A Month Without Scrivener

Around one month ago I transferred all my files out Scrivener and started using OpenOffice Writer. This was an experiment and I was not even particularly sure why I was trying it. I said I would keep you all posted as to how it was going. The answer is surprisingly well.

There are some things I miss about Scrivener, the little touches like countdowns to deadlines and daily word targets in particular. Making the change has not really affected my productivity any. I managed my usual word counts for the month.

Some things are easier now. I can open the file on any machine from Dropbox and get to work right away. I have instituted a versioning system that lets me keep backups of my work as I go along. Basically I use the week number and a number one through to 5 for the workday, starting with Monday and finishing with Friday. I give all of my scenes descriptive headers so I can keep track of the document structure in the Navigation Pane. These let me drag and drop scenes around the manuscript pretty much as I can do in Scrivener.

Are there annoyances with Writer?

Sure. Find and replace is needlessly complex. The word count is problematical. I believe it counts curly quotes as words which means dialogue tends to pad your word count compared to other word processors. It’s easy enough to solve– either don’t use curly quotes or load your file into another word processor for a more accurate word count.

None of these things are deal breakers though. That’s about it so far though. There have been no crashes and the program has been very stable. I am happy enough with it to keep going for another month.

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