I’m what you might call…ob-sessed with workflow and organizational tools.
That’s a pretty useful trait when it comes to a writing career, which involves things like website content strategy, editorial calendar management, freelance project coordination and — oh, yeah — keeping your story straight while you write a book.
It also means I try all the things that are created for managing those projects.
For planning, organizing, writing and formatting books, Scrivener is the first thing that comes to mind. The software promises “everything you need to start writing and keep writing.”
But, um, it’s kind of a lot.
Like any powerful software, Scrivener can be tough to get the hang of right out of the box.
So many binders, reviews and projects… It’s enough to make you close the program and go back to trusty ol’ Google Docs, missing out on a plethora of features the writer-focused Scrivener offers that typical word processors don’t.
If only someone could teach us how to use this thing…(OK. I’ll tell you about someone.)
Here’s our review of Joseph Michael’s course, Learn Scrivener Fast.
Scrivener tutorial: A review of “Learn Scrivener Fast”
Joseph Michael is a writer and blogger who hosts several courses for anyone who wants to write and publish a book.
His flagship, Learn Scrivener Fast, is just what the title promises: an online course to guide you through the basics, the techy stuff and the secret hacks that’ll help you organize all of your writing projects through the popular Scrivener software.
How to use Scrivener for…anything
What’s interesting about this course is Michael’s approach to Scrivener. It’s not just for fiction authors, like you might assume (I did). He’s into using the writing tool for everything.
Just like Scrivener itself, the course caters to any kind of writing project: fiction or nonfiction books, blogging, ebooks, screenwriting, essays, anything.
I was surprised to learn how handy Scrivener can be for bloggers. The course shows you how to use Scrivener to better understand your audience, use Scrivener’s corkboard view to move a post through the editing process and transfer work to WordPress.
It’s tough to find a tool for blogging that lets you manage your editorial calendar, editing steps and composition all in one place, so I love that this course demonstrates how to use Scrivener to do that.
The course is primarily recorded using the Mac version of Scrivener, but it’s for Windows users, too. Whenever features are significantly different, Michael’s recorded a Windows version of the tutorial, as well.
Full course access — “Ninja” level — costs $297 for lifetime, all-online access and comes with a 365-day guarantee (whoa).
Why pay for Learn Scrivener Fast?
You can access a lot of Scrivener tutorials for free from the tool’s creator, Literature and Latte. If you’re a “dive in and figure it out” kind of user, go ahead and learn the tool that way.
I find those collections of how-to videos and user manuals (for any software) frustrating, though. They tend to throw all the information at you at once, and you have to sort through to figure out where to start and how to find the answer you’re looking for.
A guided course is easier to follow.
Those tutorials are also written by software people. Don’t get me started.
In contrast, a writer created Learn Scrivener Fast specifically to answer the questions he had as he tried to use the tool for his writing work. It covers topics the software company didn’t think of, including blogging and ebook publishing, that are important to writers.
Often, third-party courses for software focus only on unusual or advanced tips, assuming you know the basics. I like that Learn Scrivener Fast starts with the how-to basics to show you how the whole program works — from starting a new project, to navigating Scrivener’s myriad storyboard views, to the simplest tasks like saving your work as a PDF.
You’ll also learn more advanced tips and tricks to help you customize and work more efficiently in the tool. Plus, you’ll see how other authors use Scrivener for their projects. This is inspiring and particularly useful, especially if you’ve always thought of Scrivener as a tool for novelists.
I was impressed with the demonstration from communications strategist and copywriter Ray Edwards on how he uses Scrivener to organize research. That helps him understand the audience and value of a product before writing ad copy in the tool. I wouldn’t have thought to use it that way.
The full course includes about two-dozen hours of videos. But don’t be intimidated — modules are broken into one- to three-minute chunks, so you can skip around to just what you need to learn. The course site’s search function also makes it easy to type in a question and get to a section that’ll answer it.
With one purchase, you gain lifetime access to the course materials, so I recommend bookmarking it and coming back for answers anytime you encounter a new issue or question or want to try a new kind of project in the software.
Support throughout your writing journey
The Ninja level of Learn Scrivener Fast gives you access to a private Facebook group, Scrivener Ninjas, where you can network with 1,800 other writers. It’s an active group of Scrivener-obsessed writers who can answer any questions you come up with about the software.
The Ninja level also comes with Scrivener templates for a variety of genres and work styles, among other bonus resources for writers.
Lower-level options are available, too. “Rockstar” gives you full course access, but no Facebook group and fewer bonuses, for $197. “Student” lets you access just the “basics” module for $127.
How Learn Scrivener Fast could be improved
It’s nice to have three registration levels to choose from, so you can get just the info you need. But the Student level in this case is kind of unnecessary. I recommend at least the Rockstar level to make the cost worth it, because you can get most of the basics for free from the Literature and Latte site. In contrast, Rockstar and Ninja levels both give you tips and resources well beyond what the software developer offers.
You’ll also need to download the Scrivener software separately, which is a one-time cost of $49. It’d be great if the course came with a Scrivener download or at least a discount (maybe if we all ask nicely..?).
Bottom line of our Learn Scrivener Fast review: If you’re serious about your writing projects, you’re going to want more organization than a word processor offers. This course shows you the secrets to utilize one of the most comprehensive and affordable writing tools to manage any writing project you want to tackle.
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