8 Ways Scrivener Will Help You Become A Proficient Writer Overnight

Using Scrivener for writing and publishing has changed my life as an author.
Scrivener for writing

For my first book, I used MS Word and it was a nightmare to cut and paste everything, as I’m not a linear writer. When I discovered Scrivener, the world became a better place! Then I discovered I could use it to publish in Kindle and ePub formats. Wow! I now recommend it to everyone.

In this article, Joseph Michael, from LearnScrivenerFast, explains how Scrivener can help you. I also highly recommend Joe’s training course, which will help you utilize the software faster, saving you time and also money if you use it for ebook formatting.

Webster’s dictionary defines Proficient as:

“Well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge.”

Now that sounds pretty good right? Since we are talking about writing let’s take a look at a few synonyms for proficient:

  • Skilled
  • Experienced
  • Accomplished

I particularly like the sound of accomplished. How about you?

So how do you become a proficient or accomplished writer?

Well first let’s start by taking a look at those who are where we want to be, those who have “mastered their craft.” One thing I think you will notice is that they all agree that it takes lot’s of time, persistence, and practice. But there is also another key ingredient that is often overlooked.

Having the right tools and knowing how to use them.


For example,

  • Try to imagine a carpenter building a house without his tools.
  • Or a painter without his brush.
  • How about a dentist fixing teeth with only his hands?
  • How would you feel about a doctor operating on your loved one with substandard tools?

You get the point.

Now let’s talk about writers.

What tools do writers have available to them?


Photo Credit: ®DS via Compfight cc

It used to be only a pen and paper.
Then came the typewriter that changed everything.
Then the computer word processor.

Now let me introduce you to the most powerful tool to date, available to writers of all kinds.

Meet Scrivener.

Scrivener Is A Proficient Writer’s #1 Tool of Choice


Described by Michael Marshal Smith as “The Biggest Software Advance For Writers Since The Typewriter.” – Scrivener has everything a writer needs and then some.

Let’s take a look at some of them now and how they can help you.

8 Ways Scrivener Will Help You Become A Better Writer Overnight

1. It will help you organize. Scrivener is very similar to a physical binder in the fact that it allows you to capture everything in one place. You can do all your brainstorming, outlining, note-taking, and writing without ever leaving the program.

Scrivener Binder

2. It will help you block out distractions. Sometimes you need complete focus and concentration to write that next scene. Scrivener has an awesome distraction free composition mode that takes over your whole screen and allows you to focus only on your writing.

Distraction Free mode

Image: PlaceIt

3. It will help you stay motivated and on target. Set yourself a session goal of 1,000 words or even an entire manuscript target. Than watch your progress bar turn from red to yellow to green and feel that exciting momentum start to build.

Scrivener Targets

Scrivener will even notify you once you hit your target.


And on top of that it has an extremely powerful statistics feature that allows you to track every last detail.

Scrivener Statistics

4. It Allows You To Write Now & Re-Order Later. Whether you are a plotter or pantser, Scrivener can cater to your own unique writing style.


You can either plan out your entire book in the binder first and then fill in the sections or simply write on the fly and move things around later.

5. It has a realistic virtual corkboard to help you brainstorm and storyboard.

Scrivener Corkboard

Image: PlaceIt

You have to play around with this yourself to see just how awesome this feature really is. You can write notes on the front of the cards, rearrange them, and even mark them with labels.

6. It will help you collect all your research in one place.


Take all those webpages, pdf’s, images, and even Evernote notes and import them right into Scrivener.

evernote and scrivener

Then choose the “split screen” option and write with your research and editor side-by-side. No more switching back and forth between programs.


7. It allows you to be creative by giving you a powerful safety net feature called Snapshots. Over time your manuscript may take on many different forms. Sometimes you get an idea and just want to run with it, but you are not quite sure how it will work out. No problem. Simply take a snapshot of your manuscript before starting.

Scrivener Snapshots

This will preserve it in its current state. Now write till you’re heart’s content and if you don’t like it simply click the “Roll Back” button and revert to the previous version. If you want to see what is different between the two versions – click the nifty little “Compare” button.

Snapshot Compare

8. It will format your book for you making self-publishing a cinch. When you are finished with your masterpiece it’s time to compile. Scrivener’s compile feature is one of the most powerful tools around. Just tell Scrivener what kind of platform you want to compile your book for and it will walk you through the rest. Within one menu you can effortlessly include all your front matter pages – title page,  copyright, dedication, acknowledgments etc. If you are creating an eBook then Scrivener will automatically handle the clickable table of contents for you. Drop in your cover art, fill in your meta data, then hit compile and you have yourself a publish-ready, perfectly formatted book ready to be uploaded to your platform of choice.

Scrivener Export Options

Hopefully you can see just how powerful a tool that Scrivener is for writers of all kinds. These are just a handful of the many features that will help you to perfect your craft and become that accomplished writer that you know you are.

If you don’t already have this amazing tool in your writer’s toolbox then I highly encourage you to try it out and see if doesn’t help you become more efficient and proficient in your writing.

Do you use Scrivener and find it useful? Or do you have any questions about Scrivener? Please join the conversation below.

joseph michaelJoseph Michael is the coach & mastermind behind LearnScrivenerFast.com which helps his audience to learn how to use Scrivener in less than an hour. My testimonial for the course is as follows:

Learn Scrivener Fast is the most comprehensive and easy-to-use guide to Scrivener, with short, actionable videos that will help you write more efficiently as well as publish more easily. There are tips and tricks for the newbie and the more experienced, I’m learning so much and I’ve been using Scrivener for years.”
Joanna Penn, www.TheCreativePenn.com also writing as J.F.Penn, NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, www.JFPenn.com

Joseph has also experienced success with his other sites including — recently hitting 2 million page views on his blog “efficient life skills”. He has been featured on Lifehacker.com & several other popular podcasts such as Entrepreneur on Fire.

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  1. Cara Weston says

    Thanks for this article! It’s going to be very useful, I suspect, since I just bought Scrivner last night.

    I am wondering about how it will function for a book series. I’m writing a sci-fi space opera, and I’ll be releasing the books as a series of novellas, and then complete books one, two, and three. I wonder if it will be better to keep it as one big project and then just tag the scenes appropriately to be able to compile novella-by-novella, and then book-by-book? Or should each book be its own project?

    Any other tips for someone in my situation? I have a ton of character and research information to keep track of. That’s why I bought the software–I just need to learn how to use it now!

    • says

      Cara–I have a similar issue. Scrivener made such a big difference in my first book, which is finally in editing. I’m just getting underway with the second in the series and am considering releasing book two as a series of novellas. My inclination is to make them separate projects as it seems easier for me to manage each published work product as a project, compiling novellas into one book as a separate work project when it’s time for that. But I’d love to hear more advanced users chime in as I’d also like to know if there is a more efficient way.

  2. says

    I’ve just been watching the recorded version of the webinar, thanks so much for making this available. I downloaded the free trial Scrivener a while back and took a wee look and though cripes, and put it into what my Australian cousin calls my too-hard basket. It looks overwhelming, but what I really want to know is: how does it affect your actual writing? if at all. A bit of me thinks the more technology between the writer and the written the less, well, human it might end up being, if you get my drift. I’d be interested to hear comments on this.

    • says

      Patsy–I have to say for me, Scrivener helped me get out of my own way. It helped me organize my thoughts throughout the process and visually see my novel. What felt jumbled in my mind could get sorted out quickly in Scrivener. I was using Word previously but Scrivener is closer to how my brain thinks about writing. It’s made a huge improvement in the way I approach the process. There’s a psychological effect I’ve noticed. No matter the size and scope or complexity of what I’m working on, I now know I have a tool to help me sort it out and look at it. It reduced overwhelm.

  3. says

    I downloaded Scrivener about a week ago and haven’t even opened it up yet. This helped to get me a little more excited about giving it a try.

  4. says

    I can’t say enough about Scrivener! I honestly believe that I’d still be pecking through my first draft if I had continued in Word. The project targets are such an amazing tool to keep pushing you forward. Also, having all of my research together was invaluable. And there’s still so much in the program left for me to explore. If you’re on the fence…I’d say jump!

  5. says

    Scrivener seems to be an interesting tool. However, you did not mention readability checks (like Flesch-Kincaid reading ease or FOG/SMOG, Gunning, automated readability test and others). Seeing that on average US Americans read at eighth grade level (which means, it being a bell curve, about 30% might even be at sixth grade level) we need to pay attention to readability issues. The US Army and Navy created their own authoring tools because of this (weapons and gear are no good if soldiers can’t understand the manual). increasingly search engines seem to take this into account as well. So if one article/blog post was at Flesch-Kincaid 50 and another at, say, 70 (and thus maybe readable at seventh grade level, all other things being equal, the SERPs would show the latter above the former – and we all know what that means for traffic. And even if we’re the only article in town on a certain subject – if readers can’t understand it, bounce rates will go up.

  6. says

    Scrivener saved my marriage. Okay, maybe not, but it made me a much more pleasant person to live with. Now that I’m kicking my self-publishing empire into high gear, scriv sure makes it easier to juggle several projects at once. No more note cards!

  7. Gigi says

    You say that Evernote notes can be imported into Scrivener – wondering how you did that? I use Windows and most things I’ve read suggested (a) exporting notes to html and importing into Scrivener or (b) running an Applescript to export notes to RTF files and then import. Wondering how you do it?

  8. says

    I’ve been using Scrivener for all my writing the last three years. It works great for novels and short stories, but can also be used for blog posts, research papers, thesis and much more. I love being able to import templates depending on what my current project is. It has made beginning new projects much easier. Feel free to troll around my site, I’ve uploaded a bunch of them (yes, all free). Once you get past the initial learning curve Scrivener really is a writer’s dream.

  9. says

    This could not have been more timely! I have used Scrivener for a while, but never felt I was getting the full use out of it. I just got the latest version on my latest laptop, beginning a new project, and I’m already getting frustrated. I am definitely going to look into this course. I am sure glad I found the Author 2.0 Blueprint and all these very helpful links, including this one.


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