to .mobi for a friend to read sample book and both .rft & .pdf for hubby to read my chapters up to date.

    The biggest hint I was given to play with the levels to get it to list the chapters the way you want. My notes are on my other laptop, but once I played with it and tried compile to different formats, it made sense.


  12. I can only repeat what everyone has said, watch the tutorial. I tried to figure it out on my own, but had to give in and do the tutorial. Since I learned to use it, I don’t want to organize my stories with anything else.


  13. Like you, I’d probably jump in without watching tutorials and get completely lost. I have heard great things about Scrivener though so I imagine its worth working through. I hope to get myself organised and try it myself one day.


  14. I just started using scrivener myself. Watch the tutorials. You’ll be lost if you don’t. I just put a short story up on kindle with it and it did a great job converting the file. I’ve been so happy so far.


I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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