Before I began writing the prospectus for my dissertation, I decided that my current software wasn’t going to cut it. Like most colleagues I’ve spoken to, I used a variety of different programs to write in the past. This wasn’t really a problem since I am a Mac user, and multitasking is something that all Macs do well. The problem is that I would have an entire folder stuffed with a variety of PDFs, notes, links, images (if the project required a visual aid), mathematical formulae formatted in LaTeX, and not to mention the multiple iterations of Pages files. Although, through practice, I had become somewhat efficient using this “method,” I knew the enormity of my dissertation would require some forward thinking.
Thankfully, by luck I suppose, I stumbled on a wonderful piece of writing software called Scrivener. The software was designed by a writer, who comments that he suffered from a similar writing “method.” That said, Scrivener has all the tools that you need to write. I am not writing a review of the software, so I will just tell you how I have been able to use Scrivener. First of all, I don’t have a messy folder anymore. Instead, the software keeps all of the files in a single location automatically. I have been able to import all of my research into the program, where I can add notes and summaries. In fact, Scrivener allows you to organize every bit of research into one location. I have even been able to import and use Multimarkdown files. The best part of Scrivener, which remedies my former patchwork style, is that after you have completed your work the program allows you to compile everything into an exportable file. I personally export an RTF file and do some last minute formatting in Pages to make the document exactly how I want. The beauty of the software is, however, that Scrivener does the dirty work of keeping everything organized and then putting that mess together in a logical, and readable way.
Scrivener software can be found at http://www.literatureandlatte.com.