Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool For Any Scribbler

“Use Grammarly’s grammar checker online because you don’t want the iconic quote to say “Keep Clam and Carry One”


Scrivener by Literature & Latte

Scrivener by Literature & Latte

What’s your favorite writing tool? A pen a pencil, a special notebook? In any craft, if you don’t have the right tool for the job, then the job becomes an arduous task. Think “Cutting down a Redwood Tree with a butter knife.”  (I need Susan Cooper  for that visual!)

Scrivener is hands down my favorite writing tool. Frankly, I believe Scrivener is the best tool for any writer, whether you’re writing a screenplay, a thesis, a series of blogs, a business plan, or a novel. It has completely changed how I organize my work, and is absolutely masterful at handling larger documents.  I first came across the software  about a year ago, and now can’t imagine how I managed without it.

What does Scrivener do?

Here’s what the software developers say:

Scrivener: a word processor and project management tool that stays with you from that first, unformed idea all the way through to the final draft. Outline and structure your ideas, take notes, view research alongside your writing and compose the constituent pieces of your text in isolation or in context.  Literature & Latte

Optimum Efficiency = Being More Productive

One of the key aspects of the program is that all your notes, research, and text are all within the program, which makes the whole process more efficient. For me, the beauty of Scrivener is it easily allows you to break up your writing into small sections, and as we all know smaller jobs are easier to do than big ones. It enables you to look at your work in bite size chunks so that you can fit each section in the best order possible to complete the verbal mosaic that is the final product.

Here are some of Scriveners’ features:

  • Visual organization

    Scrivener gives you the ability to view your work in a number of different formats. Are you a visual person? You can organize your work with index cards on an electronic corkboard. Prefer lists, no problem. Like to split your screen to view two chapters at once – Scrivener has it covered.

    Scrivener corkboard

    Scrivener corkboard (Photo credit: Ethan Hein)

  • Moving the Scenery:

    The ability to restructure your work in Scrivener is phenomenal. Want to move a scene from Chapter 3 to chapter 10? No problem. Forget a long, scrolling, cut and paste procedure of Word— just click on the scene or section of text you want to move, and drag it down to Chapter 10. Boom, done.

  • Keywords:

    Want to find the first scene Aunt Doris is in? Just do a search for ‘Aunt Doris’ (you will have made her one of your keywords, every time she was in a scene), and all the scenes are there for you to scan through.

  • Self Publishing: 

    Auto-creates files for a myriad of different file formats including .mobi (for Kindle) & ePub

  • Other Features

    There are way too many features to list in this post, but here are a 4 more I like:

  • Continually saves your work  every 2 to 3 minutes, though I also save mine to Dropbox, which the program makes it very easy to do.
  • Keeps tabs on draft stages – 1st, 2nd, final draft, etc.
  • Saves online research right next to your work, without needing to leave the program
  • Distraction Free Writing. Scrivener will give you the words and nothing but the words,  blanking everything on your computerscreen , except for your  writing. A quick toggle and you’re back out into full view mode.

    Scrivener Logo

    Scrivener Logo


There is a very detailed manual that comes with Scrivener, as well as video tutorials provided by the software developers.  I won’t lie, there is definitely a learning curve to the program, but I think you’ll find it worth the effort.

There are a myriad of free How to use Scrivener posts online. This one, by Nicole Dionisio, is the best and most complete one I’ve come across :

I found David Hewson’s ebook on Scrivener  an invaluable shortcut to getting to grips with the program, well worth the $5.99. He also gives away — yes for free— Scrivener template tailored to novel writers  which was a big help when I first started.

Where Can I Find Scrivener:

Scrivener is available for both Mac & Windows from for $45 USD. There is also a 14 day free-download trial period.

BTW, Since writing this original post, I have become an affiliate for Scrivener. But I would not recommend it if I were not an an avid user who loves to share the good things I come across with my friends. I’d like to thank  one of my favorite bloggers who turned me on to the program — after reading Joanna Penn’s article on Scrivener I knew I needed to make the switch.

Whether you like to plan everything in advance, write first and structure later—or do a bit of both—Scrivener supports the way you work. -Literature & Latte

What has your experience been with Scrivener? Do you have a favorite writing tool you tell all your writer friends about?

Come join the discussion, and please share this post on your favorite social media. 

Many Thanks!

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  1. I love Scrivener too. One day they will release their IPad app and make me super happy.
    Jon Jefferson recently posted..Indies Unlimited AnthologyMy Profile

  2. I haven’t used Scrivener, but I do use Grammarly all the time. Based on what you said AK. I think I need to seriously check it out. Along with Grammarly this may be just what I need to move things along. BTW: Thanks for the shoutout. :)))
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Art of Wine LabelsMy Profile

  3. Wow, never heard of this one, but so glad you posted it. I love to write and usually just sit down and start typing away, but this is great and I’m going to go and grab it. Nice post. Love posts that review a product/service. Thanks for sharing in our LinkedIn group!
    Laurie Hurley recently posted..What Five Guys Burgers and Fries Teaches About Social Media ManagementMy Profile

  4. Used Grammarly already for the short book on global leadership that I wrote. But for the future Scrivener seems like a good idea. Not least since it creates .mobi file for Kindle.

    Do you by any chance know how to use Sigil epub editor? It’s driving me nuts, but mind you I’m not technical.
    Catarina recently posted..Will more investors opt for impact investment?My Profile

  5. LOVE Scrivener! Do all my writing in it. Switched to it after using SuperNotecard for several years, and I won’t write any other way. Wish they’d get an iPad app done. Love Scapple, too.

  6. Scrivener is now on my list of “must try” software now more than ever since I am really not liking scrolling through 275 pages in a Word document as I try to revise my book. Ugh. I won’t take the plunge mid-book, but I do want to download it in the next few months and start experimenting with what it can do.
    Jeri recently posted..Blog Survey: Results and WinnersMy Profile

    • You know I started using Scrivener at the end of of the 2nd draft. At the time I thought -oh this isn’t going to really be of use until the next book, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. With all the changes I’ve made since then it would have been a nightmare without it. Especially when you want to move scenes around from chapter to chapter. Or just quickly find a scene etc. It’s very easy to enter the whole doc and then split it up into chapters and then scenes within those chapters. Plus each time I use it, I save it back as a word document, so you never let go of that word document. I’d be happy to talk to you about it in more detail if you want. There’s a keystroke shortcut, that basically makes the whole thing a snip. Just let me know whenever it is.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool For Any ScribblerMy Profile

  7. Sold! I’m going there right now to look at the free 14 day trial. I don’t know about other novel writers, but keeping track of my drafts can sometimes b an issue and there look to be so many other valuable tracking tools. Hats off to you this very valuable tip!!!! I’ll let you know how I find it 🙂
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted..ASK DON’T TELL…WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?My Profile

  8. I’ve heard about Scrivener but never actually used it. My favorite writing tool, which has some of the features you listed for Scrivener like the auto-save and distraction-free UI, is Dark Room.

    It’s totally free and I’ve found it to be a very valuable tool. Another great thing is that it somehow stores your text even after you exit, and the first thing you’ll see when you open it is the last document you worked.

    It’s a super useful tool!
    Claire Abdul-Azeez recently posted..My Top 3 Blogs for Time Management And Productivity TipsMy Profile

  9. What an awesome post, A.K. Thx for the low-dwn on Scrivener. I’d heard about it several times previously, but your post is detailed enough to make me realize that I will surely benefit from it, as right now, I’ve created templates for the chapters for the next volume of Chocolatour, but I think it would be cool to let Scrivener help me organize it all better. Cheers!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently to be a better listenerMy Profile

  10. Wow, I’ve never even considered using such a program before, but you had me at auto-save! Definitely something to look into. Thanks for introducing us!
    Meredith Wouters recently posted..Beachy PaletteMy Profile

  11. Sharon Purvis says:

    A friend of mine showed me this program when she was using it to write a book, and I thought it was fantastic–but I thought it was Mac only (maybe at the time it was?), so I didn’t look into it. But after your review and seeing it’s available for PCs too, I’ll definitely check it out!

  12. I’ve never heard of it even though I use Macs. I wish I’d known about it when I was writing my soon to be published book. Next time! Thanks!

  13. I never heard of Scrivener but i need to get up on it. Thanks a million for sharing this information.
    Kareem Williams recently posted..Luis Flores Jr Guilty For Stealing Kim Kardashans MoneyMy Profile

  14. I have this app. I have started a couple of things, but never finished anything with it. It takes a bit of time to get oriented to it. It’s a powerful tool and you can get lost if you don’t go through the tutorials, yes, speaking from experience here.
    Cheryl recently posted..United Plant SaversMy Profile

  15. I plan to check out Scrivener. Thank you for sharing. I am not the most well organized person so I hope that
    Scrivener which seems like a good idea.
    Arleen recently posted..What is it Big Deal this Year at the Westminster Dog Show?My Profile

  16. Wait, nine notes on one pad is organized? 😉

    No chance with me, I’m a late adopter of technology anyways.

    Just wanted to stop and say hi and happy mid-winter to my pal A.K. – hope you’re staying warm!
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  17. It sounds as though I would like the split screen and ability to store research with the work in one place. I’m not writing a book, but I do write blog posts and legal briefs. I’ll consider the free trial, but not until I can clear a block of time for it so I can give it an honest try.
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted..Wanna Feel Kinda Small — in a Good Way? Our Visit to the Elephant Nature Park Near Chiang Mai, ThailandMy Profile

  18. I had never heard of Scrivener either. Is it mainly geared to book writing? I’m assuming it wouldn’t be appropriate for bloggers. One of my New Year’s resolutions was NOT to write an ebook. That’s been on my list for a long time and then I said to myself I don’t want to do it. Does the world need another ebook about social media, or LinkedIn or whatever? I decided no. So best wishes to all novel writers!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Too Many Members are ‘Responsible’ on LinkedInMy Profile

    • Scrivener is geared to all kinds of writing. I use it for my blog posts as well as my novels. It is def. in it’s prime as it were when working on longer pieces of work whether fiction or non fiction. With blogging, it would be easy to keep track of common themes for example or rearranging sections you may want to split between different blogs. Take a glance at the short promo video on their website & I think you will get a sense of how you might be able to use it. Thanks so much for your comment Jeannette
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool For Any ScribblerMy Profile

  19. Someone in my writing group last season swore by Scribner but didn’t do as good of selling it as you have. My only fear is learning a new piece of software. Not the intimidation aspect but the time-suck learning keystrokes and commands when you should be writing. Unfortunately my time to create seems to inhabit the same space as my time to learn.
    Kire Sdyor recently posted..Glandular DisorderMy Profile

  20. This post is right on time! I have been researching writing tools and apps since I have found that Evernote isn’t as helpful for the composition of a novel nor does it help me manage timelines the way that I need to. It seems that Scrivener may be well worth the investment and it’s time to not be penny wise and pound foolish by going immediately to the free tools.


    • I think you’re right. We’re so used to apps being free or only a few dollars, but in the scheme of ‘real’ software, I think the price is pretty good. Plus there is a 14 free trial which I always like. Glad it’s coming at the right time. There’s lots of help online for you by other users too. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by:-)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool For Any ScribblerMy Profile

  21. Thanks for this A.K., I had not heard of Scrivener, or at least I never really understood what it did, it sounds amazing. The cost is pretty fantastic to, definitely worth investing in.
    Debra Yearwood recently posted..Making A Profit With Charity – Cause MarketingMy Profile

  22. This sounds like a wonderful tool. I am going to pass this blog post onto my friend who is a writer, maybe she will find it helpful, thanks.
    Grace recently posted..Finish This – Week 5My Profile

  23. Wow that sounds like a terrific tool. A.K.. Would have loved to have it for my book but now, in the final chapter, I think it makes more sense to keep moving toward completion. For sure I will look into this for my future blogging. Thanks.
    Patricia Weber recently posted..How Introverts Can Learn To Love What They Do by guest blogger Melanie HargraveMy Profile

  24. I had never heard of this software until now. It seems like it is well worth looking at as a writing tool. Thank you for sharing this little gem.
    Becc recently posted..Taking Charge of Your Travel LifestyleMy Profile

  25. I absolutely love Scrivener. I’ve only started using it recently, so I’m not even aware of all that it’s capable of doing, and I freakin’ love it. I might love it even more than coffee! Yes. That much.
    Missy Kierstead recently posted..Your Love StoryMy Profile


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