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How to Use Scrivener to Improve Your Writing and Boost Your Productivity

Just like a carpenter, a writer needs a toolbox.

Usually this toolbox is filled with ideas, a laptop, pens and paper and maybe some books and contact details for references.

And software.

Kasia Radzka is here today to share how she’s using Scrivener to boost her writing productivity and to improve her writing process.

Take it away, Kasia!

Have You Heard of Scrivener?

It’s been around for a few years now, a software program especially made for writers like you and me. Whether you’re an author, blogger or freelancer, Scrivener is amazing.

It made me a more productive writer. It also improved my writing.”

I’m an author first, freelancer second. Thanks to Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course and her amazing coaching, I’m finally getting my freelancing booty into gear and pitching, and getting assignments and even selling books. Yay!

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Enter Scrivener

Scrivener came into my life a few years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that I fully used its prowess.

Literature & Latte (the owners/creators) offer a 30-day free trial, but the beauty of this trial is that it doesn’t end after 30 consecutive days.

Nope, the days countdown whenever you use the program.

So if you use it the day you bought, and then forget about it for six weeks because you’re too busy freelancing, making sure your kids don’t break anything, or you’ve decided to run off to a tropical island, you still have 29 days of your Scrivener free trial left.

Personally, I think that’s an awesome business practice and they probably retain more buyers that way.

How many times have you signed up for a free trial and then life got the better of you and you never used it?

If you’re anything like me, it happens more often than not. Or maybe I just sign up for way too many things!

How Scrivener Makes Me a More Productive Writer

When I was using Word, I hated having to scroll through a document to find the chapters I was looking for.

When you’re trying to write an 80,000 word novel with forty chapters, well that’s a lot scrolling. Even a 25,000 word novella can get frustrating. Yes, you can put it into separate documents, but then you’re left with dozens of open documents and getting easily confused.

Blah, thanks but no thanks, been there, done that.

Scrivener is amazing.

It’s set out so you have a binder that shows you all your folders which is so awesome for writers who like to be organized and pedantic about where they keep their texts and files and even research.

How to Use Scrivener to Boost your Productivity as a WriterYou don’t need a million files open when you’re working on a project.

Then there’s your text document in the center. You can write your masterpiece there.

To the right you get another column for adding all the comments and footnotes you need.

Don’t you hate having to break your train of thought when you’re on a writing roll to check a fact or do some extra research?

Maybe you leave it till later, but that often means forgetting about it. In Scrivener you can just add a little comment and it beautifully appears waiting for you to get to it. Word has this functionality too, but I prefer it on Scrivener as there’s no need to search.

You don’t have to have it all opened as you write.

You can just have your one text screen. I like to have the three – binder (for staying organized), editor (for getting the writing done) and comments (for those questions that arise as you write). When I get stuck it’s easier to shift from chapter to chapter or article to article and keep that muse on his toes!

Sound interesting so far? You can learn more from this detailed Scrivener review from SoftwareHow.com.

Here's how you can try Scrivener for free

How Productive Is It Really?

In the past nine months, I’ve written four novel drafts, published one of them, and started on a fifth. I’ve also increased my writing output for my blogs and pitches. I feel more organized, and more in control of my writing.

I don’t know about you, but formatting a book for Kindle or epub is not very fun. It’s time consuming and frustrating. Scrivener took that hassle away, which meant I could spend way more time getting those stories written instead of fumbling with how to make sure I had Kindle friendly product.

So dear authors out there, you can do your own formatting – quickly, easily and with the click of a button using Scrivener. I know I’m not going back to anything else.

How Bloggers Can Use Scrivener

If you’re a freelancer or blogger wondering how to use Scrivener, this is what I recommend.

By creating folders within folders, and text documents in those, you can organize your writing better and stay on track of what you’ve written for a given publication.

I have a main folder for my blog.

Within it I have a folder for Published pieces, Drafts and Ideas. Each of these has a set of text documents. As soon as my drafts are done and published they get moved into the Published folder.

And I don’t need to go through opening separate documents if I need to check whether I’m doubling up on a piece or not. It’s all there nicely laid out, stored and available in an instant, thus saving me time and my sanity.

And time, my friends, is a precious commodity that we’d all like a little bit more of.

Scrivener also offers flexibility.

Being able to jump from one story to another without trying to find it in a documents folder means that when I’m having a bout of writer’s block on a personal finance piece (doesn’t exist!), I can move on to a health and fitness story and it’s all there in one little comfy spot.

(Gina’s tip: My friend, Sally Miller, is a pro at self-publishing. She has five Amazon best-sellers under her belt, and she has a super comprehensive course out that will teach you the nuts and bolts of self-publishing.)

Great, so how has it improved your writing?

1. I write more.

Well, you know how like with anything you do, the more you do it the better you get at it. At least that’s how most things work – training for a marathon, learning a foreign language, cooking French cuisine – the same works for writing. The more you write, the better you get at it.

Scrivener lets you write more because you’re not wasting time on looking for things you need.

2. I manage deadlines better.

Scrivener allows you to set project deadlines. As a freelance writer, you’re familiar with those.

When you’re an independent author you need to impose your own deadlines, Scrivener allows you to do so with Project Targets where you can specify a due date and how many words you need to write per session – just what I need to stay on track.

3. I can easily re-arrange my writing.

You can easily reorder your scenes. There’s a corkboard where you can move parts of your story around which is useful when you’re writing a novella or novel and want to change the order of your scenes.

Here's how you can try Scrivener for free

Thanks to Scrivener, I write faster which means I write more. My writing continues to improve as I use Scrivener. I can’t believe I didn’t convert to it sooner and I still haven’t scratched the surface of all it’s awesome functionalities.

The good news is that it comes with an interactive tutorial and manual to answer any questions that may arise. And it’s available for Windows and Mac.

Do you use Scrivener? What do you love most about it?

Ready to Kickstart YOUR
Freelance Writing Biz?
Grab two of our most popular workSheets and get started TODAY!

KasiaKasia Radzka likes making up stories while sipping coffees in cafes across from one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. She doesn’t wait for the muse, she forces him to show up. If you want to help her reach her goal of selling 10,000 books you can grab her novella, Lethal Instincts for just $1.99! Sign up for her email list, and get the second book in the series, Lethal Disposal free! Or buy it here!

In her spare time…who is she kidding…in between work, motherhood, running, life, and writing, spare time only exists in her dreams and that’s just the way she likes it. You can learn more at www.kasiaradzka.com



Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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