Do You Know How to Drive This Tank?

Paulette driving a tank

It took me three attempts to learn to use Scrivener, what is now my favorite drafting software.

I tried to read the instructions and bailed.

I bought Scrivener for Dummies and was too dumb.

What finally got me over the hump was the LinkedIn Learning class.

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And thank goodness I got there. Because I needed it today, as I started what is the fifth draft of a piece for Vox, a story that has changed and morphed since July. I feel like I can barely handle the facts, let alone organize them into a story.

Scrivener helped me crawl my way there. With Scrivener, you don’t have have to just have one big document, you can make individual sections for scenes, paragraphs, whatever, and I used these rearrangeable text tidbits to think through my story one step at a time.

Here are 3 of my favorite things Scrivener does:

1. Through Linguistic Focus, it isolates all the parts of speech, so I can look at just the adverbs, for example, to get rid of most of those, or focus on my verbs to beef them up as much as possible.

2. It has a name generator so that, for example, I can try to finally figure out a last name for my character.

3. It has this pop up that makes an oh-so pleasing sound when you reach your writing goal for the day. There’s nothing I love more than that do-do-DO!

In a thousand ways, Scrivener helps me organize my brain and get the words down.

But it takes commitment.

Now, my novel is in Scrivener. All my research is in Scrivener. I am a Scrivener fan girl.

I tell people it’s like a tank. The first time you get in there, all you see are a lot of buttons and levers. It looks confusing and overwhelming. However, once you know how to drive it, you’re driving a tank. You can bust through anything.

Just like it wasn’t until I learned Adobe InDesign did I realize how rudimentary Microsoft Word was for layouts, you won’t realize how much you’re missing with other word processors until you learn Scrivener.

Plus, I feel really proud of myself for sticking with it. I feel like it’s the professional’s tool, and in dedicating myself to learn it, I have become more of the professional I want to be.

If you’re in the writer’s life for the long haul, I highly recommend it. Especially since, unlike tanks elsewhere in the world, you’re going to use yours for good.

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