Stay in the flow : Scrivener and post blogging

temps estimé pour lire ce billet : 3 minutes

This post is about using Scrivener for the redaction of post, and practices to stay in the flow.

  • Before, I was writing directly in WordPress, in markdown, or offline in some markdown editor.
  • Now I do the design and the edition in scrivener. Then export to Markdown, and push it to WordPress .

I will describe :

  • the benefits I feel using this approach,
  • the alternatives I used before,
  • and where I feel there is still some frictions.

After a quick view on the setup.

The Setup

Here is the core setup I use . Corkboard on the left, Text on the right ( Scrivenings). I used the Quick reference to type the text of one card.

splitscreen
This setup is used during the writing phase. During the design phase, I use the corkboard full screen.

Tip: Vertical Split Screen

Tip: I used Quick reference to type the text, (by dropping the cards on the button in the bar). So I do not have to seek where is the place of a card in the scrivenings.

Example of use

Mini refactoring

Here is the example of a mini refactoring. Here, I realize discussing alternatives is better done later than just in the introduction , and I want to keep the introduction focused. The two cards selected (blue borders) move from the introduction to later on in the text. Just a mouse movement. Easy.

minirefactoring1

minirefactoring2

Major refactoring

Here is the example of a major refactoring. I realised I was telling two stories at the same time, and this would be better for clarity to split in two posts. So I marked the one to split out with a label, and after moved them out. Note how it looks simpler after ! Also imagine how deeply this would have changed the text if this decision would have been taken not at Design phase, but after Redacting… plus the Emotional cost, which would surely have put me off the flow…

majorefactoring1

majorefactoring2

Tip 1: Activated the view / Use label color in index card).

Tip 2: Duplicate a folder before a major refactoring, just in case. Duplication copy the cards and the corkboard position.

Benefits

Do I feel my workflow improved ? Yes . Is it Perfect yet ? No.
Lets see Why.

  • I found the conception / planning of the story vastly improved with corkboard and cards. Writing the essence of an idea on a card and jumping to the next enable my speedy mind to stay in the flow.

Tip : I use cmd-N to get a get card next to the current one, and keep my fingers on the keyboard. (Mousing away side track me, as my eyes move somewhere else, and my attention with it)

  • I found the redacting of the text less frustrating, as I get a sense of focus by using the Quick reference, and a sense of completion/progress by using the status and see the red label progressing across the board . This is especially true when resuming after interuption.

focus

  • The publishing is trivial but not transparent. Compile for Markdown, Open the resulting text file copy and paste into WP (or MarsEdit when offline ). This is not complicated, however it is not transparent enough not to halt the flow. I try not to do it too often. A dropbox copy of the file to the post would be superb.

  • Image: This is not good at all. This stop the flow, fully. The problem is to have not just image, but clickable thumbnail. So images have to be uploaded by the WP interface, and get back the url, by inserting the media in the post, and paste back the url snippet into scrivener. I haven’t found a better solution yet. However, acceptable when managed.

Conclusion

The main objective was to experiment with the corkboard for the conception, as an alternative to mindmapping, or taskpaper, and stay in the flow.
I found it is reached.
I also felt an improvement in productivity and focus, during the redacting.

This experiment was in fact a test case for mode-thinking, during the conception process. I will develop this in a separate post.

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