When I first started writing my book, I wrote individual pieces of it in Word. And that was fine. Except that I kept having to open multiple documents and copy and paste. Pretty soon I had way too many documents, and I could not remember what was where.

What a mess.

I also had these interviews to do. I needed a place for the recordings and the transcripts.

And what about all my ideas?! I needed a place for those, too!

As with anything new, it takes getting started and trying a couple of different things to find tools that work for me. Here’s what I’m using to write my book:


scrivener 2

scrivener 1

What was I thinking before Scrivener? I wasn’t. Of course you can write a book any way you want. And using Scrivener is the way I want to do it.

Scrivener is great because all my files are in one place. As I’m writing the book, I start new “documents.” Then, I can simply drag and drop those different pieces into place as I’m writing the book. As I’m reading the book through, and I think, hmm…actually, this piece goes before this piece, all I do is click it and drag it up.

I can also quickly switch between pieces, copying and pasting and deleting as needed.

I also keep the transcripts for my interviews in a folder in Scrivener, so I can easily pull pieces from the interviews into my book. There’s also a Research tab, so I can put all my notes and research into that folder. Scrivener is also great for creating outlines and storyboards. Basically, it’s the best.

Digital Voice Recorder

I voice record all my interviews. There’s just no way I could write down what my source is saying fast enough. I also want to be able to stay present in the interview and really take in what’s being said instead of furiously writing down notes.

Before I record, I tell my source I’m recording (they have all agreed to be recorded). Then I hit record on both my digital voice recorder AND the voice recording app on my iPhone. I use both gadgets to record because I like having backups. If, my digital voice recorder fails, then my iPhone will capture the interview. And visa versa.

I have been transcribing these interviews myself. And it takes me HOURS because I can only work in two to five minute increments thanks to my children. So I’m considering outsourcing this job.

Large Post Its

I use the Research folder in Scrivener to keep lots of my ideas and notes. But I also wanted something more visual and a place where I could write down things and draw lines.

I love Post Its and index cards, so I was writing down ideas on those and shuffling them around. But they were just too small. So I ordered giant pads of Post Its. These are huge. I write down anything and everything that comes to my mind. One liners, words, concepts, drawings. Anything. I capture them on the giant Post Its and hang them all over my office. It’s a great way to see visually what I’m working with.

It’s exciting to share this project! Writing is such a lonely and slow going job! I have yet to find a tool to solve that issue. πŸ˜‰ But if you’re writing a book or thinking about writing a book, I encourage you to check out these tools! Happy writing!


Sarah is a thiry-something wife to an engineer and mother of three. She loves teaching aerobic and cycling classes, learning to shoot with her DSLR in manual mode, and drinking coffee.