Learning to Use Scrivener


I first learned about Scrivener, a program to help writers organize long-form projects, from a post by J.A. Hennrikus, right here on Live to Write, Write to Live. A few months later, she posted again about Scrivener, this time about taking a course about how to use it.


I typed on a Smith Corona before I bought my first computer for word processing.

That’s pretty much when I grayed out. I was happy with Microsoft Word, which I’d been using since I bought my first computer in 1984. It was a big advance over the Smith-Corona portable typewriter, which I’d had since high school. That first edition of Microsoft Word was pretty much just like typing, only better. I was good with that.

Then Wendy E. N. Thomas posted about Scrivener, inviting readers to watch her write a book using this tool. Good to her word, she posted a step-by-step guide, a blog post using Scrivener, A.T.T.P, a guide to nailing an outline, and Scrivener Simplified.

I still wasn’t convinced. I was working on other projects with paper, hole-punch, scissors, paperclips and tape. This system was working for me.

Then my writing-buddy brother started using Scrivener, telling me how useful it was for writing plays. He’d share his screen with me, trying to make me believe that this would make my writing life easier.

It was starting to feel like a conspiracy.

Meanwhile, I was sputtering on and off on two long-form projects. Every time I returned to them, I had to reorganize.

I finally got fed up.

It was time, I decided, to try Scrivener.

I’ve downloaded the free, thirty-day trial – which gives you thirty days of actual use, regardless of how many days or weeks it takes you to use them. And when I get stuck, I turn to the many videos and lessons on the Literature and Latte website.

It’s slow-going, and I’m not yet in love with the program, but I am determined to learn it so I can get on with my writing life.

Deborah Lee Luskin is a writer, speaker and educator who blogs weekly at Living in Place. Learn more at www.deborahleeluskin.com

12 thoughts on “Learning to Use Scrivener

    • Thanks to the company’s generous free-trial, I haven’t bought the program yet. But after using it for thirty days, I should be in a good position to decide if it’s worth the one-time $45 cost.

      • I really enjoy the tool, albeit the VERY high learning curve. I’ve put enough hours into it that I definitely got my $40 worth, but a tip is that it goes on sale around November almost annually. Usually half-price or even lower.

  1. Hi Deborah Lee , you remember me ? long ago in another country I took some cues from yous , I lived to write and now write as I live and breathe out these words to my teachers of revelation and creative angst , still working on borrowed lap tops exposed to the worst trolling confluence of wants, malcontents, discontents and miscreants . Still in smoky Vermont ? Who were your sweet homey folkies in the north woods ? A grand love story the old loving couple at the quiet end of some Vermont maple syrpal revolution of creativity and nature’s pipe dreams … did they live to see the weeds glow in gold ? unlike their days of old . Much well wishing toward you and yours dear Deborah the Austin tale bearer , Shalom all over you .

    • Hello, Sir! It’s been a long time, but of course I remember such a devoted fan of Rose and Percy finding each other INTO THE WILDERNESS! Thanks for all your good wishes. Peace be with you.

  2. I’ve toyed with the idea of Scrivener once in a while, but always decided I didn’t need it. But maybe I do. Please let us know through future blog posts how it’s going and if you’d recommend it.

  3. If you’ve used Scrivener for a few hours. And you still don’t know whether you need it. Then you don’t need it. It doesn’t take 30days to learn it’s value.

  4. Pingback: Share the Love ~ February | Gail Johnson

  5. I got Scrivener half price for winning NANO a couple of years ago. I dived right (write?) in — wanting to write, not spend time learning a program. I’m not sure it was the correct way to go about it… because now, two years later, I’m sure I’ve missed out on ways I could be using it. And now, they keep trying to get me to upgrade, and, yes, I still need to use my time to write, not learn a program. Sigh… Let us all know what you decide…

    • Yes, it was my resistance to learning a program that discouraged me from trying it for so long. But as I was writing on two different projects, my work was getting more and more tangled and disorganized. That’s when I made the leap. It’s a steep learning curve, but as with everything technological, I learn on a need-to-know basis, so learning is ongoing – and so is my writing. Thanks for your comment.

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