Building a Writing Environment with Notebooks, RightNote and Scrivener

As we hit the end of the year, I think I have all my writing tools sorted out. I’ve been going out trying all sorts of different things, but I think I have it locked down now. As it stands I’ll be using Notebooks for Windows, RightNote and Scrivener.

Most of the writing I do will start life in Notebooks. It’s a simple but very effective text editor that gives me a hierarchy to organize my topics, but doesn’t get bogged down with formatting and styles. When I’m trying to put an idea together there’s no point in worrying about how it looks, that is the final step. It also gives me the ability to work across platforms – Windows, Mac and iPad. Notebooks is also a great way to take notes on the iPad and then sync them up to the desktop where I can expand and refine them.

More complicated, multi-part or sensitive documents will be handled in RightNote. This gives me access to the formatting tools of Word, spreadsheets of Excel and note taking with security like OneNote. Of course it’s costs a fraction of the Office price, takes a fraction of the hard drive space and doesn’t come with thousands of features I will never touch.

Document storage and archive will be done in Scrivener. It has a great editor and will be used for research documents and multi-part documents. It will also show me everything I’ve written for the year and will help put together longer fiction pieces I have in mind. Like the other tools, it has great organization features and put a clear focus on writing, not formatting. Almost all of my writing is published to the web so formatting within the editor is pointless. And if I need to do post-production, I would prefer to use something like PagePlus which is actually designed for desktop publishing.

On the surface it may seem like I’ve made things more complicated, but I think I’ve streamlined the writing process. In most cases I will only use one of the tools. Rough ideas will be handled in Notebooks so I can write, read and edit at home, at work and on my tablet. From there, most files will be imported into Scrivener so they can be grouped together. This will make it easy to post blog articles since I don’t have to worry about formatting and embedded characters.

If I have a rough idea that turns into something bigger, it will go into Scrivener so I can see how the parts fit together and then generate the proper output. However, in all cases, since these apps support a hierarchy, I’ll know what I’ve worked on and can see the topics at a glance rather than having to search through folders and open multiple files to try and find the thing I want.

I believe this is going to be a much simpler process and will keep me organized and focused.

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