Hello, I’m Still Here

by RS on May 11, 2015

Image: Courtesy of www.nikon.com

My hibernation ended. It is as sunny like a grilled cheese sandwich (that’s what the beagle would say if he could speak). The winter was too long here in the woods, and even longer for me because of a health issue that had me worried. Fortunately, everything is fine. The dogs are fine. Work is fine. I’m fine. Well…almost everything is fine. What isn’t fine is the writing.

Have I hit a wall? Yes and no. I spent the last three months preoccupied with my health and decided I needed a break. I spent a good deal of time reading, averaging about a book a week. Work kept me busy: Scrivener classes plus writing and editing articles.

When I wasn’t busy with work or reading, my mind wandered to an uncertain future. Or—better put—any future. Yes, I was that concerned. Looking back on the whole experience, I was a tad melodramatic.

I won’t share the details of the malady because I’m not quite ready to announce it to the world, but I’ll say this: get annual check-ups. Don’t make excuses as I did about not having any time or not having health insurance or not trusting doctors. Don’t be as stupid as I was because you won’t necessarily be as lucky. If you haven’t had a physical in a long time call your doctor today and make an appointment.

After this health scare, I decided I wanted to change a number of things in my life. You don’t realize how short life is until you’re facing a serious illness. That’s when you want to take stock of everything you’ve done, figure whatever time you might have to do it better, and be happy (seriously, I’m fine).

Changes include a full glass attitude and avoiding the snark (although I still have my moments); I’m looking for ways I can improve my life via nutrition, exercise, but also spiritually.

I’ve become a middle-aged cliché, but wellness has always been a keen interest. But because I’ve been lazy, in good health, or have been in a caretaker position and ignored my needs, it’s never been a priority.

Until now.

I’ve learned during these three months you can’t control outside forces. I know that’s not a grand epiphany but for someone who is a closet perfectionist, control freak, and tends to react to situations that are not within my control this was a revelation. Thus the big takeaway is….respond and not react, and it’s become my motto of late.

When I find myself in that panicky fight or flight mode, I take a deep breath and respond to the predicament. Unlike my former instantaneous reaction of “Oh, CRAP!” Now it’s “Okay, take the time to figure out what you need to do.”

I still have quite a bit to figure out. However this need for an instant resolution can wait until I’ve come up with a feasible response that make sense to everyone, but most of all to me.


I posted this on LinkedIn in part because I want to expand my audience and learn how to use the blogging application LinkedIn provides. However, I think the post is worth repeating here….

I’ve been blogging about Scrivener since late 2010 when Literature and Latte first released the Windows beta version. Although there were other bloggers, notably Gwen Hernandez, who blogged about the Mac version, I decided that Windows users needed some guidance. Visits to my blog increased, and even when I went over to the dark side and bought a Mac, I continued with the tutorials although now they were Mac-based.

How did people find me? I suppose I’m good with SEO search terms because there are hundreds of Scrivener tutorials out in the interwebs. Nevertheless, I seemed to have a nice following, and I was pleased by the positive responses I was receiving in the comments section of my blog.

However, I found that most of the visits to the blog were primarily because of Scrivener and I felt that was diluting my “brand” as a writer. I’m not a tech writer. I write about international handcrafts, book reviews, dogs, the great outdoors, and my trials and tribulations of writing fiction. So I decided that I wanted to keep the Scrivener tutorials separate and launched Simply Scrivener, which is exactly what the title alludes to–nothing but Scrivener.

Within a month of Simply Scrivener’s debut, I was asked if I would be interested to teach a class via the Romance Writers of America’s Colorado chapter. I had been referred by the Scrivener master herself, Gwen Hernandez. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Since April 2014 I’ve taught four Scrivener sessions, and this year I launched my own private sessions, consisting of 25 classes for five weeks. What have I learned from the experience?

  • You can always improve the lessons. Never be satisfied with the current lesson. Read it carefully and simplify it.
  • Just like in social media, an images speaks a thousand words. I’m a visual person. If you instruct me to follow steps A through G. I need to see what the screen looks like at the very end. I knew this early on when I started blogging, but now I’ve included more images to show the process.
  • Use other apps to help you write your tutorials. I mainly write in Scrivener, but I take screenshots, and I’ve learned how to use the various features in Apple’s Preview to label, circle certain features and so forth.
  • Be creative. I currently teach my course via daily email tutorials in PDF format, but back to the above points of incorporating images and apps, I’m now venturing into the world of video with the goal to make the lessons easier to follow.
  • Add bonus lessons. Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud and stick to the syllabus. Be flexible. Add a week to the curriculum for questions and answers. Add an extra lesson to get students excited to learn more–especially if you’re teaching a software application. Give them a PDF of all the lessons combined so they don’t have to search in their emails for a certain lesson.
  • And lastly, have fun and keep learning.

If you want to learn more about Scrivener and the private classes I teach, please drop me a line. Note: if you don’t want to take the entire five week course, but want to learn certain tools, I can provide mini one week course.



So You Want to Learn Scrivener?

by RS on February 19, 2015

Yes, a new five week private class is scheduled and it starts March 2nd. What to expect? Well, here’s a breakdown:

  • A daily tutorial Monday-Friday
  • The lesson should take no more than 60 minutes to read through and do the homework
  • A Scrivener group on Facebook for students who have signed up for the class. Here you can ask more questions, post screenshots, trouble shoot and share organizational writing tips.

Here’s what 25 days of lessons consist:

  • An email with what to expect from the lesson.
  • New for this session: A List of Command Shortcuts for each lesson
  • New for this Session: Weekly Quiz
  • New for this Session: Weekly preview and recap

Week One
Lesson 1: Starting a new project in Scrivener
Lesson 2: The Editor
Lesson 3: The Inspector: Synopsis, General Meta-Data, and Document Panes
Lesson 4: Scrivenings Mode
Lesson 5: The Corkboard

Week Two
Lesson 6: Outliner and Custom Meta-Data
Lesson 7: Split Screen Mode

Lesson 8: Document and Project Notes
Lesson 9: The Scratch Pad
Lesson 10: Customizing Layouts

Week Three

Lesson 11: Composition Mode
Lesson 12: Project Find and Replace
Lesson 13: Document Find and Replace
Lesson 14: Project Targets
Project 15: Project and Text Statistics

Week Four

Lesson 16: Sanpshots
Lesson 17: In Annotations
Lesson 18: Comments
Lesson 19: Collections
Lesson 20: Splitting and Merging Documents

Week Five
Lessons 21-25: Compile

Bonus Week Six
Question and Answer Week

Tuition is $200.00 made payable via PayPal. To sign-up for the class contact me at rebecaschiller425@gmail.com.