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Win This Free Giveaway: Scrivener

Scrivener is the greatest invention for writers since the word processor. I resisted buying this writing software because I thought I would waste too much time learning how to use it. After Dave, my writer’s group, and my friend, Lisa, all raved about Scrivener I had to try it out. It took about 20 minutes to learn how to use it, and 2 hours to master it. I felt like the creators of Scrivener figured out exactly what frustrated me about Word and created a software that makes my life so much easier.

Here’s are just a few features I love:

  1. It’s so easy to keep track of every scene. With the cork board feature you can see all the scenes at once, and move a scene around if its not working. progress
  2. On the right hand side, there’s a place to keep track of notes when you’re writing a scene.  You can choose if these notes are for just that scene or if it’s for the entire story. When I was using Word, I would write down notes on a pad of paper next to my computer, but then I could never remember which scene they were referring to.
  3. notesThe split screen allows you to write a scene while viewing another file at the same time. I like to keep a picture of one of my characters on the screen while I’m writing about them. It’s also helpful to keep the outline handy to make sure my scene is working with the rest of the story.split screen
  4. Scrivener encourages you to take risks. Within each scene you can take a screenshot of what you have written, and then start over fresh. At any point you can view the old and new scene side by side and then determine which one to use.
  5. Scrivener helps me keep track of my progress and set goals. I can set my target word count for each section and check something off as a first draft, revised draft or finished. With Word, I just had a giant folder with no way of knowing which scene was done.keep track
  6. One of the things that frustrated me about using Word is that it was so hard to find certain passages once the pages started adding up. On Scrivener, I can search for a minor character or a theme and it will compile every scene where that search word shows up. This helps me make sure that I resolve every part of the story and not get lost in just the main plot.
  7. I’m just focusing on the novel-writing features, but it also has great tools for screenwriting, legal briefs, and journalism.
  8. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it’s easy to export anything you write to Word or PDF.

Ok, there are so many other great features, but you’re going to need your own copy to really see what works for you. I wrote to the creators of Scrivener, and they gave me two free downloads to share with my awesome readers (one for PC and one for Apple)! Here’s how to win a free download of Scrivener:

In the comment section below, tell me about one good writing habit you have picked up or want to start using. ALSO, mention if you have an Apple or PC. I’ll pick the two winners on March 3.

If you can’t wait that long, you can buy it here for only $40! It is beyond worth it 🙂

The power of writing

Write everything down. I´ve heard this advice before, but I never take it seriously. I bought a beautiful little moleskin book before coming here, and I´ve made a conscious effort to write down everything I learn, observe, or need to do. When I look through it I´m amazed at how much I´ve already forgotten. Two days ago I played a game called Pitufar, and I said that word so many times while playing the game I thought I´d never be able to forget it. However, that night I was telling my host mother about it, and for the life of me I couldn´t remember the name of it. Good thing I wrote it down.

Not only does writing help you remember, it also helps you clear your head. I was starting to panic about all the things I need to do before leaving Salamanca. I was going over and over the list in my head (even translating it into Spanish). However as soon as I wrote the list down I realized I only had five things to do. And they´re not even difficult. But when the list was just floating around in my head it was hard to get perspective on it. Now that the list is on paper I can distance myself from it, and I can think about more important things such as whether to get wine or sangria after class.

I suggest buying a pretty notebook that you don´t mind taking with you everywhere you go. Now I´ve tried this before but I´ve always been too intimidated to write in a pretty journal. I think, I must fill these beautiful pages with beautiful thoughts. I can´t put my grocery list in a Moleskin, what would Picasso or Hemingway think? (If you´re not familiar with Moleskin, they´re handmade journals that have been used by all the great writers and artists of the past – at least that´s what they tell me). Here´s what helped me. I scribled all over the first page. I made a big fat mess, and now anything I write in the book will be an improvement over the first page. Try it. I atually think the more messy the pages the better. I like flipping through the pages and seeing all my different handwritings, and doodles, and side notes. It´s almost like a visual of how my brain works.

I also love writing in a moleskin at restaurants. When a waiter sees one they automatically think you´re a food critic or a writer for a travel guide. As soon as I bring mine out, all of sudden the waiter becomes super attentive. I get free glasses of wine, and sometimes they let me try some of their specialties for free. I kid you not, this has happened three times since I got here. Maybe I play it up a bit. I have been known to take a bite, look up as if I´m thinking about how to describe it, and then write down a few notes. Usually I´m writing about how my day went, but the waiter doesn´t need to know that.

On a side note, today was my last day of classes. I´m going to miss my helpful teachers, and my fellow classes. Don Quijote is an excellent school and I´d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Spanish abroad. Today for the first time ever I spoke in Spanish without thinking. I said three sentences to a guard at a museum and I thought to myself his English is good. And then I realized, oh wait I´m speaking in Spanish!

My tiny class