The End of the Year, And New Beginnings

And so we come to the end of the year. Traditionally this has been a time for reflecting on the past year. It’s also been a time for making all kinds of resolutions for the coming year, resolutions which generally last until we sober up sometime in the afternoon on New Year’s Day.

For me, though, it’s a time of looking forward, although I suppose that in a way, that’s what resolutions are all about. Except I’m not making any. I’ve already quit smoking, and I don’t drink, so what else is there?

No, instead, I’m changing the way I blog. Or, to be more exact, I’m changing the way I organize and manage my blog posts.

Windows Live Writer is my blog editor of choice. With it, I can create new entries and see pretty much how they’re going to look before I post them. I can even retrieve previously-published posts. More importantly, I can use it to manage several different blogs. This is important because I maintain a few blogs, each dealing with separate topics.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do a very good job of organizing my posts on disk. All of my drafts are saved to the same folder, which Live Writer conveniently calls My Weblog Posts. SO while I have a copy of what I’ve posted, it doesn’t let me know where I’ve posted. And I do need to know where I’ve posted what, so I don’t inadvertently duplicate myself on one of my blogs.

Enter Scrivener. I plan a much longer article on the software, but for now I’d like to share with you how I’ve started using it as my main blogging tool.

Scrivener is organized around projects. A project can be anything you want it to be: a novel, a poem, a screenplay, a short story. In this case, I chose the blank template when I started. After some thought, I created folders for each blog, and within each of those folders, another folder for the year. Eventually, I’ll add month folders inside each year.

Here’s how it looks:

blog setup

As you can see, this entry is named Final Post and is in the December folder, which is in the 2014 folder, which is inside the V&J folder. Just like those nesting Russian dolls! Simple enough so far, right?

Besides being an excellent organizational tool, Scrivener is also perfect for writing. And as you can see from the graphic above, I’m using it for this article. What I like best about it is when I’m on the writing screen, there are no distractions. And unlike other editors, I can control what my background is when I’m writing. I can choose either a color or an image, or I can even set the writing screen width so that there is no background at all: just a plain white screen without even a menu bar.

Once I’ve written an article, I can copy & paste it into Live Writer and upload it from there. Or I can copy & paste it directly into the blog itself. Finally, I can copy it into any of the other blog folders. But that’s not really necessary, as it takes up disk space. Instead, I can make use of Scrivener’s corkboard feature and simply make a note in the other blogs of the title of the entry and the date I posted it. That way I’ll still have a record of what I’ve done, but it won’t take up much disk space. Which is also important, because Scrivener makes a backup copy of your project whenever you close it. The default is 5 backup copies, but this (like most options in the program) can be changed.

So if you’re just getting started in blogging, or if you’ve been doing it for a while and are looking for an excellent way to get or stay organized, you could do a lot worse than Scrivener as your blogging tool.

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