Source video URL : http://paperravenediting.com/use-writing-tools-scrivener-dropbox-evernote-organize-safeguard-writing/
Organization : Paper Raven Editing company
Host : Morgan Gist-McDonald
Contact : www.paperravenediting.com
Morgan : Hi there. I’m Morgan, founder of paperravenediting.com and in today’s workshop I’d like to show you – behind the scenes – how I use three of my favorite powerhouse tools together for my entire writing life. Everything from gathering ideas to free-writing to drafting long form writing – and it backs everything up automatically. So, my three favorite tools are : Scrivener, Dropbox and Evernote. The beauty of these three combined together is that they store in the cloud, so I can access my ideas, my drafts, and my writing from everywhere there is internet. So, we’re actually going to share a screen – we’re going to flip around in just a second – and I am going to show you my actual Scrivener, Dropbox and Evernote screens and you will be how beautifully they all work together.
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Alright, so here’s the desktop of my laptop where I do my work everyday. First, we’ll look at Scrivener. So here’s my little icon down here for Scrivener. So open that up, and what you do is you actually open a global file. I call mine my “primary” because it’s my primary file. When I open this up you’ll see my main binder that I use for most of my structured writing. The way you can think about this is if you’re a long time use of Microsoft Word or some application like that, you might have folders on your desktop or something – maybe a folder for where you write blog posts and a folder for where you write chapters. Within those folders you would have a bunch of documents, and you would need to double-click every document to open them. In Scrivener, though, you open up a global document and all of those smaller documents are immediately available. So, for instance, I have blog posts right here. It’s a dropdown menu and I have subfolders for each of the types of blog posts I am writing. So if I want just a rough idea of what I might write I’ll drop down my “rough ideas” folder and I can actually click through each of these little text documents very quickly. In some of them I have just a thought or two, in some I have more elaborate quotes or images even. But I can immediately click through all of them and get a good sense of what my options are. Then I can pull that our and start writing and when it is written I can drop it into “drafts” and it’s available in my drafts folder. So, you can move things around and view them very quickly. Then let’s say I am not writing a blog post. Let’s say I’m getting ready to shoot a video, like today. I drop down my video thing and here are all of my scripts that I write out for a video before I shoot it. So you can imagine that each of your main writing projects can have its own set of folders that are very easy to navigate through. So I consider this sort of my structured writing center, but I’m also a big fan of free writing and so I have a seperate area that’s just for free writing. So it is just a list, by date, of things I have been free writing. I like to have a seperate area so that it’s completely without context. When I’m freewriting there’s not really necessarily a specific purpose. Well, sometimes there’s an idea, but when I’m freewriting I don’t want to think, “Okay. I’m going to freewrite my blog.” or whatever. I want it to be without that kind of context. So you can switch between a more formal context binder, a more free one. You can start a new one. It’s very flexible in its structure and organization. So that’s what my Scrivener interface looks like, and one of my favorite things is that when I close out – watch this – it’s backing up right now. Then it backs up to my Dropbox. So this little folder that I have sitting on my desktop is a Dropbox which is stored on the cloud. So you’ll see right here that this is my primary Scrivener global file and everytime that I close Scrivener it saves the file right here on my Dropbox. My Dropbox is available anywhere on the internet, so if ever my hard drive crashes, I can buy a new laptop, download my Scrivener software again and just open this file from Dropbox and it will be as if nothing changed. All of my writing is completely and totally safe. So that’s what I love about how Scrivener can work so well with Dropbox.
Let me actually show you how to set up this beautiful relatioship between Scrivener and Dropbox really quickly, because it does not happen out of the box. You have to set it up. So what you do is – let’s say you don’t have a Dropbox account – you just pull up your web browser and you go to dropbox.com. You sign up for a new account right here and just put in first name, last name, email, password and agree. And it’s free. I think you get a couple of gigs of storage completely free. So you go through that sign-up process and it puts a folder on your desktop. So, Dropbox will do this automatically. A new folder will pop up on your desktop that says “Dropbox”. This is not actually on your hard drive. Anything that is in this folder is stored on the Dropbox server, somewhere else in the country – probably Kansas ot somewhere. Anything that is inside this Dropbox folder is accessible from any computer with intenet access. So, if you were to sign on from a different computer, go to dropbox.com and put in your username and password, you would have access to anything that is inside this folder.
So, you get your little Dropbox folder set up on your desktop. Now when you first open it up, Scrivener will try to save the file on your hard drive. So let me do an example for you. We”ll just do a blank template. We’re going to call it “My first scrivener file”. Okay, it asked tyou where you want to save it. You do not put it in documents. You do not put it in desktop. You put it inside of your Dropbox, because anything that’s inside of this Dropbix is safe on the cloud. Put in in there, click “create”, and it will take a couple of seconds. Now see here’s your new binder. You can add your documents. You can add a new folder. You can drag those around. You’ll be able to play with getting your own system set up. When you close out you’ll see it’s backing up. When I go to my Dropbox there’s my first Scrivener file. It is not on my desktop. It should be inside my Dropbox. That is the only way it remains safe on the cloud.
Let’s say the worst happens and your hard drive crashes. How do you recover your Scrivener file. You need to go back and download the app and get it back in your toolbar. Then you need to download your Dropbox files again, but that’s super easy. Just go to dropbox.com, put your username and password in and it will put the Dropbox file back on your desktop. Then with Scrivener open, there it is. It is right there in the Dropbox folder. You can just open it up from there and everything will be as if nothing catastrophic ever happened.
Now the third software that I use is called Evernote. So, Scrivener encompasses all of my writing life. When I sit down to write something – whether it is a blog post or long form writing or freewriting – I open up Scrivener. But if I just need to capture an idea I put it in Evernote. Evernote is essentialy my “digital brain”. It contains all of my thoughts that I don’t want to lose. They may pertain to writing or they may not. So let me just show you really quickly how I have my Evernote set up. Evernote is also similar to Scrivener in that there are lots of little text documents that you can navigate trhough and drag, drop and organize very quickly and very easily. So I have actually set up these notes right here on the side that I always want to be on the top. So you’ll notice that I have a little dot right here. When you put the period and things are categorized alphabetically the anything with the period goes first. So, I have an inbox where I put anything and everything that just happens to float across my screen. For instance, I was out talking with someone recently about Scrivener and Dropbox. I wanted to capture that thought and so I wrote a little not and put it in my inbox. Although I didn’t actually get around to filing it it’s there and I didn’t lose it. My next action is my “to do” list. Then I have folders, for instance, anything related to Paper Raven editing goes in this folder. I keep notes on everything from : things I want to read on blogs, to something related to a client, or prepping for courses I am creating which will happen in the future, or just general ideas and marketing. I have all of these notes which just get categorized and they are always safe. Then I have a reference. For instance, I keep notes about my child’s paperwork, or things to do with my home, or recipes. I scan in everything possible. I love Evernote because everytime I have an idea I can capture it here, it is available on my laptop, there’s an app for my phone and my iPad, and it’s stored in the cloud. So as long as I can download Evernote, or have the app, I login and I can see every single note I’ve ever created.
So how does this work in my writing life? For instance, sometimes in my reference – such as my “to read” section – I will either create a note of a title of a book I want to read or I will drag information from the internet and keep it in the “to read” section. So this is where I store random, brainstorming ideas. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them yet but I want them safe somewhere so I don’t forget. Then when I close Evernote it backs itself up automatically. So then when I sit down at my laptop to write I will open up Scrivener. If I have an idea, but I am not sure what I want to do with that ideea yet – but I don’t want it to get lost – it goes into Evernote. The thoughts that exist ion those two programs feed each other back and forth. Essentially they are my digital brain which I can never lose because it’s backed up in this wonderful, beautiful mystery called “the cloud”.
So I hope that gives you some ideas on how you might implement this in your writing. I will say that when I am working with clients I still use Microsoft Word. Obviously, you can see it sitting right there in my “frequently used icons” toolbar. So I will do another post with another video about how I use Microsoft Word and Dropbox together for my client work. So let’s flip back around and I’ll give you some last parting advice.
Okay. That’s it for today’s workshop. I hope that seeing how I use Scrivener, Dropbox and Evernote in my writing life has given you some motivation and inspiration on ways you can perhaps implement either those software applications or similar ones in your own writing life. I do want to take just a second to caution you. If you are like most writers you probably have a backlog of old Word documents stored somewhere, or scraps of paper laying around the office with all of these ideas, and you may be thinkking, “Gosh, if only I can get those old, archived items into my new system.” I just want to say, “Stop, right there.” Just start your new system. If you have any motivation and inspiration from what you’ve just watched then run with it. Go ahead and download some software and start writing something now. Add to your new system from today forward while working out the kinks along the way. Then once you get comfortable with the new system then you can worry about adding in your old Word documents or scanning in scraps of paper or bringing in that older content. So, don’t worry about your archived, old stuff yet. If you are motivated, use that motivation to start writing today, That’s the best piece of advice I can give you. Start writing now, and that momentum will carry you forward.
So, if you’d like more motivation, inspiration and writing tools, go to paperravenediting.com and I will see you for the next workshop.
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