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The Edited Life is 3!

The Edited Life is three years old today! Thanks to my followers and visitors who ensure that I’m not just talking to myself. 😉

To celebrate, I’m giving a gift to two lucky commenters.

Just leave a comment before Monday (10/29) at 9pm EDT telling me about one of your favorite Scrivener features for a chance to win one of the following:

– a signed copy of Scrivener For Dummies (US/Canadian commenter only)

– a free enrollment in one of my 2013 online Scrivener classes (international commenters welcome)

I'll announce the winner in Tuesday's post. Thanks for your support!

NOTE: If Hurricane Sandy knocks out my power/Internet before Tuesday morning, I'll announce the winners as soon as I'm back online.

Photo credit: By Caroline's Cakes (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    You are my favorite Scrivener feature. I took your class and have recommended it to others, but I’m technically challenged so would love to win the book for Dummies.

  2. Reply

    Happy birthday! I am so happy o be part of your blogger community and to witness the great fast evolution your wonderful blog went through! Congratulation Gwen!

  3. Reply

    Happy Birthday to your blog, Gwen! I took your class last time around and it was definitely very worth while. I recommend it as well as the book to everyone––even those who think they know how to use Scrivener.

    One of my favorite Scrivener features is the ability to have Project References as well as Document References in the Inspector.

    And I discovered a very useful feature while playing around: icons for various applications can be dragged from the Macintosh HD into the Reference panes where they can then be opened handily from within Scrivener. This is especially useful when working in Composition Mode where the desktop is obscured. (Note, however, that dragging a program’s icon from the Dock does not work since the icon there is just an alias. Also, the program opens along side Scrivener.)

    Best wishes to all.

  4. Reply

    Happy 3-year blog anniversary!!! 🙂

    My favorite Scrivener feature is the ability to switch into cork board to outline my novel. I create index cards of scenes and I like being able to move these cards around. Then I can start typing the scene.

    It’s much more flexible than the “copy and paste” feature in Microsoft Word.

    I’d love to win a copy of your signed book!

    • Reply

      Hong: The Corkboard is so cool. Even for those who don’t outline in advance, it’s a great way to get a quick overview of your storyline, spot plot holes, and check timelines. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Reply

    Hi Gwen– I LOVE being able to pull in the whole web page for research and have it available offline if need be. The corkboard, and my ability to colorize those from POV. Yowza!!!! I’m also using Scrivener for my ‘Series Bible’. HUGE help!

  6. janetwellington


    Happy B-day!! I have the Dummies book but have only utilized it for the compile feature…which I used to create a mobi file for my debut ebook. for Kindle. It’s really miraculous how easy it was… I couldn’t take your last Windows class but would love to in the future so I can learn the REST of Scrivener!! And, I would agree that YOU are my favorite part of Scrivener…finding you and this program catapulted me into indie publishing. Thanks for all you do!

    • Reply

      Thanks, Janet! I’m so glad the compile chapters helped. The result was fabulous. Your book–it’s called HOMECOMING people, and if you like contemporary romance, go get it now, just $.99 at Amazon, you’ll love it–looked great.

  7. Reply

    Scrivener, Scrivener, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… 🙂 I cannot pick just one, but I’m looking forward to a long and fruitful marriage. Thanks, to you, Cupid Gwen, for unfolding Scrivener’s beauty, for my mind to behold. <3

    Happy 3rd Birthday, to a wonderful Blog, Writing Mentor, and Human Being.

    p.s. You don't have to enter my name in the contest. I won the day I clicked "Follow". (I have Scrivener For Dummies, and just took your enriching class.)

  8. Arlene Hittle


    Hi, Gwen! My fave Scrivener feature is the project target you can set per session — not that I’ve been hitting mine for the novella I’m working on, but it’s nice to know it’s there so I can see how much I’m not getting done.

    Happy birthday to your blog. I’d love to win, because I keep thinking I need to buy Scrivener for Dummies but haven’t actually done it yet.

    • Reply

      Hey, Arlene! Yes, session targets rock. Even if I don’t hit mine, I love seeing the progress bar grow and change colors. Good luck with the novella!

      • Arlene Hittle


        Thanks! It’s shaping up … I wanted to do a first draft before NaNo, but not sure that’s going to happen with just 3 days left.

  9. Reply

    Three years of continues operation! That is great.

    Has Sandy’s wind and rain found your house yet? Be safe.

    • Reply

      Curtis, you’ve been with me for a good part of those three years too. You’re one of my diehards. 😉 Still calm here, but I have water, candles, a lighter, and my stove is gas, so hopefully we’ll be good. I think the “big weather” is coming our way tomorrow afternoon/evening. Thanks!

  10. Reply

    Hi, Gwen, and congratulations on your blogiversary. I’m just getting started with Scrivener, but so far my favorite goodie is the project targets widget (even if I managed to confuse it, and myself, by moving things around). I’m using color-coding for POV, scene tags for locations, and I’ve hardly scratched the surface.

    • Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Kay! Those are all such great features. Hard to choose, right? Don’t worry, you’ll get there. Playing with it the way you’re doing is the best way to learn. 🙂

  11. Tom B.


    What I love most about Scrivener is how it has fulfilled its early promise and succeeded in its objective. Good writers become better writers with its help, and ideas that might have languished are now published.

    I was an early adapter. When I told people about Scrivener in the early days, on The Lipstick Chronicles, no one – not even William – believed what I told them about how Scrivener would change their work, not to mention their productivity.

    They found out on their own, which is even better!

    • Reply

      Great point, Tom. I know my work is better–and easier to make that way–with Scrivener. But, yes, I can crow about it until I pass out and people still won’t believe it until they try for themselves. Thanks! 🙂

  12. Reply

    Hi Gwen – been following your blog for a while and it is easily one of my favorites. I’ve learned many things and been amused by many others. Enjoyed your Scrivener class, too. Out here on the west coast, a few weeks back I went into the local Barnes & Noble to find your book so I could take a picture and show you it made it out all the way out here. Unfortunately, I was out of luck. So it would be great to win a copy 🙂

    Here’s to three more years of The Edited Life!

    Oh, my favorite Scrivener feature has got to be the corkboard. Made organizing my last novel so easy it was ridiculous.

    • Reply

      Dave: I’m bummed they didn’t have the book for you, but thanks for looking. Hopefully that means they’re sold out. 😉 You’ve been a great addition to my little community. Thanks for following! The Corkboard rocks. 😀

  13. Reply

    Happy Anniversary, Gwen!!! I’ve enjoyed many of your blog posts over the last couple of years and look forward to seeing more. 🙂

  14. Maria S.


    Hi Gwen–I’ve had Scrivener for 3 years now but I was so overwhelmed by all of its features that I really never used it. I found your blog last week & ordered your Dummies book. OMG I wish it had been around 3 years ago!

    I’m entering NANOWRIMO this year and unlike last year where I “pantsed” my way to confusion, I wanted to do some planning with the four part story structure recommended by Larry Brooks in Story Engineering. My favorite Scrivener feature has to be the Binder. I’ve completely revamped the Novel Format. It was like the first day of school where I had my binder already bought, decorated, and organized to perfection (yes I was that girl).

    I created my own root folders catered to my needs with special icons . Above that in the Manuscript, I added four folders (titled Part 1,Part 2…) for the different story parts in Story Engineering. I wrote a Synopsis for each folder with the highlights of that Part. Then I’ve included more details in their respective Document Notes. Because NANOWRIMO is fast & long (50,000 words in 4 weeks), when I start writing my scenes in each of the four parts, I will have a handy way of seeing if I’m following the story structure and not missing any important milestones whilst pantsing my way to nirvana!

    Happy Anniversary and thanks so much for your work and dedication to the Scrivener community.

    • Reply

      Maria: Star student! 😉 It sounds like you work a lot like me. Larry Brooks’ book STORY STRUCTURE-DEMYSTIFIED changed my life. I agree that the Binder is an often overlooked, but incredibly useful part of Scrivener. I love being able to see my whole story layout at a glance.

      Good luck with NaNo! I’ll be right there with you. Thanks!!

  15. Reply

    I love all of Scrivener, but I guess my favourite feature would be the ability to switch between composition/corkboard/outline modes, and the customisable icons & colours. A great help during NaNo or when you’re working on a tight schedule, and you just need to get everything down and then find it quickly.
    MS Word literally scares me now that I’m used to Scrivener! I use it for everything, from homework to application letters 🙂

    And happy Blog birthday! May you have many more!

    • Reply

      Sayyada: Word scares me now too! 😉 I use Scrivener for everything I possibly can, and I’m trying to get my kids hooked. Thanks for dropping by!

  16. Shone


    Howdy and Happy belated Blog Birthday!
    I’m a new Scrivener user and have been reading your blog for the last week and have gained so much useful information on the software! Thank you so much for being such a great source of information. I would have to say that my main favorite feature is the opml import. I’m a college student as well as a budding writer and I use Scrivener for everything from class essays to articles. I use mind mapping software first for brainstorming and then export the file into Scrivener as opml. Everything gets neatly titled and outlined, I just have to add the text to each page I also love the fact that I can store all of my research in Scrivener as well. I use both the Mac and Windows versions of Scrivener but have easier access to the windows version; with the latest beta for NaNo the windows version now has opml import along with a host of other features. Sweet!

    • Reply

      Shone: I’m glad the site has been helpful. Since you’re using OPML, I’m thinking you’re probably pretty software savvy. 😉 I would have loved to have Scrivener in school, especially grad school!

      I’m trying to get my kids to use Scrivener now that they’re both in high school. I keep reminding them they have free tech support living under the same roof and they should take advantage of it. 😉

  17. Karen Dailey


    Happy Birthday and Congratulations! Scrviner For Dummies sounds awesome. I’m all in for anything that will help me when writing:-)

  18. Reply

    Gwen, Happy Birthday! Congratulations on 3 years of presenting a useful, entertaining, professional blog! Though I mostly follow you on Facebook, I’ve often dropped by to catch up on interesting posts and found your willingness to help others a true blessing. I wish you many more years of success!

    My fave part of Scrivener: that its now available for PC. 🙂 I’ve heard such great things about it over the last year and hope to purchase it next year. Will definitely have to take a class, because I find any new software intimidating! But I think it will help me keep all my “plotting” info all in one place and organized, which is going to be even more important as I tackle publishing on top of a full time job. (No more time to hunt for those dang papers — where did I put those anyway?)

    Congrats again!

  19. Reply

    Thanks so much, Dani! I hope you can get Scrivener soon. I’m excited that all my friends can use it now, not just my Mac lovers. If you’re doing NaNo–or a friend is–there’s a 50% discount for winners, and a 20% discount for participants. Might be a good way to get it. Maybe as a Christmas present. 😉

    Good luck with the writing!

  20. Reply

    My favorite scrivener feature is full compose mode. It’s pretty sweet because u can customize the layout, background, and even have notes.. All at the same time.

    • Reply

      Darthque: I’ve been waiting for someone to mention that one! I love being able to block out distractions with a nice image that sets the mood and keeps me focused on my writing. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  21. Tanya


    I love the cork board feature. I have your book would love to win a class. Happy blog bday.

  22. ArkansasCyndi


    I don’t know the favorite Scrivner feature! I’ve never used it. I need a good teacher and excellent written guide to get me started. Got any suggestions! 🙂

  23. Reply

    Happy birthday to you, Gwen. Three years old – don’t look a day over . . . what I mean to say is: my favorite Scrivener feature is that basic blank template. I’d been struggling with the novel template while trying to learn how to operate Scrivener. I even bought your book which, by the way, is helping me understand the language. I decided to take this learning curve slow and work through the process using your book, the Literature and Latte 10-minute video (watched it several time before my confidence rose), and became familiar with the basic features. That’s all it took. I’m uploading research links, pics, and notes, setting up opening sentence chapter headings, and experimenting with the cork board to outline my novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

    • Reply

      LOL, Jeannie, thanks! Wow, you’ve made great progress. Sometimes it is easier to start out without the pre-formatted stuff because then you don’t get confused by all the settings they’ve put in place. Good luck with NaNo!

  24. Reply

    Wow! Three years! I’ve only just discovered Scrivener and your blog. 🙂 I’m loving the Research feature, but I’m sure there’s lots more that I haven’t even tapped.

    • Reply

      Diana: There’s so much greatness ahead of you! 😉 The ability to keep your research right inside your project is pretty amazing though, isn’t it? Enjoy discovering all of Scrivener’s secrets. Thanks for checking in!

  25. Reply

    My favorite feature of Scrivener is the corkboard. I am writing a series and use the corkboard to organize world building elements across the entire series. It makes finding place names or spellings etc so easy. Also I can keep running notes on future books in the series as the ideas come, and know what book they might be referenced in.

  26. Reply

    Quick note: If Hurricane Sandy knocks out my power/Internet before Tuesday morning, I’ll announce the winners as soon as I’m back online. Thanks!

  27. Beth K.


    Mix in one research assistant, a fully-outfitted library, a loyal (but compulsive) filer of all things that could possibly be relevant to your writing project, and you’ve got Scrivener–the perfect, portable office. Who could ask for anything more?

  28. Jack Hartwick


    Gwen: “felicidades! Only in America could an USAF wife and Mom string together all these accomplishments over a three-year period! How do we count the ways? My best guess is the following: ‘a lot of fortitude’; ‘tons of patience’; good support from friends, family (including the Scrivener people); and lastly good fan support from a bunch of faithful subscribers like your current audience!.
    PS I hope the ‘Sandy Armageddon’ allows me to see if I have won?

    • Reply

      Thanks, Jack! I think you figured out my recipe for success. 😉 Keeping my fingers crossed on Sandy. I’ll announce the winners, just may not be tomorrow…

  29. Reply

    Hi Gwen! Just wanted to say congratulations! Please do not put me in the hat for the drawing because I already bought a copy!

    I have an off-topic question. When you finish your romantic comedy novel, will you feature it here on your website along side your Scrivener for Dummies book? Will you have a separate website just for that book or just a separate page? Just curious. Like you, I love romantic comedies and am writing one. But I am also an expert in the wedding industry and came up with a great idea for a resource for brides, so I just started writing it. I’m curious how you will handle promotion of non-fiction and fiction from the same author. By the way, I look forward to reading your novel!

    • Reply

      Rich: Thanks for buying the book! That’s a really good question that I haven’t come up with an answer for yet. For now, I’m still going after a traditional publisher for my books–which are romantic suspense, actually–though that could change at some point. I might have to have a landing page, or have two sites, especially since most of my current readers are writers, so the content of my site is geared that way.

      Of course, with a wedding book, you might be able to tie the fiction and nonfiction together somehow, especially if your character were a wedding planner, dress designer, or something like that. I wish I were more of a marketing expert, but anything I’ve done right in that regard is most likely accidental. 😉

  30. Reply

    Hey Gwen,

    Congratulations on year three. I discovered two favorites this weekend while doing some editing work. The first was being able to insert annotations and the second was the comment feature. I’m sure these are pretty tame on the list of things that Scrivener can do, but they really helped me to punch out some things I need to attend to at a later date. And next to me while I wrote, why a copy of your book, of course!

    • Reply

      themercerweave: Thanks! Annotations and comments are wonderful. I use them to keep me from stopping in the midst of writing when I’m struck with an idea, or can’t decide what should go in a certain spot. Just annotate and move on. Definitely on my top ten list. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  31. Stephanie


    I hope you’re safe and I hope I didn’t miss the deadline! And I love the notebook organization!

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