Watch me use Scrivener to write a book

Shelf in my office - sigh

Shelf in my office – sigh

I have an idea for a book. It’s a memoir-how-to on decluttering my house. Years ago I wrote a 16 month newspaper series on moving unwanted and unnecessary things out of my house (I ended up removing over 5,000 pounds of stuff – yeah, I know, crazy.) To this day, people still ask me about that series and the number one question always is….

“Were you able to maintain a decluttered house?”

My stock answer to this is “Get real, we have 6 kids, no one could maintain that, but, to be fair, it’s not as cluttered as it used to be.”

Which is a bit of a half-truth, because our house is rapidly entering the pre-hoarding phase. Part of this is due to the kids (college storage, sports, clothes), part is because I work (and work) and the last thing I want to do at night when I finally shut down my computer is go clean the bathrooms or sort through my closet or put away things that I didn’t put there in the first place.

But, after spending the past weekend clearing out the belongings of a deceased relative, I’ve realized that I don’t ever want people to go through my stuff and laugh at me because I have things like framed chicken feathers from Jan Brett’s prized Polish chickens or a pile of rocks from a favorite family vacation or clothes from college (I kid you not) simply because they make me remember a fun time of my life.

Making people change is the most complex learning challenge there is. You have to prove to them that the pain in continuing their old behavior is less than the pain of learning and practicing new behavior. You have to give them a beneficial reason to change.

When we loaded bag, after bag, of items destined for the Goodwill, I finally got that change message loud and clear.

I need to get rid of our extra stuff immediately. It is literally weighing us down. Extra weight = discomfort. I finally get it.

I missed the Scrivener workshop (darn it) and it’s a shame because I really, *really* want to use Scrivener for this new idea. A non-fiction book just screams for that kind of organization.

So, if the mountain won’t come to me, then I must go to the mountain. This week I purchased the “Scrivener for Dummies” book (the author of this book is who presented the workshop – again darn, darn!) and along with watching tutorials, I’m going to try to figure this beast out.

I am going to write my decluttering-memoir book using Scrivener. Just watch me.

And I’ll be reporting back to all on how using this tool to write a book goes.


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). ( She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

22 thoughts on “Watch me use Scrivener to write a book

  1. I love your idea for your next book. I hired someone about three years ago to help declutter my home. It was worth every penny. Believe it or not it is still decluttered. Of course, I do not have any children at home.

  2. I’m not entirely convinced that Scrivener is right for me but your book idea is a great one. I’d be interested in hearing why you want to use Scrivener and how using it is helping or hindering you. Please share as you go along!

    As far as decluttering goes, I feel your pain. We moved a year and a half ago and we ended up getting rid of two 16 foot trailer loads of stuff. We just moved my MIL out recently and we got rid of even more that we’d had to move from place to place. She has a storage unit that’s full because she has so much clutter that she won’t part with. Maybe I’ll gift her your book (in ebook format, of course).

  3. Admire your decluttering. I’ve cleared an aunt’s home and my parents’ home, which is not good idea for a sentimental hoarder :-(( A lot of what I’ve kept is useful, furniture items and bits and bobs. I like using their chopping boards, love the side table that sits by reading chair, and treasure my Mum’s sewing cabinet. A friend has a free bench for my porch – which I really want because a proper seat would be good, rather than the “bench” I have made of a stool and an ottoman and cushions. Trying to accept the ottoman, a side table and stool will have to go to make room for the new bench!!

  4. Brilliant idea! I wish you all the best with it and will be following your progress. You have now inspired to do the job I’ve been putting off – clearing and sorting the cupboard where the kids’ board games and painting things and other bric-a-brac are kept. Baby steps!

  5. I am a Scrivener enthusiast, mostly for its organization and its power to control all the clutter that comes with book-writing, researching, drafting, note-taking, etc. It takes some time, and a lot of experimentation, but I’ve found it’s worth it!

  6. I love decluttering. This subject comes up so often this spring. Everyone around me is decluttering. I see many posts about decluttering. A book on the process is a great idea!

    When I started decluttering the first time, I was very motivated by Karen Kingston’s bestseller Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.

    But the biggest motivation to declutter came during my awakening process in 2012, as awakening is a process during which one lets go of the old self-image. That was like a 10-weeks non-stop compulsive decluttering diarrhea. It was the result of being able to let go of most of my former self-definitions (‘me,the dancer’, ‘me, the scientist’ etc.) . Then, I was able to release huge chunks of stuff.

    We really need very little to be happy.

  7. I’m in my seasonal de-clutter phase and it always feels so good to release ‘stuff’ and even some memories. Hub’s a hoarder so I work surreptitiously around him. Sh-h-h-h

  8. Good luck with the decluttering, Scrivener, and the new book, Wendy. We have been seriously paring down over the years, and as my boys move out, I’m trying to get rid of even more stuff. When we moved to Boston last summer, we only had 9000 lbs of household goods, about half of what the military would pay to move at this point in my husband’s career. I’m ridiculously proud of that. 😉

    Are you in the New England area? Just asking because I’ll be giving another 4-hour workshop this Saturday in Bow, NH. And while you’re going through SFD–thanks for buying!–contact me through my website if you get really stuck on anything.

  9. I don’t know Scrivener… heard a lot about it… I am currently using Word and InDesign… looking forward to follow your Scrivener writing adventure…

  10. 3 of my daughter’s clothes that either didn’t fit her or she didn’t wear – and the difference on a physical and energetic level was incredible. 2. I am writing a non- fiction book using scrivener for the first time, after doing the tutorial, and I love it. It isn’t particularly difficult, and I love to see it all laid out like that.

    • I don’t know what happened to he first part of my comment – I started off with saying that I gave away 2/3 of my daughter’s clothes on the weekend, what was too small and what she didn’t wear, and what a difference it has made to how her room feels.

  11. Once upon a time, I climbed on my bicycle to do a six-month, 10,000 solo bike ride around North America. With the exception of some books I stored, all of my belongings fit in the panniers of my bike. Of course I was single… 🙂 –Curt

  12. I love Scrivener and use it to write my novels. I’m not guru at it, but am crazy in love with it. Much joy in your newest project!

  13. I still don’t know 1/10th of Scrivener, but I LOVE it! I can work on finer points of it later, but love the organization of it. Would love to find a workshop neat Southern MS/New Orleans.

  14. Pingback: Learning to Use Scrivener | Live to Write – Write to Live

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