Lessons I Learned from Teaching Scrivener

by RS on March 19, 2015

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.

 

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