(Transcript) The simplest way to write your book in scrivener!

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Morgan MacDonald : All right. Today we are Scoping about Scrivener ( 
https://www.literatureandlatte.com/ ) . I’m going to show you THE hands-down, simplest way to use Scrivener. Because if you’re anything like ME, you LIKE using new tools – it’s kind of fun – but it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. So I don’t want the TOOL to overwhelm you to the point that you’re like, “Oh my gosh! I have to read the instruction manual, and take a course, before I can start writing in this software.” The tools are fun, but they’re also a really good excuse to procrastinate.

 

So if you’re interested in using Scrivener, but you want to avoid that tendency to procrastinate, I’m going to show you the SIMPLEST way to write a book. I know it works, because this is how I wrote MY book, that was published in June. We are literally going to look at my Scrivener file, and how I wrote my book. And when you see this you’re going to be like, “But it’s so SIMPLE!” And I’m going to say, “Yes. Yes it is. And I wrote my book in less than three months, because it is was a really simple system.”

 

All right. So first you should know that I take Scope Notes for you, because when I watch Scopes I’m usually cooking dinner, or hanging out, or eating lunch, and don’t have a pen with me, even if I WANT to take notes. So I take notes FOR you. So I’m going to show you that link, [and I’m] ALSO going to show you a link to a webinar that I’m doing on Wednesday. The webinar is called… [irrelevant comment] … “The Five Essential Habits of Successful Authors”. I’m doing that on Wednesday. I’m going to walk through all of my best advice that I give to authors BEFORE they start writing, so that their writing is successful and productive. So let me show you those links really quick…

 

[change of camera view to computer screen]

 

For the Scope Notes go over to my web site http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope . When you do that you’ll go to this awesome page where I keep ALL of the replays, notes, and transcripts. So you don’t ever have to worry about that. Then if you go to http://www.paperravenbooks.com/5habits  you can check this webinar that we’re doing, called “The Five Essentials Habits of Successful Authors”. So if you want to write a book, and you feel like you are procrastinating, and making excuses, and can’t quite get started, you need these five habits to get started, stay motivated, and finish your book.

 

So we’re doing that next week. Look at that timer. Doesn’t that look [contending?]…”5 days…22 hours, 9 minutes… 21 seconds…” Anyway, it will be really fun. I’ve done a couple of webinars [and] they’ve been awesome. So I’d love to see you guys on that.

 

[change of camera to face view]

 

All right. Let’s get going. Oh no! We can’t get going. You don’t even know who I am! I am Morgan Gist MacDonald . I’m a writing coach, editor, and author, and I help people write books. I walk you through from your initial idea, step-by-step, chapter-by-chapter, through your entire manuscript [to] get your book done, edited, proofread, [and] ready to publish and submit.

 

Darnell Cureton (https://twitter.com/skim_media ) : Hello Morgan! In bad area. Will have to watch replay later!

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Darnell, I haven’t seen you in a while. Okay. Yeah. Watch the replay later. That’s totally cool. It will be on Katch or YouTube. So I’ll catch you later Darnell…

 

All right. So I help you guys write your books. And if you have been in the writing sphere you know [that] Scrivener is an often talked about software. You also probably have heard people talk about these courses that they recommend you take in order to write a book in Scrivener. I HAVE TAKEN those courses, and I DON’T use the information, because I just like things simple. I can’t be bothered with all of these little keyboard shortcuts, and folder organization systems, and stuff like that.

 

So if you’re intrigued by Scrivener, but intimidated by the amount of information you might need to get going… [irrelevant comment] … I’m going to show you MY Scrivener screen. This is the book that I wrote. I started writing it in February, [and] published it June, just using this ONE Scrivener file.

 

The reason [why] I like Scrivener – [as contrasted] with Word – [is that] when you write a book in Word I usually recommend that you have separate Word documents for each chapter, because Word corrupts really easily, and if you lose a file you don’t want it to be the WHOLE BOOK. You’d rather it be a CHAPTER, right?

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Will have to catch the start later as this sounds interesting.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Yeah. Thanks. If you need to catch it later that’s totally cool. It’ll be on YouTube and Katch… So you don’t want to lose the whole book, right… Hey Renia… But it gets really cumbersome if you [have] different Word files for each chapter, plus research and footnotes and references, and all of that stuff. [So] you accumulate dozens and dozens of Word files that are in all these different folders. Scrivener solves that organization problem.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Separate chapters is how I start, then I combine them when I get nearer to the end.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Separate chapters is how I start, and then [you] combine them… Yes. And “Red Herring” what’s your name, so I can call you by your actual name?” [laughter] … That is exactly right. Honestly, you do the same thing in Scrivener. You start, [by writing] the first draft in Scrivener, but when you work with an editor you cannot use Scrivener. It’s terrible… Jo. Hey Jo! [laughter] … Yeah, so it’s true. Whether you are working in Word, and writing in separate chapters, and then combining at the end. Or [if] you’re working in Scrivener and then [exporting] at the end, either way you have to create ONE file to work with your editor, back and forth. I WISH there was a better way to work with authors [as] I AM an editor, and so I have to do this process all of the time. But right now that’s just how it is.

 

The problem that Scrivener solves is that it allows you to store LOTS of files within ONE interface, and it’s very simple to click from one file to the next. So if you need to read different parts of a chapter, or copy and paste, or reference something and then bring that reference into the text, you only have ONE window open. It’s really easy to navigate between windows. You can imagine the opposite, [as in] when you’re working in Word, and lots of different files, you might have anywhere from twelve to twenty files open, which if your computer is old, like mine, would crash your computer. So Scrivener opens ONE file, and you can easily access ALL [of] the different stuff in your book.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Is it free software?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … It is NOT free. It’s 45 dollars, but I use it ALL of the time for ALL of my writing… So today I’m just showing you the book – how I wrote the BOOK in Scrivener – and tomorrow I’m showing you how I write EVERYTHING, on an ongoing basis, in Scrivener. So let me flip you guys around so you can see what I’m talking about…

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Not expensive then.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Yeah. It’s NOT that expensive, $45 (USD). I mean, it’s NOTHING compared to Microsoft software.

 

[change of camera view to computer screen]

 

Okay. So when you open up a Scrivener file it looks like this… [irrelevant comment]… Okay, “recent projects”… I cleverly titled it “book”, because in addition to being simple I’m really clever. Okay. This is it. This is every file for my book.

 

You can see [that] Scrivener allows you to have folders, and documents WITHIN folders, [and] you can click INSTANTLY between them. There’s no lag time, [and] no opening up lots of different windows.

 

This is my “free writing” folder. I free write for a full WEEK before I start actually WRITING  a book. So you can see, I just date them. This is my free writing for February 16th and 17th. I don’t know why I put them in the same one, but that’s okay. So this is my first week of free writing… Oh, thanks Jo, for inviting people… This is literally me just sitting down, starting a timer for 20 minutes, and writing. Just trying to figure out in my brain – talking to myself – WHAT am I going to write about? I just let myself roll, [by letting] myself type as fast as I can.

 

By the end of about a week… Welcome “Dave’s Device”… I write what I can a “rough organization”. This is NOT an outline, but it’s SIMILAR to an outline.  So this is my first chapter of the book :  “Myths and Truths of Becoming A Successful Author”. [Here] I just wrote lines that I wanted to talk about in the book. There’s some myth, [and] truths. I wanted a section on why you WRITE a book. I wanted a section on how to prevent self-sabotage…

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Looks like a good system.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Thank you. Thanks Jo!… Yeah. It’s worked really well. So it’s NOT so structured like an outline. It’s just like my, kind of, thoughts, line by line, of what I want to cover. Yeah, it’s pretty long, but it allowed me – when I was ready to start writing – [to] just start at the very beginning, and I was like, “Okay. Now I’m just going to write straight through.”

 

And I liked being able to have it open in Scrivener, because I could be in my chapter – so you can see here [that] there’s the folder area for the manuscript, and the front matter. Then the chapters. This is it, like “Chapter #1”, “Chapter #2”, “Chapter #3.” Okay, [and here] is a really cool trick. You can do this in Word also. But I like being able to do a split screen. So in one screen I have my rough organization here, and then I split the screen – split horizontally.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Can you export it into Word for formatting?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Can you export to Word for formatting?… Yes. Yes you can. I can show you how to do that, in fact. Okay. So here’s the rough organization in the top, and then I [can] open up my chapter. Then I [can] be looking at the rough organization while [I’m] writing, and I [am] literally writing straight through. Not all in one sitting, of course, but 20 to 30 minutes a day. Like everybody, [I’m] really busy, so I was writing in 30 minute chunks in the morning. I had a newborn at the time, and she’s 10 months old now, but she was four months when I started the book writing process. I would get up, give her her 4:30am feeding, put her back down, and write for 30 or 40 minutes every day. In three months I had a book published.

 

So [here’s] all my chapters. It’s NOT a super long book. It’s like 30,000 words, or something.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : [I] remember those days.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] I remember those days… Oh yes. I’m still in the thick of them, Jo… Okay. And then I have my endnotes and my appendices down here. Then I have some other miscellaneous notes here, But you’ll notice [that] all of this is super accessible.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Do you self-publish, or traditional publish?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Jo [asks if I]  self-publish or traditional publish… [I] self-publish. We can talk a little bit about that at the end too. We can do a little bit of Q & A, and talk about the differences between the types of publishing.

 

[So] that’s it guys.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : I wrote two books after my baby arrived.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … You wrote two books after your baby arrived,.. Yup, that’s awesome. It’s a HARD phase of life, but [you also] realize how precious your time is, and start using it for more valuable things.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : None published.

 

Morgan MacDonald : …Oh, but you COULD publish them…

 

Alrighty, so I just want to RE-EMPHASIZE that Scrivener does NOT have to be hard. It can be USEFUL because the interface allows you to move quickly from one separated section to another. It also allows you to rearrange things. So if you want to write in smaller sections, this little corkboard thing allows you to move things around into different orders. Fiction people especially like this. [We] nonfiction people are usually such linear thinkers that we don’t care so  much.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : What did I do with my time before kids?! So much wasted!

 

Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] What did I do with time before the kids. So much wasted… I know, it’s true [and] crazy. I feel the same way…

 

Okay. Let me show you how to export. So when you’re finished writing you highlight all of the relevant files that you want to export. I don’t usually worry about exporting endnotes and appendices right now, because your editor is not going to care about them at first. You should do your first full edit before you worry about appendices and references.

 

So here is it, “compile”. There are different features that you can toggle on and off.

 

Jo Smedley ( https://twitter.com/Redherringgames ) : Gotta go. Will catch the rest on the replay.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Gotta go, Jo… Okay. Yeah. Catch the rest on replay.It will be on my YouTube channel, and Katch. Thanks for joining. Catch you later…

 

There is one thing that I usually change… In the “transformations” you can straighten out your “smart quotes”. I like to LEAVE the “smart quotes”. [You can also] convert your end dashes to hyphens. There [are] other things here where you can convert italics to underlines, or remove highlighting, [and] stuff like that.  

 

So I usually try to pay attention to THIS page, the “transformations” page. Then I just EXPORT by [hitting] “compile for docx”, hit compile, and it creates a new file that I then share.

 

Oh, here’s a quick little tip, too. I always, always, always [do this]. This is a naming convention that EVERYONE in the world should adopt [laughter]. Put your date [and] name on your file. I do : year, month, day, and name. That way, when you go back and forth with your editor, or co-author, you know WHEN this file was touched last, and by whom. So, export. That’s it. [It’s] so easy. All right, let me flip you back around.

 

[change of camera to face view]

 

That’s it. It’s so simple. but so much better than Word. It’s much better than Word, but not so crazy that you need to take a course to figure out how to write a book in Scrivener. You just DON’T. Just open it up, play around with it, create a minimum number of files. Then as you get used to it, maybe your first book or article – or whatever you’re writing – is really simple, and [then] maybe your next book has a lot more research, or images, or whatever. Then you can ADD layers of complexity as you become familiar.

 

Bluesparkcol (https://twitter.com/CourtneyOLIN ) :   Is it better to use on a Mac?

 

Morgan MacDonald : ..Is it better to use on a Mac… I have only used it on Mac, but it IS available on Windows too, so I think it’s really similar. I think it’s basically the same interface… Was it Jo who asked about publishing?

 

Bluesparkcol (https://twitter.com/CourtneyOLIN ) :   Not trying to get into the whole Mac vs. Potcoin [debate]

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Trying not to get into the whole Mac versus PC… I know, those are dangerous waters, huh?… I mean, honestly, they’re BOTH good. It does look different, and so I don’t know all of the different options. But there should still be a compile feature, and a transformations tab where you can change those things. And now matter WHAT you’re using, you should ALWAYS use a naming convention, with your date and name.

 

I think it was Jo who asked about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and maybe she had to leave. But just very – and [then] we can do another Scope about this another time. A traditional publisher would be FANTASTIC. That would obviously be route A. If you are able to land a traditional publishing gig, go for it. That would be fantastic.

 

But it’s not a walk down a rosy garden path. Because what most people don’t know about traditional publishers is [that], A : their developmental editor is probably going to tear your manuscript apart, and make you rewrite it. And B : [laughter] [is that] YOU have to publicize everything YOURSELF. You have to sell your own book. That’s just the way it is.

 

If you think about a big publishing house [which] puts out forty, fifty, sixty, [or] seventy books a year, and they have a publicity staff of MAYBE five or six people. So that means they’re putting out MAYBE a book a week, and they have five or six people to manage the publicity. Yeah, if you’re a brand new author they’re not going to spend their time on you. I’m sorry. Unfortunately that’s just what most people don’t realize about the big, traditional publishing world. So you have to sell your own book.

 

EVEN IF the traditional publisher takes on your project, gives you editors, designers, formats it, sets up distribution, and [does] all of that for you, YOU still have to sell your own book. So MOST publishers will NOT enter into an agreement with you UNLESS they think that you can sell 2,500 copies of a book. That’s a minimum print run for most big publishers. They want to know that you can sell your 2,500 copies so that they can make a bare minimum profit.

 

So if you can’t sell that [because] you don’t have a platform, an email list, or a social media following of AT LEAST ten thousand followers, the traditional publisher is going to look at you and say, “We don’t think that you can sell 2,500 copies of this book, so we’re not going to publish it.”

 

Enter self-publishing. Self-publishing is now the NEW way to build your platform so that you can GET to traditional publishing. It has now become an intermediate STEP, where you prove yourself, gain your following, and can then level up into the world of traditional publishing.

 

That’s MY take on it. I WILL say that OCCASIONALLY – just occasionally – you get picked up by a traditional publisher, and it’s fantastic. So there’s no harm in TRYING the traditional publishing route first. Create your proposal. Write out a couple of chapters. Write out the WHOLE BOOK if you want. Then send it to the traditional publishers, and maybe you’ll get some good feedback. Maybe someone will give you some direction that’s helpful. Then you take that feedback and return to “Plan B” probably [laughter], to be perfectly honest, You return to the self-publishing route.

 

So I think there’s one of two ways to approach publishing. One is [to] suck it up, do self-publishing, and start building your platform. Then hopefully you will eventually be able to up-level into traditional publishing. The second option is to go ahead and craft your proposal, write your sample chapters, get an agent, send out query letters, and hear back from publishers. You MIGHT get picked up, but more than likely you’ll probably just get really good FEEDBACK, so you can go back to your book, revise, update, and then self-publish. That’s, kind of, how I see it.

 

Anway, any other questions. What time is it? Oh, it’s been a long Scope. I’m trying to keep [these Scopes] shorter – like 15-20 minutes – because my GOAL here is for you guys to be able to listen to a little writing inspiration, and then use the rest of your lunch break to go do some writing.

 

So I [generally] Scope every day – well [more like] four out of five days a week  [laughter]. I Scope during the lunchtime time frame, like the 11am – 1pm Central time hours. And we talk about writing, publishing, tools, inspiration, motivation, and how writing can change your life, because I REALLY believe it can.

 

So thank you for tuning in today. I am Morgan Gist MacDonald. My website is at http://www.paperravenbooks.com . And we’re doing an AWESOME webinar next week. [You can go to] http://www.paperravenbooks.com/5habits to get signed up. So thank you. Tomorrow we’re [going to be] talking [about] Scrivener, and how I do ALL of my writing in Scrivener. So we’re going to be looking at blog posts, videos, longer writing, and podcasts, and how I organize all of the different TYPES of writing in ONE interface. So that will be fun too.

 

Then I’m taking suggestions about what y’all what to talk about NEXT week. So I’ll be on Twitter later at @morgangmac ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac ), and I’ll catch you later. Bye.
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