Are you working on your first draft and/or are a messy/non-linear/easily distracted writer? Me too. That’s why I use the programme Scrivener to write all my novels in, why I think it’s ideal for writers like me, and why I’ve created this tutorial series highlighting the best features it has to offer. In short, I love this writing programme and would love you to benefit from it too.
In my last post, I sang the praises of three organisational features available in Scrivener. Today, I’m all about the screen options and how they can aid a writer in the midst of her first draft. Here are two features I use to make my writing life that little bit easier and myself that little bit less crazy (though only a little).
1. The split screen option.
Why I love it: I can divide the screen and view two files at once, side-by-side.
What’s more annoying than constantly flicking between two documents as I’m trying to write (aside from a bout of writer’s block accompanied by a clingy plot bunny)? Nothing. Scrivener has a feature that removes that annoyance: the split screen.
Now I can view those two documents side-by-side, making it easy to check one doc while typing into another. The screen can be split between text files, images, corkboards and more, very helpful if I want to write in one half of the screen and view a setting image or a scene outline or my research notes in the other.
I can also choose which way I split the screen. I can split it horizontally, like so…
Or vertically. Whichever works best with what I’m splitting the screen between.
To split the screen, simply go to the menu, click ‘View’, then ‘Layout’, and choose whether to split the screen horizontally or vertically.
2. A simple, no-distractions full screen mode.
Why I love it: I can cut out the distractions and focus in on the scene I’m writing using full screen mode.
I’m easily distracted so, while having a splittable screen is great for the aforementioned reasons, I sometimes need to whittle things down to just the one screen, the one text file. But even then, there’s the menu options and the taskbar to distract me… but not necessarily so. And I have full screen mode to thank for that.
In full screen mode, I can make a text file fill the entire screen (and I mean all of it, as you can see in the image below). The taskbar is gone, the menu options are gone. There’s just me and the words and far less temptation to keep clicking back to YouTube to watch funny cat videos.
Full screen mode is perfect for word sprints. It shuts out distractions, hides potentially eye-catching features and folders, and lets you concentrate on churning out those words. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re ever sprinting with us over at @TheSprintShack on Twitter!
Though the two parts of this series have focused on using Scrivener for writing the first draft of a novel, you don’t even have to use it just for this purpose. I wrote this blog post in Scrivener, using both of today’s features, the split screen to view Parts 1 and 2 of the Best Scrivener Features series side-by-side and full screen mode to focus in on this post once I got into the groove of writing.
I’ve also used Scrivener to compile my short stories, to create each individual Writember Workshop lesson, and to write academic papers during my time at university. And there’s still more you could use Scrivener for. You’re limited only by your imagination (which shouldn’t be a problem for us writers, eh?)
Explore Scrivener’s features, find what works best for you and, most importantly, make progress on the projects that have a special place in your heart. Have fun!
That’s all for the Best Scrivener Features series (for now). What’s your favourite feature and why?