Review: Contemplating Scrivener And Why I Decided Not to Pursue It, For Now

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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Conflicting Thoughts On Scrivener

Working in Scrivener at first feels like a huge hassle, as you have far too much settings. And at the end of the day, I am not sure that I need all these features. But on the other hand it is interesting and refreshing playing around with the new application. The feature that inspired me to write in Scrivener are compelling statistics of the word count across the board. This way I can follow my progress as a writer in 2014, and make the impossible – possible. Scientifically approaching my career as a writer, blogger and magazine editor.


Jamie Todd Rubin is a person that made quite significant impact on my approach to writing. Not sure how he comes up with all these blog posts, as well as write tons of science fiction, but if he does it, there should be no problem me achieving the same. Does that person have a day job? Not sure how to spend more time writing if I am commuting, and wasting time in that area of my life.

The more I write in Scrivener, the bigger desire I have to modify the visuals of the screen, but the complexity of the settings prevents me in doing this. The app has far too much options for a regular writer to tend to. This is the reason why I always prefer Byword. Byword doesn’t make writing complicated. It gives me the free page, and let’s me focus on what matters the most. But these are settings, and I should be a power user of my tools, and sort them out the way they are supposed to be used.

But somewhere along the line, I am still on the fence with going forward with Scrivener, and here are the pro’s and con’s of what is keeping me on the fence about it.

Features that I can’t find in Scrivener

Despite this being the most feature rich tool I’ve encountered so far, there are still features that I can’t find from the get go, at least not right now:

  • iOS synchronization – so far there is no client for the iPad, my hopefully primary writing device
  • No Markdown preview support
  • No Markdown support in true meaning of the word

At this rate, with these features lacking, feels to me like writing in Evernote doesn’t seem like that much of a distant possibility. They would have to get on board with markdown if they want to consider any early adopter to consider them seriously for that matter.

The biggest disadvantage of Scrivener is the fact that it can’t work on iOS. I remember that I previously used to sync my Scrivener database with the SimpleNote on iOS, but the results were quite fairly underwhelming. You have to take in consideration that I did invest some time in figuring this out, but I don’t believe I reached to the bottom of it. So at the end of the day, it could be a “me” problem.


Features that make it quite great

Now, despite the lack of features there are numerous things that made Scrivener writing experience God-Like:

  • Ability to fully customize your writing background
  • Research Modes
  • As previously mentioned – word count, and writing statistics

Following the Jamiee Tod Rubin example, I am contemplating on going “all-in” for my writing, but that would move me in the realm of a person that writes exclusively on my Mac. Yet I write a lot on my iPhone and iPad. This is giving me hard times when it comes down to syncing my work.

The ultimate measurement that I focus on, is the number of words, and the amount of content produced. These are the metrics that are giving me the actual numbers in relation to my writing goals, so I see a lot of value in this tool.

But, there is a big question mark. I really do like it as a writing environment. And sometimes all of my decisions are based on how much I produce, and how much inspiration I can get out of working within a tool. And on that front Scrivener can be quite inspiring. Looking into the background of space without distractions of status bar, can produce quite zen-like atmosphere.

Scrivener is not the #1 Tool for blogging anymore

With the advent of Byword premium, I am quite certain that for those that know Markdown, Byword is absolutely the best application for writing, hands on, without any further discussion. Why? Because it does everything from everywhere. Text Expander Support, multi device access, and pushes fully markdown formatted articles in line with the demands of WordPress. Did I forget to mention Dropbox?

Ultimately I feel that regarding my blogging workflow I am completely convinced that Scrivener is out of the picture. Despite this article being written in the Scrivener, Byword has been used for publishing.

When It comes Down To Big Writing Projects

At the end of the day I am still on the fence. Should I be simply focusing my efforts on focusing my work to Evernote, and kissing Scrivener goodbye, because at this point, Byword and Evernote feel like quite the combination, as they work well with each other, and I know how to work them back to back.

Unlike Evernote, Scrivener doesn’t have superior input of data, because it simply isn’t with me 100% of the time. Evernote is, and it is integrated in my research process.

Final Thoughts

Adding layer of complexities is quite hard sometimes. Perhaps Scrivener is of not use for the projects that I am currently working on, and as such, I have no plans of long term commitment to the tool, that I can’t be focused on using for the most of the time. That, and the fact that I will have duplicate data from Evernote, being eventually imported into scrivener, I certainly feel like there are far to many steps out there to justify the extra steps required in order for my setup to work.

Now there might be some merit in using Scrivener for compiling the final issues of Alpha Efficiency Magazine, but in order for that to happen, I believe that Darren will have to adopt this tool. I will certainly update you on the progress with Scrivener, because as my needs evolve, so do my usage patterns!

To see Scrivener in action, get it on the App Store


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