Before we get into the “how” part of this post, let’s discuss the “why” on why you would, as a blogger, want to use Scrivener (www.literatureandlatte.com), a completely powerful tool and preferred writing app for writers, for your blog. Why not just write everything in WordPress or Microsoft Word? Well, there are plenty of reasons. Here are a few pointers on the why:
- Promotes organized writing (the most organized you could possibly get)
- Easily convert posts into book form
- A “binder” to store all your blog post ideas
- Stores links for your blog post research
- Word counter
- Records your notes, tags, categories and thoughts for marketing as you write
- Easily refer to your category binders for ideas for internal linking opportunities
- Scrivener serves as a database and your chances of losing your work is practically nothing. Ever lose your internet connection and half a blog post while writing? Yeah. Scrivener won’t lose your work.
- Easy to add images, format, etc.
So let’s break it down a bit – the how. I use Scrivener for my blog because sometimes, in life, shitty things happen and we lose our hard drives due to malfunctioning, we forget to renew our hosting plans (and then have to pay GoDaddy an extortion fee to get our data restored), the internet dies suddenly, WordPress acts funny and doesn’t save our draft, Word crashes, etc. I heve never – not once – had Scrivener quit or crash on me. It’s just not fussy like that… even when compiling 100k+ words together into a mega book. It’s been reliable whether on my phone, iPad or laptop. Which makes it something I can trust and recommend to you. Because losing your hard work as a writer really sucks, and Scrivener’s not going to let you down.
It keeps everything I’ve ever written in a database – like a virtual binder, if you will, where I can see everything I’ve ever written. So even if your laptop dies suddenly or you lose power, everything you just wrote is going to be there, waiting for you, like an old friend. Also, it gives me plenty of chances to laugh at myself when looking back at older posts. “Did I actually write that? Yup, I did. Oh, the horror.”
Note: I’m not affiliated with Scrivener (Literature & Latte) in any way nor am I paid to write about their software. Phew. Now that we got that out of the way, I shall continue.
I’ve split up my “binders” into categories or what you see as folders in the picture above. These match my blog categories. Then under each folder are manuscript files, which are basically my blog posts. In the writing world, we use these for “scenes”. But as a blogger you can set up multiple different files under a project folder. So at any given moment, if I have enough material on one topic or category I could easily compile my files together and generate an eBook or paperback book. Within minutes and a few clicks. It’s really that simple.
One of the things nonfiction writers do is they’ll use their blog posts as a basis for their book material, and delve in deeper into detail, providing additional pictures, tutorials, stories, or technical information… perhaps even case studies. Having your posts already in Scrivener makes it super easy to drag and drop your already-completed material into a new project and expand on it within there.
Another thing that it’ll help you do is keep track of all your blog post ideas. There’s a research area below where you can keep all your notes, drafts in progress, collections of thoughts, etc. Like I said, it’s a great tool and the preferred one to use for writers. Incredible, right!?
Let’s say you’re collecting data for a blog post, and you want to save what you found on the internet within the binder. Scrivener makes it so easy just to drag the address bar of the page you’re on into your research folder, and it’ll save the content right in there for you. Never lose a cool website again. Never lose your source of inspiration, either.
Word counter, anyone? Tons of project statistics you number nerds will love are in this software.
Ever have a sporadic thought shoot across your head while you’re writing a blog post? Jot those down in the notes to the side so you don’t lose them. Start recording ideas for categories, tags and keywords in there, as well. By the time you’re ready to copy and paste into your blog post on your site, you’ll have everything already typed up and ready to go. And don’t forget – you can still use your WordPress Editorial Calendar or post planner like normal. Using Scrivener is just going to add to your productivity by protecting your work, storing your ideas and posts, and helping you plan better than ever before.
Now that you have your post done, you’re probably thinking – oh yeah – I should probably link back to some other articles, too, right? Knowing what you already have in your binder to link to will help you with that thought process, and it shouldn’t take you very long to reference it. It helps, too, that Scrivener has a search function within your file so that you can easily find a phrase or a topic you’ve already written about.
And as far as formatting, you’ll be aces. Choose your fonts, paragraph styles, spacing and more right within your Scrivener software.
What is great about all of this is that the software offers a free 30-day trial, so you can decide for yourself if this is a writing system that you’ll want to use. If you want to buy it, in my opinion, it’s fairly inexpensive. I love it. I recommend it. And it has saved me a lot of heartache and time, keeping my writing organized and print-ready. I hope you love it as much as I do, and that you have fun with it! If you have any questions about it or want to bounce some ideas off of me for using it, by all means comment and I’ll help you out. I’ve been using Scrivener for a few years now, so if you want to know how to do something specific I can probably help you out!
Also published on Medium.