Writing

Scrivener for the iPhone: Beta Impressions

For the past month, I have been one of the lucky few individuals to beta test Scrivener for the iPhone. Well, it’s also for the iPad, but I only have an iPhone. Those of you who don’t know, Scrivener is a writing program created for authors by Literature and Latte. It’s wonderful, fantastic, and I use it almost daily. If you’re interested, here’s a link to it: Best writing software ever.

Anyway, I’m here today to talk about how I felt using Scrivener for the iPhone. I’ll talk about my first impressions, how long it took me to adjust, some of things I liked, and some of things I didn’t like.

To begin with, Scrivener has always been a little complicated to use at times. If you want to use the bare minimum, then it’s really easy but it does have a very steep learning curve. OS version is the same. After you get used to it though, it’s not complicated. Just takes a little bit to adjust, especially since on an iPhone you don’t have enough room to have your binder and your document at the same time. So, it ends up looking like this.

Which, isn’t bad at all. It’s just very different from having the entire thing on one screen. Now, on the iPad, it is all on one screen. But that’s because the iPad is quite a bit bigger than an iPhone. In a way, it’s kind of nice to not be able to have the binder open. This keeps you less distracted and able to focus on your manuscript.

The tutorial that they give is very nice. However, even with it Scrivener for the iPhone can be a little confusing at first. Because you can’t see the binder, it is actually very easy to feel lost. Well, kind of. I think my biggest issue is that I didn’t understand what each individual screen actually was. For instance, I didn’t understand what this was:

IMG_0115

Is the first thing you see when you open it up. Notice that there’s a section called dropbox. This isn’t originally there. I’d created a dropbox and I had synced it with my phone and put my manuscripts and there, but I couldn’t figure out where they were. You have to put it in a specific file in dropbox. Is also possible to create a new project on your iPhone. I personally wouldn’t suggest that if you’re also using a computer. The reason why is it’s easier to organize, create folders, and new documents on your computer. Also on the iPhone, you can’t use the corkboard. If you do want to create a new project on your phone, it is possible and I have done it. I just prefer to do so on my computer.

Anyway, once you actually get a project on here, it becomes much less confusing. In fact, it’s kind of nice and very instinctual. I don’t have any trouble navigating my projects anymore. As you can see I have three on here. One of which I am editing and two I am writing the first time. I learned the editing isn’t the same. Again, it’s much easier on the computer, because it’s easier to highlight and delete. However, when I was just writing, using the iPhone was so nice. I didn’t have to worry about running out of time home having to go out and run errands. I could bring my projects with me. I could write while waiting for a doctors appointment, while standing in line at the grocery store, or even sitting out in nature.

It was super nice to not need my computer when I wanted to write.

It almost reminded me of being with the notebook again. I can’t, because of my tendinitis, but I have missed it so much. Using Scrivener on my phone made writing mobile again.

Really, they’re only a few things that I have issues with. One is that there’s no way to tab inside the editor. At least, not one that I have found. There are other things that are there though. For instance, the bold, the italics, and other things of that nature are right on top of the keyboard. Like so:

IMG_0125

There are also options to have, commas, periods, and quotation marks on the top see you don’t have to constantly switch keyboards. Took a bit to get used to, but it was very nice once I did. Also, a lot faster.

Another issue I had, really the only big one, was dealing with syncing. This is more of an annoyance than anything. See, I switched between my phone and my computer very often. And it took me a bit to learn how to manage the syncing process. The first thing I have to say is always make sure dropbox is done syncing before you do anything else. See, I’m not a Dropbox user normally, so I didn’t know how it worked. It takes a little bit for everything to finish syncing because of how many files are actually in your one individual Scrivener project. So, I thought that it only took a second to update between my phone and my computer. I was wrong, and it caused some issues.

Also, don’t have them both open at once. In particular, don’t be working on your computer when your phone has the same project open. This can cause syncing issues. Always close the project on your phone before you start working on your computer.

But other than that, I really didn’t find any issues with this program. Even as a beta version, it didn’t have many bugs. Once I got used to it, it was very easy to use, and made writing much more mobile.

For now, those are my impressions as a beta user. I will most likely write more once the program has actually been released on July 20th.

Until then, I hope this gives you a good first impression! It’s an excellent addition and has helped my productivity immensely.

Any other questions? Things you want to know? Feel free to comment!

Hope all is well,

Linnea


Update on my writing: I’m slowly getting beta notes back for Waking Immortal, and I’m working on the sequel, Immortal Dreams as we speak. I’m 30k words in!

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