How is Scrivener like driving?

My earliest experiences behind the wheel of a car may have something to do with my present-day reaction to Scrivener.

Sound far-fetched? Maybe it is.

But my temporary justification for giving up on driving is eerily similar to the way I bailed from two consecutive, unfinished 30-day free trials of Scrivener.

Even though training programs exist – for driving and for Scrivener.

I dismissed those options at first, thinking, “Oh, well, we can’t afford that, anyway. And I can live without driving.” I can write without Scrivener, too, but if every die-hard Scrivener fan I’ve read is correct, Scrivener – like driving – could make the writing life a whole lot easier. Once I learned my way around it, anyway.

Let me give you a clearer picture of why I decided I didn’t need a driver’s license – until I did.

I was in my early twenties and still dependent on others to get to places I couldn’t walk to. I’d gone on a few driving lessons with my dad, but sometime in my mid-twenties, I  told myself, “This just isn’t for me.”

At the time, I thought, “Some people (like me) just shouldn’t drive. Cars are made for people who are better at multi-tasking – people who don’t get overwhelmed by all the things they need to keep track of while driving.”

“My brain and driving… they just don’t mix.”

As much as I wanted to excuse myself from learning to drive, I couldn’t quite convince myself that I could never be a decent driver.

There was always that voice in the back of my mind that said, “Maybe you can afford to think that, now, but someday . . . someday, you might change your mind. Because you’re not mentally incapable of learning to drive. Yes, it’s overwhelming. Yes, it feels like TOO MUCH, especially when your dad is your driving instructor. But you can learn.”

And I did.

I was thirty years old when my husband and I found the house we wanted to buy for our growing family, and I had to face the reality that I couldn’t just expect my husband to drive me everywhere I needed to go — after a day of driving around for his job. No public transit buses would pick me up anywhere within easy walking distance of this house.

I could no longer put it off. If I wanted this house, I would have to get my driver’s license.

So, I started driving lessons with someone a friend recommended to us. About a month later, I took a behind-the-wheel driving test. And I passed.

I told my parents of my success, and my dad said something I’ve never forgotten. He said he knew I’d get my driver’s license when I wanted it badly enough.

We’d found a house that had everything my husband wanted in a home. It had a big back yard, a lake in the back (not a very deep one, but still a lake), and enough rooms to allow him a private at-home office. The low price (relative to metro-area houses with the same square footage) and low property taxes cinched the deal.

By then, I was already warming to the idea of being able to drive myself anywhere I needed to go, whether it was for grocery shopping, driving kids to and from school, or checking out local garage sales.

When we found the house, I found it easy to tell myself with conviction that I now needed to get my driver’s license. So, I went and got it. I was surprised at how little time it took. 

I’ve written before of my two attempts to get acquainted with Scrivener with the 30-day free trial period. Both times, I bailed early, thinking, “My brain and Scrivener just don’t get along. This just isn’t going to work for me.”

And again, in the back of my mind, I was asking myself, “Are you sure? Or are you just telling yourself that to give yourself permission to quit?”

I’m not saying I’m a Scrivener convert. I’m still not sure it’ll work for me. But I’m not ruling out the possibility that I’ll love it someday. I might put aside my reservations and learn it during my third experiment with the 30-day free trial.

But not until I want to badly enough.

It helps, though, that I’ve become – over the past months – an unabashed fan of Evernote. I even upgraded to Evernote Plus, which costs $2.99 a month (a bargain, since I can play with it even when outside the range of our WiFi).

It may just be another step toward greater openness to Scrivener. I started using Evernote and found that the notes grouped into binders, which were grouped into stacks, didn’t freak me out. No panic attacks. No inexplicable need to curl up on my chair and wrap my arms around myself – or to take deep, relaxing breaths. 

Quite the contrary. And it got me thinking. Maybe Scrivener wasn’t, as I’d called it before, “the Lamaze of writing programs” (and, yes, I meant that in a negative way; that Lamaze video from the library did not have the intended effect).

Maybe Scrivener and my brain could learn to get along, after all. Maybe.

Time will tell.

What about you? Do you use Scrivener, and, if so, did it take you a while to warm up to it?

You know I love to read your comments, so if you have the time, share your thoughts with me below. And thank you for taking the time to read this.

Take care, and have a great rest of your week. 🙂



6 thoughts on “How is Scrivener like driving?

  1. I did get the trial version of Scrivener but I know I’m not using it to its full potential. I’ve barely done anything with it besides write a few words. I haven’t played around with any of the settings or tried the different things it has to offer. I will probably pay for the full version once my trial runs out – because, as far as programs go, it’s pretty cheap – but I don’t know when I’ll sit down and really wrap my head around it. There is so much to it and I don’t know if I really need all of it.
    A few weeks ago I got Evernote as well, but I haven’t opened it again since 😛


    1. I warmed up to Evernote much more quickly the second time around. I didn’t really know what to do with it the first time, and I ended up removing the app. The second time I started using it just to take down ideas as they came, so I wouldn’t forget them. Soon enough, I was grouping my notes into notebooks and then, eventually, my notebooks into stacks. I also like being able to save pdf files and web pages as notes, which I can then access from my phone, my Kindle Fire, or my laptop. I love that I can also access Google Docs from my phone and my laptop. But I’ve yet to try formatting an entire novel with either Google Docs or Word. I appreciate you sharing your experience with Open Office. Word may prove to be just as frustrating, but I don’t know. Same with Google Docs, which makes it so darn easy to add to my files even when I’m away from home. I write most of my blog posts with it.
      I’m so tempted to sign up for the giveaway of a printed copy of your novel! I hesitate only because I have a pdf version from you, and I think the giveaway book should go to someone who doesn’t have your novel, yet, in any form. Plus, I’m enjoying the snippets you’ve been providing on each of your characters, and I don’t doubt your book is worth buying.
      Thank you again, Sarina, and have a great week and weekend! 🙂


  2. I’ve used Scrivener but I’m a Ulysses girl through and through. Maybe if Scrivener got me before Ulysses app (which is all about Markdown language) did, I’d be a Scrivener convert but alas, I’m not. I found it was more trouble than it was worth and just to get things to look the way I wanted meant a lot of tutorials whether in the app or online. They’re really heavy with the promotions and their users are really hardcore but to each his own, I guess. I’m all Ulysses and so you could say I’m pretty hardcore about that – and Markdown language.


    1. Well, now you’ve got me all curious about Ulysses. I’ve never heard of it, but as soon as the modem resets (in a few minutes), I’ll be looking that up. I don’t exactly know what Markdown language is, but I can look that up, too. 😉 I still use Word and Google Docs for writing (backing both up with a thumb drive), but I may give Scrivener another go, when I’m ready. I felt overwhelmed by all the features before, and I didn’t want to take the time to read all the tutorials and figure out the features I was most likely to use. Still, I like the idea of being able to easily convert the finished document into mobi or epub format for publishing. From what I’ve read, Scrivener makes that easier than some word processing programs (like Open Office), but I’ve yet to try and format an entire novel. Still working on my second draft.
      Thank you, Liz, for taking the time to leave a helpful comment! Take care, and have a great rest of your week — and weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well if you’re already using Evernote to organize your writing and just need your work formatted to ePub and mobi, I’d save my money and continue working on Word and Google docs and when you’re ready to upload your work, upload the word file to and they’ll format it for you and even throw in the pdf file for Createspace! And they’ll distribute it to most retail stores although it will be up to you to upload the mobi file to Kindle. But their process is one of the easiest there is and the product is amazing.


      2. Wow! Thank you, Liz!! I will definitely check this out. I’ve heard of Draft2Digital, and it really helps to have a recommendation from someone who’s used it. Thank you so much! 🙂


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