Scrivener is a special software program designed for writers. After using it for years as an author, I found it the perfect tool for writing and organizing my blog posts. Scrivener is a robust system that will help keep your blog writing organized, and there are a few extra bonuses that come from using Scrivener to write your blog posts. Here are my tips on using Scrivener and blogging.
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Scrivener is a software program from Latte and Literature. Originally designed for screenwriters, authors and students quickly saw the power of the program and it grew over the years into an amazing tool for all styles of writing.
Since Scrivener is my go to tool for writing, I immediately chose it when I started working on my blog and it was an excellent idea! Before launching this blog I already had 50 articles written. It was just so easy to write, write, write!
I love Scrivener for the easy way it lets me organize my content. I always have a million blog post ideas popping into my head. With Scrivener I can get those ideas organized so they can become great content for my blog.
Keeping my blog posts organized and backed up is something really important to me. This is how I have customized my use of Scrivener to fit with my blogging business style. Within Scrivener I have set it up so that each project is a year. So when we kick off 2016, I will start a new project and then all my 2015 blog posts will be archived within the 2015 project, still accessible, but it keeps things from getting too busy in the current project. A project is simply a file if you are familiar with Office terminology. A simple way to create the new project is to duplicate the current year, then go through and mass delete all the published posts. This will help keep all your works in progress so you can use them in the new year. All those great post ideas? We don’t want to lose those!
Within my project I set up a folder for each of my categories from my website. The power of this is that I can see at a glance which categories have lots of content, and which categories need a little extra love. It also keeps all my posts logically organized in the same way I have organized the categories of my website.
Here is a quick glance at my Scrivener project for 2015 so you can see visually what I mean:
On the left is your “binder”, this is where I create my categories (folders), then under each category I have all my blog posts. The centre panel is your working panel where you write your posts. On the far right is your organization tools, where you can code your posts and track where they are at in production.
Scrivener comes with a cool labeling system that allows me to colour code my posts based on their category (in my sample above this is the red square on the right indicating it is in the recipe category). I am also able to track the status of a post from draft, to editing, to needing pictures to published (this feature can be fully customized!). All with a quick drop down menu. By keeping my Scrivener project hosted on a service like Copy I can access it from different computers or grant helpers access to the files. This way they can see which files need images, editing, etc.
And they have this amazing corkboard view that gives you everything in a single category in one glance! Here is a sample of the corkboard. Note that one of my posts has a green square because I am in the process of moving it to a different category. You can also add notes to these corkboard images. See on the top right where it says “The Less Mess Bacon”, write a few words in there and they will appear on your corkboard card for that post. A great way of setting reminders for yourself or any partners working with you.
Moving posts between categories in the binder is a simple drag and drop. This is really important. Often I come up with an idea but as I am researching and writing I might decide it would fit better in a different category. With a drag and drop it is moved in a second.
I’m sure I’m not the only blogger that has a ton of blog post ideas. In Scrivener I’m able to create a new post quickly and easily (see that + button in green at the top? One click, done!). I can title it, add a few remarks, or even start drafting. If I have an idea for a blog post that will use a similar format as an existing post, I can duplicate the existing post with one click, then just make the necessary edits. When I sit down and I need some ideas for what to write I already have all my ideas waiting right there for me. It’s quick, simple and logical. And never again will I forget or lose my idea.
Now knowing which posts are published and which ones are still in development would be tricky in most programs, yes you have the corkboard, but I spend most of my time in binder view. But it’s OK, with Scrivener I can change the icon with a quick click. The light bulb on a post title in my binder means it’s been published. You can pick any icon you like (they have TONS), but the light bulb works for me. Take a quick peek back at the snap shot from my project to see the light bulbs in action.
Have you ever struggled to find a post you know you wrote ages ago? Scrivener has a great search feature that will find all the posts you wrote with a specific search word. Great for pulling together quick round ups or updating old posts. Or to find that long lost idea that you forgot about. I’m sure I’m not the only one that comes up with seasonal or holiday specific ideas that I don’t get finished in time. When that season starts to roll around again, I can do a quick search and pull up all those ideas and hopefully get them done in time for this year.
Another benefit of using Scrivener to draft is that your posts will not get lost in the ether. I’ve seen so many people complaining that their draft posts disappeared in WordPress. This won’t happen if you have all your articles in Scrivener. Plus if your blog ever goes down, you have all your articles backed up. Oh and did I mention that Scrivener seamlessly auto saves every 5 seconds??? This has saved my butt a number of times! Plus, with Scrivener you can work offline. I have really flaky internet at home, so this is really important to me.
The biggest benefit of Scrivener for bloggers is that it allows you to quickly and easily pull together posts if you decide to create printables or an ebook. You will already be well on your way to creating your materials with some simple drag and drops. I did this with my recent series, The Photo Revolution. I also made it available in three formats, PDF, ePub and Mobi, so my readers could pick which format they prefer to read on their devices. This is a huge time saver and my readers appreciate that I’m giving them options and convenience. I have an ebook coming out shortly about the process of publishing ebooks for bloggers. Sign up to my newsletter to be the first to hear about it.
There are lots of fantastic how to articles and videos on how to use Scrivener, and yes, it is such a dynamic and big program that there will be learning curve, but it is worth it! If you decide to give it a try, they provide a fantastic free trial period and make sure you do the tutorial. It really will help you get started on the right foot.
This is just a quick glimpse into how I use Scrivener for blogging, I hope it inspires others to give it a try and improve their business processes and organization.