The spiel went something like this. With exaggerated hand gestures that mimicked a rather hand-eloquent jester, my friend told me about this fabulous new program I just had to have.
“It’s perfect for you!” When my skepticism refused to stay hidden as bidden, she raved a bit more. “Look, it does everything that Word does but better! There’s this cool cork board to pin up all your index cards—”
“I don’t use index cards when I’m writing.”
Nonplussed, she continued. “And all those notes you have for your outline? You don’t have to keep them in notebooks or in a dozen different Word files anymore. This thing holds it all!”
“I don’t have notes everywhere.”
Okay, that made her blink. “What?”
“Yeah. I open a new document, I give it a title and bam! Start typing When it’s done, I’m done!”
“Well…” She scratched her head. “But this will compile and convert it to the ebook formats for you!”
So help me, I swear she said it would also slice and dice my carrots, wash my kitchen floors, and organize my tax receipts. When I told her my books are converted for me by the publishers, she threw in her final weapon.
“You can even use Scrivener for blogging–write your blog posts in it!”
Why would I want to do that?
Look, as I’m sure you’ve realized, I had a blogging process quite similar to my writing one. Open the website, click “new post,” and bleed all over WordPress. Okay, not quite, but you get the literary picture.
“Wouldn’t you like never to lose another post again?”
“Why would I lose a post?”
It worked, though. Totally unintentionally, of course, but it worked. I lost her. Yep. I was a hopeless case for her Scrivener conversion cult. In fact, I think now she’s selling monogrammed purses that are essential oil infused for double duty. No only is there an oil for that, it’ll match your outfit!
Seriously, that’s how it made me feel.
She was so in love with Scrivener, that it felt like a new convert to a direct sales product. You know how it goes. They’re so enthusiastic they actually become convinced that their scented soaps will cure cancer and knock fifty pounds off you overnight! Man, I’d go for some of those!
But, I “won” NaNoWriMo that year, and it was only 20 bucks with the coupon, so I snagged it. Why not? It might be fun. And, I got to playing with it. Look, back then, not one of those bells or whistles tempted me. Not. One. My favorite part of Scrivener was that I could create an em dash by just hitting the hyphen twice and space. DONE. No more adding another letter, then space, then deleting the letter. What. A. PAIN.
And it was nice. It was. But I didn’t use it.
Then I had to write a book based on real events. Several things happened simultaneously. I couldn’t decide which one should go first. And if you’ve ever dragged stuff around in Word, you know it’s a pill. I became a convert. I don’t usually drag stuff around if you want the truth. But man, being able to, like if I get a better idea etc.
Add to that a few other cool features like being able to play my audio recordings right in Scrivener, and I converted. For books only. There was no way I’d ever use Scrivener for Blogging. I’d bought a whole course on how to use Scrivener–all its bells and whistles outlined for me. Didn’t even LOOK at the “Scrivener for Blogging” section.
So why am I writing a whole crazy blog post about Scrivener for Blogging?
Because I’m a recent convert. April is the first Camp NaNoWriMo for 2017. I’m writing this on April 11 and thus far, I’ve written over 28K words of…
You guessed it. Blog posts. When I decided to do that back in January, I realized something. If I write them all in my WordPress dashboard, I’ll be tempted to tinker with them. Get the images done.Make sure all the links are right. You know, that other, more tedious and time-consuming side of blogging. Yeah. Not a great way to ensure I hit my 50k words of blogging goal.
With huge reluctance, I set a Scrivener Project. I called it “Blog Posts 2017.” Because I’m original like that. Then in January, I slapped a few posts in there to get used to it. February, I barely posted anything so I didn’t have time, when I did, to mess with the formula. I could do that later. Besides, I would only be using Scrivener for blogging through April, right?
But starting in March, stuff shifted.
I changed the labels. Though I wanted to use the “Status” for something, I didn’t know what. A few days into the month, I created “Types.” My blogging life changed. Seriously.
Wacky friend who tried to convert me? I owe you. Big time. Oh, and forgive me for calling you wacky. We all know who is really the nut job around here. *whistles*
So, what are the best and worst reasons for using Scrivener for blogging?
- Because someone told you to. Seriously, if you read this post, sit down, start to do it, and hate it… and then three weeks later, you STILL hate it. That’s a pretty dumb reason to be using it. Go back to your old way. But, I do recommend giving it a shot. I wasn’t convinced. In fact, I was sure that in May, I’d never do it again. And, of course, I was wrong.
- Because you like to organize everything to the nth degree instead of actually doing it. Look, if you write one blog post a month and it’s about five hundred words on the latest novel updates, this system is probably overkill for you. The only advantage would be if you wanted to then take and compile all those posts into a document to use for planning the next book in the series or something.
- Because you think it’ll just “write the blog posts for you.” It won’t. Although, I think my wacky friend did make that claim. Obviously, she doesn’t speak for the company. I’m pretty sure that they’d be appalled at some of those claims. And if she did represent them, I’d want compensation for my filthy floors.
- The one-glance organizational system. I sit down to write and all I have to do is glance over at the binder and know exactly what I need to do next. Maybe I’m writing offline at a restaurant somewhere.. Well, then I can’t be doing the “Links & Images” portions. So all the blue ones are out. All the purple and aqua don’t need my attention. And well, the green is out, too. Because I can’t get into my dashboard to transfer the post in. But… I can finish some yellows!
Hint: if you use the headline analyzer by CoSchedule, create a bunch of headlines at a time. It’ll allow you to write posts offline easier. Or maybe I’m the only one who, by the time she gets a good ranking headline, has to take her post in a slightly different direction. Like this one! It was original “How to Use Scrivener for Blogging.” But that got a 69. I try for 75 or above. This one only got a 74, but I took it after about 50 tries!
- A one-glance way to see if your posts are balanced between promotional, personal, informational, instructional, reviews—etc. If you label each type of post like I show in the video below, it’s super easy to take a single glance and go, “Oh! Yeah. I’m heavy on the promo and have zero informational or personal. Better fix that. Seriously. So cool.
- Because if you ever wanted to turn your blog posts into a book, this would be the easiest way of doing it. You click “compile” on all the posts in one category and bam. You’ve got the rough draft of a book. How COOL IS THAT?
I use Scrivener’s current features with my own personalizations. So, on the right in the inspector, I created custom labels They are:
Month- pink (just for visual break up of the binder into sections)
To Write- orange
In Process- yellow
Labels & Images- blue
Most are fairly self-explanatory, but I want to write out the workflow just for those who need a quick refresher so you don’t have to rewatch the video (inserted at the end of this post).
Month: I don’t colorize it until I’ve created posts to write in that month. So, for example, until the third week of April, my August-December was plain. The minute I put an idea in there, it gets switched from “no status” to “Month.”
To Write: This happens the second I put an idea into Scrivener. If I just put a few placeholders in there, they get no label.
In Process: The minute I write actual copy—even if it’s just a line or two—it switches to “In Process.”
Written: This is self-explanatory, but yeah. When I’m done with the rough draft, I switch it over to “written.”
Labels & Images: This one is a bit different. Sometimes I skip the previous one and go straight to this if I immediately copy and paste into the WordPress post dashboard. But usually, I’m in writing mode. I just mark it written and move on. Later, I’ll come through and get all those green ones pasted into WordPress at once. Then they all get moved to blue.
This is where things get interesting. When it’s “blue” I know I need to do a lot of back-end work over at the blog site. I have to create images, find images, find links, figure out SEO stuff—all that nit-picky stuff you have to do but isn’t part of the writing process. So, when I have an hour to kill, I’ll come into Scrivener and pick the next blue bar in line. I choose the next, because I organize those in the order I plan to schedule them.
Hint: When you put your post in Scrivener, edit the publication date to what you want it to be, but don’t “Schedule” it yet. Just hit “save draft” as usual.
Scheduled: Once every bit of it is ready to go live, I hit the “Schedule” thing in WordPress and then change it in Scrivener. Simple and sweet.
Published: This one is a bit of a misnomer because it really means “Published & Shared.” I don’t get to switch from “Scheduled” to “Published” until I’ve added it to my Pinterest boards, shared on IG if it’s appropriate, Twitter—whatever. Then it switches out. Those rows of aqua make me so happy! 😀
But What about Status?
Those I set when I create it up there at “To Write.” Originally, I didn’t have it done that way. I just figured it out a day or two before the video, so there might still be a few unlabeled ones on there. Sorry.
The status options I changed to “type.” I created the following types:
- book review
- writing Instruction
- “Make it sticky”
The “Make it Sticky” is just there to remind myself on the month views that I need to do that–give my posts all that SEO juice they need.
And, here’s the video of how that workflow… works! Hope it helps!
Chautona lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert where she strives to use story to connect readers to the Master Storyteller.