Paper & Pixels

I grew up with books on paper. Now I use the internet a lot for finding out things, as well as the wonderful Wellington Public Library, but I still like to have a printed instruction manual when I’m learning new software. I may have crossed over, but I haven’t given up my old ways.

Thinking about this has come out of doing research for the novel I’m writing. For the first time I’m not writing on a word processing programme like TextEdit or Word or Pages, but on software especially developed for working on complex documents. I read a lot of reviews of specialised writing software on the web and one name kept coming up, along with enthusiastic reviews. I hadn’t previously heard of Scrivener, but I went with the endorsements of multiple users and bought it.

There are good online tutorials provided by the makers of Scrivener, but, yes, I bought a “how to use Scrivener” book as well. I use both. Often.

What I’m liking about the software are the organising tools, (an improvement on the colour-coded post- it notes I had all over my door) the ease of moving between files, being able to have two and more files open at once ( not nested) and the ability to save a web page directly to the research section and subsequently open it offline. Here’s a screenshot showing one of several ways of organising and re-organising your writing.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 10.34.26 AM

Of course I have a large ring binder, in sections and subsections, of notes from books I’ve read, pages from magazines and papers, even some printouts from web pages.

No excuses, then, for not getting on with the writing. I can even, with Scrivener, create myself a computer screen that displays only the page I am writing on. Or I can have files all over the screen where I can see them that will open with a single click. There’s room on my desk for some open folders.

It’s a “both and” situation, not an “either/or” one. As The Miracles sang in the 1960s, “I like it like that.”