WRITING KNOWHOW Using Scrivener to time manage

In the second of her posts on Scrivener, Caroline Deacon explains how the system can help you keep time on your side with some handy short cuts. 

If you like to ‘just write’ - put the words on the page, one after the other, then believe it or not, Scrivener is great for you as well, because there will come a point when your work in progress gets too long to handle comfortably. Last time, we looked at the structure of a scrivener project. Being able to see your whole manuscript summarised onto index cards allows you to navigate around quickly and efficiently.

Let’s say you’ve reached 25,000 words, and you need to remember how you described that policeman your protagonist met in the first few chapters. Using Word, you could do a search for the word ‘policeman’ and you might find it, but what if you’re writing a police procedural and you’ve used that word 100 times? Or let's say you want to check what you said - if anything - about the weather in part two. How are you going to search for that? You’ll probably waste a lot of time reading through the whole manuscript to find the section you need. But Scrivener index cards and keywords let you track all that information.

Girl in woods
I can see clearly: it's not just the protagonist
who needs a little help out of the woods.
Credit: Pixbay.com

Of course you do need to record it as you go along, but this becomes second nature when you work in Scrivener, and you can include a surprising amount of information on one card.

If you are really into efficient time management, then you’ll like the project targets. Set goals for the whole project and also for each writing session. Open up the session target box and it will automatically reset itself for that day. Let’s say you want your novel to be 75,000 words long and you want to write 1667 words per day (take note, Nanowrimo fans). Each day, when you open the project, you will see how what your overall total is and as you write, you can watch your progress for the day. And Scrivener only counts words which are actually going in the novel. So research notes, synopses, outlines, character and setting sketches - none of these count towards your running total.

You can find part 1 of this series on Scrivener here.
Header photo credit: John Tenniel, Wikicommons


Caroline Deacon lives in Edinburgh and is the author of several childcare books. She now writes YA. Follow her on Twitter @writingdilemmas / www.carolinedeacon.com

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