A short while ago I published an article called 5 reasons for using Scrivener for writing books. Well, a week or so later I have discovered more about using the program. As usual, I am learning on a need-to-know basis. I realise that this could lead to a lot of wasted time, but the other side of the coin is that I don’t know what I need to know until I need to know it, and so ploughing through the manual or the tutorial could be an even bigger waste of time. Bear in mind that the manual is 540 pages long, and the tutorial takes two hours, and you will see what I mean.
Fortunately, the program is reasonably intuitive in parts, and there is a good help forum.
I wondered: could Scrivener be used to write blog articles?
So, I tried writing a blog post with it. In fact, the article about Scrivener (cited above) was structured using Scrivener.
Having experimented, there are, I think, two advantages in using Scrivener for blog post writing:
First, it is very easy to structure your argument using the virtual index cards.
Second, you can change the order of points very easily by moving the index cards around.
Third, the titles of the index cards can become the headings in the article if you like. I took them out because I felt the article was too short to warrant having sub-headings.
Unfortunately, Scrivener is not an unequivocal success in the blogging sphere:
First, it inserts extra formatting in the form of indents in the first line of each paragraph. This is not an insurmountable problem, and in the total scheme of things it isn’t that important. However, I don’t like the indents. Perhaps there is way of changing the settings such that the indents are not inserted by default, but I haven’t looked yet.
Second, I like having the convenience of using Zemanta to suggest articles for further reading. Again, this isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s not ideal.
As it happens, both of these disadvantages could be dispensed with fairly easily by compiling the finished document as a web page, ie HTML format, and then copying and pasting that into my preferred blog editor, which happens to be Windows LiveWriter. I would then be able to quickly get rid of the paragraph indents, and Zemanta would automatically kick in so I would reap the benefits of using that plug-in.
You might be thinking that that seems like an awful lot of bother to go to, when I could just use LiveWriter in the first place – and you would be right. However, that would be true only for my standard, short, articles, which tend to be around 500 words or so long. The advantages listed earlier of using Scrivener for blog-writing would become apparent immediately.
So, my conclusion is that when it comes to using Scrivener for blogging, it’s a great program to use for long, essay-type blog posts, but not very useful for typical short blog articles.