Laying It All Out

I’m at Literature and Latte today with a tour of the new layout feature. To learn more go to

Writing History: A Wakeup Call

“I write daily.” This is a statement I often hear from writers. In fact, I’ve uttered it myself. But what do you write? A Facebook post? A Tweet? A grocery list? Are you slaving away at your work in progress? If you need a wakeup call of how much time you’ve put into your WIP, check out Scrivener’s Writing History feature.

The folks at Literature and Latte know how obsessive writers are about their word counts, hours spent actually writing (not researching, or ruminating about a scene while walking the dog or scrubbing the kitchen floor, but actually butt in chair, fingertips on the keypad typing out words). You can find Writing History  Under Projects in the menubar. Once you’ve clicked on it a popover window will slide open that shows an astonishing amount of data that will either make you feel like an accomplished writer or a dismal failure.

When I reviewed my numbers I was dismayed because I’ve been productive, or so I thought. After examining the data, I see that this feature has counted the words I deleted, how many new ones I wrote while I revised and rewrote a chapter as well as the dry spell  (I am muddling through the middle of my WIP).

Having said that let’s take a look and see what these numbers means.

First off, on the top right hand corner you either show your history in words or characters. Below that you’ll see the number of days you’ve written in that particlar project and any changes that were made—words added or word deleted. Below that, you’ll average words written per day in the draft folder or anywhere else in the binder and the total of the two.

In the window below, there’s the option to select Months Only, Days Only and Months and Day. The default when you first open this feature is Months and Day so we’ll stick to that.  You’ll see the Date the project was opened with the columns of Words written in the Draft Folder, Elsewhere, and the total. Note that March 2018 is bolded that’s the total for the entire month. Negative numbers indicate words that were deleted from your text.

Select a month, April in this example, and you’ll see that I only wrote five days during the entire month. I can select the maximum words I wrote in a day or the average, or minimum. For April  I wrote  46 words with the maximum in a day of 53 words; elsewhere I wrote 1,575 with a maximum in a day  of 1,269. The grand total for the month is 1,621 and the maximum in a day of 1,269.

If you want to access this writing history elsewhere, Scrivener provides the option of exporting the data into an .CSV file that you can open in Excel or another spreadsheet program.

Final thoughts? Yikes! Time to stop saying “I write every day” and actually write!

Emoting with Emojis

As you all know by now I love my visuals. I liberally use icons to replace folders that act as a visual representation of the contents of that container. So you might be surprised that I’m not a big fan of emojis. Yes, sometimes I use a smiley face or a heart, but in general I keep my emoting strictly to words.

But I recently started using emojis such as the check mark, which simply tells me the task is complete and it’s been checked off my list or calendar. But what if you want to have some indication that a chapter or scene takes place outside of the United States? For example, let’s say I have a chapter where my main character finds the true story behind a piece of artwork. I can write a pithy headline like TNT Man’s Story, but it doesn’t provide any indication of where this might take place. I don’t want to change the document icon what I want is a visual aid that  not take space in the binder. I have some options that I could use such as creating a label that indicates the scene takes place in France, but I also want to keep my POV label so that doesn’t work. I could create a Collection of “Scenes that take place in Paris” that’s a strong contender, but what I really want is something to give me a distinct visual cue.

Enter the emoji.

All you need to do is write a short descriptive title, add an emoji, et voilà!

To an outsider these might not mean anything, but I know exactly what each one symbolizes. So now I have a quick visual indicator in the binder, but also in the Inspector:

In Outline Mode:

In Corkboard mode:

And even in Scrivenings mode:

You can also use emojis in your editing process with specific symbols. ❌ can indicate a deleted scene; a scene that doesn’t move the story forward and drags on can have the international symbol for sleeper 💤; a scene that has no business to be in your story can be marked as NG (no good or 🆖). These are ways that you can get creative with editing that tells you right up front that document’s status in the editing process.