CAN AN OLD DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?

Or to be more specific, can someone who has been doing something in one way for a very long time learn to do the same thing a different way?

qThis is a question that looms before me as I embark on a mission to learn Scrivener. I’m starting a class in how to use this program in a couple of weeks. The author who wrote “Scrivener for Dummies” is teaching the class, so she sounds like the perfect teacher for someone like me.

I bought Scrivener months ago. I didn’t even take the “30-day free trial” offer. I was so confident I could use it I just bought it. Because I had more pressing things going on, I let its icon sit on my desktop for a couple of months before I opened it. I’m not an expert at the computer, but I’m reasonably savvy. After an hour with Scrivener, I was ready to pull out my thinning hair.

Since then, I’ve gone back to it. Even tried to fit my WIP (THE CATTLEMAN) into it, but haven’t advanced one iota. So it’s time for a class.

For those of you who have never heard of Scrivener, it’s writing software designed to replace or enhance Microsoft Word. For novelists and screenwriters, it’s supposedly more intuitive and more organized, with authors in mind, than Word.

And why am I trying to do this? Because I want to be faster and more efficient in my writing. I need to be turning out more than one book a year.

I wrote my first book, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, as a pantster. A pantster is someone who writes organically. Stream of consciousness. Whatever pops into one’s head goes on the page. But being a pantster wastes a lot of time as you can probably imagine. You write stuff, then throw it out and replace it with something new. I don’t know about others, but by that method, I’ve ended up with stories that didn’t resemble the ones I had imagined in the first place.

After I became published by two of the Big Six publishing houses under two different pseudonyms, I no longer had the luxury of being a pantster. Time became precious. I *had* to become an outliner and a planner because I had to present new stories for the editor to consider before she would renew a contract and I had to meet deadlines. Consequently, over time, I developed a clumsy way of outlining in Word and in Excel. And that’s how I’ve written the last few books, with not much time for a story to “gel” in my mind.

But now I want to try something I hope will be better. So here I go into yet another class. <sigh> I’ve taken so many. :-/

“And speaking of THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, it will soon be available in print from Amazon.AnnaJeffrey_TheLoveofaCowboy_200px Hopefully before the end of the month.Amazon has a new feature for authors to offer those who want to hold a printed book in their hands. If you buy the printed edition, you can buy the same book in e-book format for a reduced price. Of course, the author has to opt for this feature. I’ve added this to the books I’ve got in print, THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN and SWEET RETURN. And I will soon be adding it to THE TYCOON.”

Meanwhile, wish me luck as this old dog sets out to learn a new trick.

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6 Comments

Filed under Writing

6 responses to “CAN AN OLD DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?

  1. Mary Craig

    This sounds great. Please keep us updated. I, too, could use something to enhance my writing besides “Oh, that sounds like a good idea! I think I’ll throw that in.” Sometimes, being an old dog has its advantages, and sometimes not. I confess that I am not technologically savvy. I don’t understand how electricity works. But I’m eager to learn, and you are my bellwether.

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    • Wow, Mary, I don’t think I’ve ever been a bellwether, although I’m as fluffy as an old ewe.LOL Indeed I will keep you posted. In fact, I’ll comment on FB as I go along. One of the things I hope to glean from Scrivener is better organization. This is one of the most challenging things I’ve found in writing a book. 100,000 words are a lot to wrangle and keep relevant to each other. Does that make sense? :-/

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  2. I’ll be interested to hear how Scrivener fits your writing. I love the cover for LOVE OF A COWBOY. Just beautiful. Good luck with Scrivener. We do need to write faster. Some days I think my brain died, other days I’m fine and am working away when life interferes to kick me to the curb. Sigh.

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    • Hi, Carolyn…Even though I can’t yet figure out how to use Scrivener, I can sort of see around the edges its benefits. I downloaded the manual, thinking I could learn through using that, but it’s 2 inches thick and I can’t even figure out how to navigate the table of contents. ….. LOL. One thing I’ve concluded about these authors who seem to function like machines and turn out books one after the other like flipping pancakes. They have help. And that’s what I need to find. Help who’s willing to work for free. LOL ….. Thanks for your comments about the COWBOY cover. Kim Killion again. CreateSpace is now offering a matte finish on their covers. I think that finish will enhance that picture.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Would be interested in how you find this program. This old war dog is trying to do a book on River Boats in Vietnam and it is turning out to be one hell of a journey. Picked up a program from the writers store, didn’t much care for it so discarded it. If this works well let all of us know. Enjoy your work.

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