The one reason I chose to draft all my writing in Scrivener was so I could keep my projects better organized. When I was using MS Word, I had numerous documents and no matter how careful I was labeling the file, I always managed to submit the wrong version of an article or I couldn’t find the recently revised document in my files. With Scrivener I like that I can have all my information—drafts, notes, and research—in one place, and that it’s easy to find.

Yet old habits tend to die hard. I’ve discovered that I now have too many Scrivener projects, especially for Julius. Because I use Scrivener for all my writing, I typically have a number of projects open, but that has become  somewhat clunky and messy. For some time I’ve known that I had to streamline it, but wasn’t sure how to go about it until I came across a tweet of how social media guru Michael Hyatt uses Scrivener. I was so impressed by how beautifully he organized all his writing projects that I thought I would give his method a shot.

At first I thought I would dedicate “The File Cabinet” to all my freelance writing projects and so I imported them all in, changed the icons (because you all know I like to make things look pretty). After I imported everything, I figured I would import the recent version of Julius and hope that all my research smoothly made the transition. Happily, it did. So now I officially have a filing cabinet where I don’t have numerous Scrivener projects open. Just one click and, BAM, it’s all in one project.

Importing from one Scrivener project into another is simple and seamless. The only thing you need to do is go to File->Import->Scrivener Project. What gets imported is the file for the project along with the research and trash files. I ditched the latter two and set up my file cabinet to look like this (click on the image to enlarge):

File Cabinet

I have Julius at the end next to the research file so I can quickly search through that material. I’ve also created another research folder for the other writing projects. And there you have it–an easy way to keep all your work organized!


  • I do something just like this for all of my writing craft research and call it Writer’s Toolbox. I love how naming it File Cabinet really makes it feel like when when I look at your hierarchy. Great job, R! 😀

  • Rebecca, do you find that this slows Scrivener down at all? Do you put your research into the Filing Cabinet, or just a link to it.
    I’ve noticed very slow performance in creating a backup copy with even one book and my research. Does this slow down even more with all of your books in there? – Bruce

    • Seasherm Good question, and let me backtrack a bit to answer it. With the HAND/EYE project, I used to import photos that went with each article and put them into the research folder. These were pretty large files and I noticed that Scrivener was slowing down a bit. So I stopped importing them and just kept them in a different file on my desktop. For Julius, my WIP, most of the files are articles and pdfs, I have a few photos, but these are pretty small, so no issue there. The other projects are simply text files. 
      When I decided to set up this project, I was concerned it would be slower; however, it seems to be working fine. I should note that I don’t have as many programs running in the background and I cleaned out my download folder that was bursting with media files. Doing that has helped with speed issues.
      As for the research, I imported all my the notes and the handful of photos for the WIP into the research folder. For the other projects within the file cabinet I created another research folder to keep it separate from the WIP.

      • RebecaSchiller Seasherm May I weigh in on this? My fantasy epic is spread across six books, and I was concerned over what the project limit is. David (from Scrivener) confirmed Scrivener has unlimited capacity. Since then, I have everything in one project–while also separating a copy of my current work into another (just b/c I don’t want to sift through a long index). Nothing in the large project is slower than any of the small ones with two exceptions: 
        Larger files take longer to back up and open. It makes sense, your computer (and mine) has to deal with all the bits and bytes associated. But once open, the file works very well. 
        Searches also take longer b/c you are sifting through more work.
        Having said this, my computer is very fast. So if the file appears slow for either of you, might I suggest that perhaps it has to do with the computer equipment rather than the program. Even if the software can handle a large file adeptly, the computer must still deal with the largesse. It’s the difference between a full hard drive vs an empty one, the more there is to sort through while searching etc., the longer it takes.
        Pics require more room. Text files are relatively small–you can keep tons of text without any issues. I keep my pics to a minimum so the back-ups don’t take too long. 😀

    • kevinplarson It’s very simple. I created a new project using a blank template and saved it as File cabinet. Then I went to the menu bar, chose File->Import->Scrivener Project. Once I had all my individual projects imported–and what gets imported is the entire project–I started to trash what I didn’t want and organize how I wanted to order the projects, now new folders. Because I like to fiddle around with how they look, I used the icons that Scrivener provides, plus a few that I imported (if you do a Scrivener search, you’ll see those tutorials). And that’s it. If you have any specific questions, let me know!