Scribing scholarly scrolls with Scrivener

Write here, write now. Scrivener.

I recently started using Scrivener to scribe scholarly scrolls – er, write journal papers – and fell in love with it 15 minutes into the tutorial (thanks for the tip Thesis Whisperer!). In fact, I might be getting addicted to it…

Scribe image

Scribing back in the day
(Jean Le Tavernier via Wikimedia Commons)

This post talks about why Scrivener is so awesome*.

Read the next post for information on configuring Scrivener to work with LaTeX.

* I realize that this post sounds suspiciously like an infomercial (since a Scrivener license costs $40 at the moment). It’s just a really, really great tool for writing. You should definitely try the 30-day trial to see it in action yourself. I’m not affiliated with them and I don’t make any money from this post.

Why is Scrivener so awesome?

From their website:

Scrivener is your complete writing studio… 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.

That’s exactly how I’m using Scrivener.

scrivener_screenshot2Scrivener makes it super easy to add links to files or websites, or integrate the files themselves, into what’s called the Research section of your Scrivener manuscript, so that all your sources are there at your fingertips.

I’m loving the ability to dump research output and graphs directly into the interface, so I don’t have to go digging around for all my results while writing. It’s a lot nicer than manually keeping track of references and important information or adding comments into a latex file (which clutter up the manuscript text).

The split-screen view is especially handy, so that you can work on two files at the same time, e.g. the manuscript and a reference, or two different sections of your manuscript.

Word counts are automatically shown for every document – you can even set a word count target (handy for sticking to those 250-word count limits for abstracts).

Scrivener screenshot

I’m not working on a space adventure screenplay, BTW – these screenshots are from the tutorial 😉

There are tons of useful features, so I suggest taking a look at the Scrivener intro and the features page.

Plenty of people seem to be using Scrivener for academic writing. See Scrivener — A perfect program for dissertation writing and Taming the literature review with Scrivener.

In fact, I’m considering keeping my research journal in Scrivener too. A research journal makes writing publications a lot easier – instead of starting with [being taunted by] a blank page, you can extract parts of your research journal to get a speedy start. Read more about keeping a research journal here and here.

Check out the next post for information on configuring Scrivener to work with LaTeX.


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