The Scrivener Heretics

In today's blog post, Icy Sedgwick discusses her recent experience with Scrivener, the much-touted, much-adored writing software package. Her verdict?
I don't think I get all the fuss about Scrivener. After everyone told me how fantastic it was, I downloaded the trial copy. I've still got fourteen days left, but if I'm honest, I don't think I'll be purchasing the full version.

Icy writes mostly in Word. The post is a good discussion of some of the finer points of organization, navigation and composition in small, medium and large documents.

As you all know by now, I don't use Scrivener, either. I use yWriter. Aside from having almost all the features of Scrivener (and some it doesn't), yWriter is free. In the grand scheme of things, $60 isn't going to break me, but why spend money I don't have to?

Scrivener had for many years been a MacOS program, so it was unavailable for Windows users. A Windows version is now available, but it lacks some of the features of the Mac version. Also... well, how do I put this delicately? I'm sure the native Mac version of Scrivener is graceful and delicate, a fey sylph that dances across the MacOS world. The Windows port, however, runs like an Abrams tank: big, powerful, slow. It made my netbook choke. yWriter, on the other hand, is minimalist. It's small and light, so it runs on my netbook just fine.

Scrivener, yWriter, Sigil, Word, Notepad++, GoogleDocs, pen and ink... use what you want, and use what helps you to be a great writer.

When it comes to software, woodworking or cooking, it's a poor craftsman that blames his tools. You should always develop your skills until you are being held back by your equipment. Then you should either learn how to use your equipment more effectively, or get more suitable equipment. That's called "continuous improvement". When it's done right, it's not just a corporate buzzword.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. Use what best does the job for you. My system in Word won't be right for everyone, but then nor is Scrivener.

    What does it matter what you use, as long as it works?

    1. I want to agree with the "use what works" ethos, but for many people, that means "my tool and my process work, so I won't ever try anything new which might work better". There's a learning curve to changing; for me, it was WELL worth it to make the switch.

      At some point, we all find ourselves doing things the way we've always done them, even though new tools are available which might increase our efficiency and productivity. Being willing to consider changing is part of being the best you can be.


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