Thursday, October 1, 2020

Scrivener for Organization

by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Creatives are not generally known for their organizational skills. But authors who want to be in the publishing game for the long-term know how important it is to find a method that works for them and keeps all the aspects of their writing life organized. For me, it's Scrivener for organization.

Why does it matter?


I don’t have time to be unorganized. 


1. I write books. Everything else I write, in some way, relates back to this. So everything I write needs to make sense for my career and not take too much time away from the writing of books. 


2. I contribute to blogs. Each month for the past ten years (yep, really, ten!) I write a post for The Write Conversation (the one you’re reading now). For the past several years, I’ve also shared writing insights and encouragement on the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference blog. This means that each year, I have at least twenty-four blog posts to write, edit, and submit. 


3. I have a newsletter. I send this newsletter out 10-15 times a year to my subscribers. I share a few thoughts about what’s going on in my personal life and in my writing world while keeping my readers up to date about new releases, sales, and giveaway opportunities. 


4. I promote my books. As our own Edie Melson has told me (more than once because I don’t like it and she has to say it again and again), if you write the books, you have to be willing to sell the books. Thanks to my publisher, I have a fabulous publicist and marketing team who work hard to get my books in front of readers. In the months leading up to a release, this means making myself available for podcast interviews and phone interviews, writing guest posts on various websites, and responding to written interview questions. 


5. I teach at conferences. I love writing conferences and I love teaching at conferences, and this is another part of my writing business that requires planning and organization. 


As you can see, it’s a lot to juggle. Especially when you consider that writing is a part-time adventure for me. I have young children, I homeschool, and I write. I don’t have time to waste time.


Years ago, I kept everything in folders on my computer. A folder for my blog posts. A folder for my newsletter. A folder for marketing. A folder for conferences. And that’s not a bad way to do it. 


But I like the way I do it now so much better. 

I use Scrivener.


Scrivener is a writing software that is designed to help writers organize large projects. It’s specifically geared for novels, non-fiction manuscripts, and academic theses. Projects that require heavy amounts of research, reference material, and involve lengthy word counts can be organized and managed within a single Scrivener project. 


But blog posts and newsletters aren’t lengthy, so why use Scrivener?

For me, the key is to think of my other writing—blogs, newsletters, promotion—as one big project. Within my one Other Writing Scrivener project, I created folders for The Write Conversation, the Blue Ridge blog, my newsletter, promo for my latest book, etc. You can see these folders in the Binder. 

Within that project I also put everything I might need to refer to frequently—bios, back cover copy, press releases, buy links, a .jpg of the cover, even the hashtags I use when promoting a book so they are at my fingertips. That way, when I’m answering interview questions that I’ve answered before, I can find those responses in seconds and not have to recreate the wheel. You can see these files nested in the folders in the binder. All of this is available to me within this one project and allows me to access everything I need without having fifteen different Word documents open at one time. 

You may have already figured this out, but I write everything—everything—in Scrivener. 
As much as I love Scrivener, there’s no way around the fact that it has a learning curve, and it isn’t for everyone. But if you’re already using Scrivener, why not try using it for more than your manuscript? And if you’re new to Scrivener, setting up a project for your non-manuscript writing is a great way to learn your way around the program. Scrivener offers a 30-day free trial if you want to play around with it and see if it might be for you. I’m not a paid spokesperson. Just a fan!

By the way, I love to teach Scrivener and I’ll be teaching it in person at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May, and in-person at the Weekend with the Writers in February. I’ll also be virtually presenting a one-hour overview of Scrivener at the West Coast Christian Writers Conference in February. I’d love for you to join me at any of these events. 

Grace and peace,


Scrivener for Organization - Tips from @LynnHBlackburn on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Lynn’s titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Her newest series kicks off in March 2021 with Unknown Threat, Book 1 in the Defend and Protect series. 

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught Scrivener to writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at and @LynnHBlackburn on Bookbub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


  1. Omgoodness this is amazingly timely as i just took the tutorial & free trial last week. I have wavered between “this is a very cool app...” to “do I really need Scrivener?”
    I’ve had this little nudge in my spirit to purchase. Thanks for being a voice out loud!
    Chris Wells :)

    1. Watch the video tutorials on the L&L website - they are VERY good. And the internal tutorial is good as well. And if you need more, don't hesitate to reach out. I have opinions on some great on-line tutorials that won't break the bank. :)

  2. I love this idea, Lynn! I never thought to use Scrivener for my blogs, etc. Thank YOU!

  3. YES! Someone else does this!! I adore Scrivener and use it for just about everything I do, regardless if it's writing, teaching, speaking, or coaching.

    1. :) Yes! I saw a podcaster who uses it for all their podcast scheduling/editing, etc. It really works for anything!

  4. You definitely got me at "...without having fifteen different Word documents open at one time." Makes me nuts! I do love Scrivener and use it exclusively for novel writing and some (but not enough) non-fiction projects. Looks like I'll be doing a good bit of data transfer (Word to Scrivener) so I can work more efficiently. Thanks, Lynn!

    1. :) The "fifteen different Word docs" was what drove me to Scrivener a decade ago! :) Have fun transferring...(remember you can import a Word doc and it works great!)

  5. I LOVE Scrivener! I have a “General” project where I keep webinar notes, journaling, planning, etc., another one for blogging (serves as a great backup for posts), as well as my main writing projects. Really, I’d be nuts without it trying to keep it all organized and straight. Thumbs up for this post and Scrivener!