Medical writing with Scrivener – books, blogs, anything…
Scrivener is fairly well known amongst fiction writers. It has enormous functionality and it can be used just as easily for writing non-fiction. It was originally written for Mac (and was one of the reasons I came back to Macs after a few dispiriting years of being distracted and frustrated by Windows) but there is a Windows version now available. Scrivener is particularly useful for longer projects but it can be easily adapted for all kinds of writing. I have a number of different Scrivener files that I use for different non-fiction writing projects and ideas. These include a non-fiction book and my blog but I also use a Scrivener file for any freelance writing where I can record market research, pitches, article research, drafts and finally PDFs of the published articles.
It is easy to create new text documents in any folder in Scrivener. You can then write each small section and move them around to get the order correct. In fiction this lends itself well to the natural breakdown of a novel into books, chapters, sections and scenes. The book can be written one scene at a time and then scenes can be easily moved around. The ‘scrivenings’ mode allows any combination of scenes to be viewed and read together. Non-fiction can, of course, also be split down and each section written independently. It works just as well. Rather than managing a big unwieldy Word document (or multiple Word documents in a folder) bigger projects are logically split into their individual elements. It is also very easy to import all kinds of media and other documents (such as PDFs of research papers) into Scrivener where they are easily available for reference.
But Scrivener is not just for books, dissertations or other long works. Any writing that tends to hang together can be collected together in one place.
For instance, I write the regular Clinical Update for SMMGP. Check out this screencast for a quick tour of how I use Scrivener to help with that.
Scrivener can be used to write your blog. It gives me an easy way to take a look back at previous posts (mainly to check I’m not recycling my usual tics and cliches) and it is the perfect place to jot down ideas, collate research, write drafts and refine posts. As I show in the screencast I’ve found the splitscreen option particularly useful. The thing about Scrivener is that it is a bit of a beast – the features and functionality are stunning. But you don’t need to know much about it to get cracking and the introduction videos and support at www.literatureandlatte.com are excellent.