Many of you will know that I’m a Scrivener fan. I understand that Scrivener isn’t for everyone, in the same way that Word isn’t for me. But for those of you who are using the software, have you ever thought of using it for keeping track of your writing projects, in addition to creating your writing projects with it? Let me explain …
I have a separate Scrivener file for my pitches. All those idea submissions I make to editors are kept together in one file. The binder, on the left hand side of the screen, is where I keep all of my pitches, in month folders.
The middle section of the screen, the editor, is where I write my pitch (which I copy and paste into an email message when I want to send it).
Then, on the right hand side, is the Inspector section, where you can customise the labels and meta-data settings for each project. So for my pitches I have a label showing the pitch’s project status: Awaiting Reply, Accepted, Rejected, Expressed Interest, etc.
I also have fields for recording the reference numbers of the photographs I offer with my pitches, and then the dates I chase/follow up the editor.
Where this really comes into its own, for me, is the ability to search all of this data.
The Search field enables me to find anything in this Scrivener file. If I want to see all the pitches I sent to BBC Countryfile magazine I simply search for the magazine:
And by searching for a topic/subject matter I can remind myself which markets I’ve already approached with a particular pitch subject:
Not only that, but by searching for pitches with the project status ‘Awaiting Reply’ I can identify those pitches that need chasing, record the date and the result of that pitch.
By keeping all of this data in Scrivener, I can quickly locate pitches by subject matter, publication, editor (as some move around) and even by the photos I offer at the same time.
When the results are returned, I simply select the pitch to see what I wrote at that time. This also allows me to learn from my pitches.
I’ve been writing my pitches in Scrivener for over three years now, and being able to search them in one place, analyse the ones which worked … and even those that worked for particular editors at particular magazines … means I’m able to draw upon the strengths of those that worked and avoid the errors of those that didn’t.
If you’re a Scrivener user, who also pitches ideas to editors, consider putting them all into one separate Scrivener file. You might be surprised what it teaches you.