The Next Chapter

Weekly Tips for Writing & Publishing Your Bestselling Book

Introducing One of My Favorite Writing Tools

Mar 23, 2024

"How do I even begin to write a book?" 

People ask me this question all the time.

My answer: One chunk at a time.

At the beginning, don't worry about structure. Just start putting words on the page. Write down memorable stories from your life, your work, your client's lives as short vignettes. Record lessons you have learned, studies you have come across, fascinating conversations you have had or wisdom you have gained from others.

Just get words on the page. You can organize it later.

And when it comes time to organize, this is where one of my favorite writing tools comes in handy...

WRITING TIP OF THE WEEK: All About Scrivener

Scrivener is a favorite software program of authors worldwide (and no, they aren't paying me to say that!). Here's what I love about it and why I use it to write books (and even a draft of a screenplay I've been cooking up for some time!):

  • There is a one-time purchase fee of $60. Most software these days operates on a subscription model and fees add up fast – not Scrivener!
  • It comes with an excellent built-in tutorial so you can quickly get up to speed.
  • Within the program, writing and editing works just like Word and Google Docs, so all the prompts will appear familiar.
  • You break your structure up into folders and subfolders. I create a folder for each chapter, and then add "scenes" or chunks of writing into the subfolders, giving each one a clear label.
  • When you're ready to organize, you can simply drag and drop the folders. But the really fabulous part is that you can also switch to Corkboard view. This shows each folder as a virtual "notecard," which you can drag and drop across your virtual "bulletin board." It makes playing with structure so easy and delightful!
  • You can take advantage of other features such as a research file or adding character descriptions.
  • You can format your work as a nonfiction book, novel, screenplay, and more.
  • When you're done, you can easily export it as a Word document.

What is your favorite writing tool?





"Scrivener is where I live. I'm planning the next novel, two screenplays and a couple of short stories with it and it's amazing how fluid the software makes the process. I genuinely think this is the biggest software advance for writers since the word processor."


– Michael Marshall Smith, NY Times Bestselling Author



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