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How Scrivener Helped Me Win My First NanoWrimo

For some you may be thinking what the heck is Scrivener, better yet what is NanoWrimo. As a writer they are indispensable ways to write your first novel or even fiftieth.

Let me start by saying I am tired, worn out and whooped from competing in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)  a writing How Scrivener Helped Me Win My First NanoWrimocompetition the entire month of November. I had to rely on some incredible bloggers to guest blog for me over the month as I wrote my first novel. OK well sort of novel, I wrote 50,350 words in a month and compiled it into a story.

Is it finished? Not really, it is 50k more words written of my first novel than I would have had if I did not participate.  I struggled through fear, extreme mood swings, emotional turmoil and sheer exhaustion yet I kept writing. I wrote in the morning, lunchtime and night, words consumed me for days on end. I had been told for years that I needed to tell my story, I cannot claim the words I wrote to be my story per se, yet they are fiction inspired and based on truth like many books would be better to claim to be. Whether the work actually will make it to print remains to be seen, at least for public consumption. However without Scrivener it is quite likely is simply would be a bunch of words making little real sense.

I purchased a license to Scrivener and even became an affiliate as I felt the software was made well and looked practical for a writer. Little did I really know how much so. Over the thirty days of writing I was inspired each day by differing memories and tales. Had I written the mishmash in Microsoft Word in likely would be a simple disaster rather than actually resembling a book in progress. There are some features that Scrivener has that are incredibly proficient and useful in the creation of a novel.

I doubt I have even scratched the surface of what it can do yet thought I would share some of the key features it does contain.

  1. Ability to edit numerous documents – As spacey as I was through NanoWrimo, perhaps a bit ADD, I was scatterbrain, starting one topic and moving to another before completion. The ability to combine, separate and edit as a whole was quite useful in writing stories in the form of sections and chapter, not necessarily in order of writing.
  2. The Cork board (Better than Index Cards) – Designed just as a virtual cork board the user is able to reorganize the individual text sections like index cards. Organizing and reorganizing in a smooth fashion that made visualizing the book layout a breeze.
  3. Compiling – Imagine taking all the different stories and grouping them all together as one document. The compilation designs numerous files into one flowing text that resembles a book.
  4. Exporting – There are numerous file formats and versions that you can use to export the text. Perhaps you need a .pdf or word document or creating an e-book. Scrivener does much of the heavy lifting at the push of a button creating beautiful professional designs.
  5. Track Research – As a writer we tend to do our share of research and then in turn need to track and give due credit. The research section gives a repository in which you can store links, quotes etc. separate from the document for reference.
  6. Word Counts and Goals – For NanoWrimo this was great to be able to clearly track progress of each writing section, the total writing as a whole as well as you can set a word or character count target for each section.
  7. Tools depending on Writing – Scrivener has tools and templates whether you are writing a screen play, a fiction novel or a manuscript. Virtually anything worth writing is likely contained in the software application.

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

There are many more useful tools that Scrivener possesses that I did not have a chance to explore while writing my novel for NanoWrimo. I look forward to learning more about its capabilities as I progress in my writing career. There is some great training available as well as some books that have been written on the software that perhaps one day I will find the time to utilize as well. Meanwhile as winner of NanoWrimo, although I already own the software I have been blessed with an opportunity to save one reader 50% off the purchase price.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you would like to purchase your own copy of Scrivener or like more information there is a link Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence) that will take you to their site.

I would love to hear your thoughts, what tool do you use for writing? If you use Scrivener is there a feature I missed? Please share below and be sure to enter in to win.

A side note, thank you so much to all those fantastic guest bloggers that have helped me out as well as the ones still to come, it has been a humbling honor to share your art on my platform.



About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

10 Replies

  1. Candace Crosby

    Sounds like Scrivener critiques and compiles your writings, while keeping you on track. We all tend to wander and tell meaningless info (which may ultimately relate to your story), but bottom line it’s “facts, nothing but the facts”. Looking forward to reading your novel!

    1. Not sure it will ever see the light of day but to software definitely helped putting it all together.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been using Pages or Microsoft Word so far to write my book and it’s been awful. The hardest part is trying to organize all of my research in physical files (I have so much paper everywhere!). Plus it’s impossible to write a book start to finish in perfect order. Looks like I desperately need Scrivener. I’ve had my eye on it for awhile, so I’m hoping I can win the discount!! And by the way, congratulations on finishing NANOWRIMO strong! So awesome!

    1. I struggled with Word, Evernote and numerous journals.. once I sat down and actually learned all that Scrivener can do I doubt I will ever go back. ( I also use Jotterpad and Dropbox when writing using my android easy to upload and copy right into Scrivener as they don’t have a mobile app yet) Best of luck, cannot wait to read your book!

      1. Yeah…I’m having the WORST time trying to integrate all of my notes which seem to be everywhere! I’ll have to check into those other apps too! And thank you! Can’t wait to read YOUR book!

  3. I have it and the course to learn it but I’m using Word to write my book.

    1. Whatever works best.. I used Word up until NanoWrimo..not sure I can go back.

  4. Eventually, I will be using this great tool too.

    1. I highly recommend it .. even if you are not writing a novel it is a clean writing interface. Thanks for commenting Michelle!