Scrivener, book covers, and finishing the first draft

I transferred all the writing I’ve done for my book – the Hypothyroid Writer – over to Scrivener on Tuesday (July 12th, 2016), and I have to say that I’m not hating it so far.

In fact, as I looked at my loaded corkboard with cards labeled either “to do” or “first draft” and looked at my first project target window, I was having trouble closing it for the night. I just didn’t want to.

I made the transfer to see if Scrivener would be more helpful than Google Docs with keeping my book-related files organized. Since I can’t put my book-related docs in a separate folder with Google Docs (not for lack of trying), and I wanted to be able to see all my book files at a glance, rearrange them as needed (also can’t do that with Google Docs), and easily keep track of daily progress.

Enter Scrivener. Now that I’m not trying to figure it all out at once – I’m only using the features I need right now – I’m seeing how Scrivener really does make it easier to keep my book files organized. And it can then compile them into a whole – another thing Google Docs can’t do for you. Neither can Word.


So, now I might have to buy this program after all. Because I have 22 days left (21 after today), and for the first time, I’m thinking I’ll need it for longer than that – not necessarily for this book (I hope to have it done before the trial period ends), but definitely for the next one.

Oh, and I also spent quite a while the other day playing with book cover designs on Canva. Here’s one of my favorites, so far:


One of my daughters likes my magenta version better:


And then there’s purple:


I’m still partial to the red.

I know it’s not a professional job, and I’ll have to run it by someone who actually does this sort of thing for a living, at least to get a knowledgeable review of my design elements, if not to design a completely different one – or one that’s similar but looks less like a DIY project.

I paid $1 for an image on Canva, because I liked it and none of the free images jumped out at me. One dollar is a bargain, if this cover works. I like the color scheme. I started out with purple for the “Hypothyroidism” and the subtitle, but then I switched to red and fell more deeply in love with it.

Doesn’t mean I’m married to this particular design or to any of its iterations, but I’m spending an awful lot of time looking at them. I even made the red one my desktop wallpaper – to see how long it would take me for to get sick of it. And now I’m sharing three takes in a blog post for all to see and (if they feel so moved) criticize them.

I created 38 versions of this design, so I could make as much use of my 24-hour window to use the background image (before having to pay another $1).

Once I’ve settled on the official bookcover (and it might well be completely different from this one), I’ll create a page on my new HypothyroidWriter blog and post it there with a book description and a link to its Amazon page (once I have one).

I have to take this one step at a time, because if I look too far ahead at the stuff that has intimidated me before, I’ll paralyze myself. I can’t think about creating a launch team, yet, or collecting “testimonials” to include in the front matter of my book.

One step at a time!  

One bite, chew it slowly, chew it well, swallow . . .

No choking allowed!

So, for now, I have two chapters in my book that need to be upgraded from “to do” to “first draft.” That’s my project for this week. At this point, I’ve already blown past my 5K word-count goal for the week. I’m more concerned with getting my first draft written.

And then I want to go over it – read it from start to finish – and see where I’ve repeated myself or gone off on unhelpful tangents.

Tangents are fun. But I usually have to take those out or shorten them and integrate them more smoothly if I want someone else to read my writing without wondering, “Wait . . . wasn’t this chapter supposed to be about X? What’s all this stuff about Y? And are you ever going back to X?”

I want reading my book to be fun – even more fun than writing it.

It’s not too much to ask. 

Writing the first draft isn’t the tough part. The words have been flowing without much resistance  – for the most part. It’s only now that I’m almost done with the first draft that I’m feeling a real resistance. I’m still writing, though.

I expect more resistance when I have to start editing.

And probably even more resistance when I have to stretch myself socially

  • reaching out to the writers of books I’m referencing to ask them for permission to use parts of their books (at least one quote from each) in mine.
  • asking for testimonials <gulp>.
  • starting a launch team – and then actually communicating with the members of that team – every week, if not several times a week.
  • promoting my book after launch

What about you?

Are you writing a book, and (if so) where are you and what are you finding most challenging about the process?

I look forward, as always, to reading your comments!

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this. Take care, and have a great week! 🙂

*Update: I bought Scrivener. And I don’t regret it. Plus, I don’t get the nag screen anymore when I open it. And I don’t have to worry about running out of my trial period before my book is compiled and then published on KDP. And I already have an idea for my next book project.

So, there it is. After one ranty blog post, one semi-ranty post, and actually writing my first book with it, I went and bought the very program that used to remind me of the Lamaze video I borrowed from the local library – which freaked me out, though the complicated breathing exercises weren’t the worst thing about it (“Oh, for pity’s sake! Take your fingers out of that poor woman who’s trying to breathe perfectly for the camera!!…”)

<deep breaths>

That’s all behind me, now. Mostly.

I still twitch a little at the name “Scrivener” – but just a little. Old habits. I’m fine.




7 thoughts on “Scrivener, book covers, and finishing the first draft

  1. I have a friend who swears by Scrivener and it sounds incredibly helpful. I’m think I’ll have to take the plunge and purchase it for myself. Well done on getting everything organised, I’ve been using Google Docs myself and, whilst it was brilliant to begin with, it’s now impossible to organise!


    1. I’ve read so many recommendations for Scrivener, but I held back, because when I tried downloading the free trial and going through the tutorial, I was overwhelmed by all the features and wanted something simpler. So . . . I used Word. And then I used Google Docs, and I loved that I could access my work on my phone, but – same as you – I didn’t like that I couldn’t group all my book-related docs into one folder or click and drag docs to put them in a particular order. I also wanted something that would make it easier to format a book for Kindle when it came time to publish it, and – as far as I know – Scrivener is the only writing software that does that. Only when I transferred all my files from Google Docs to Word and then imported them into Scrivener did I begin to really like the program. I’m using only the features I need right now, and it’s nice that there are tutorials on the website – and on YouTube – to help with the things I particularly want to figure out. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and I hope you have a great week! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You bought Scrivener! That’s great! Now I know someone whose brain I can pick as i waffle over buying it. Just kidding…a little.
    I like the book cover with the red text, by the way. I find it looks crisper and is easier to read.
    I wrote a short story, as you might know, lol, as a prequel to a series I’m working on, and so far getting the word out/aka marketing without going overboard is pretty tough! No wait, resisting the urge to check sales reports is tougher…I’m sure that sales will pick up when I have a longer piece as well as more than one thing, but it’s hard not to want a flood of sales and reviews, you know? Heck, right now, I’d be happy with one positive review!
    Ah well, back to the grindstone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just bought your story. I’m in the middle of a lot of reading for my book, so I don’t know when I’ll read it, but I’ll be happy to post a review when I’m done. Congratulations on being a published author!!! I love a good short story, and from what I read on your blog, the story sounds intriguing. Back to the grindstone for me, too. 🙂 Take care, and have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

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