Is it Worth Buying Scrivener?

If you've been involved in the writing community for any length of time, you've probably heard several writers geeking out about how much they love using Scrivener to write their books. If you haven't tried it out yourself, you might be hesitant about taking the plunge. Isn't it super expensive? Are all the features worth it? How much better can it really be than good ol' Microsoft Word?

I've been using Scrivener on a Mac for about two years, and I personally love it. Hopefully, sharing my experience can help you decide whether it's right for you or not.

First of all -- you can try Scrivener out for weeks on end for FREE!

I was skeptical about buying Scrivener myself at first. I never spend money on expensive software unless I'm 100% sure it's worth it, so I wanted to be certain of getting enough bang for my buck. At the time of writing this, Scrivener costs $49, or $41.65 if you're a student or academic. Sure, it doesn't cost as much as a yacht, but it's not exactly chump change.

So of course, I downloaded the 30-day free trial. However, Scrivener's free trial is much more generous than most -- it's good for 30 days of use, meaning that if you only use it twice a week, it lasts for fifteen weeks. And it's got all the same features as the full version.

I made the most of my 30-day trial, only opening Scrivener when I was sitting down for an extended writing session, but it didn't take me nearly the length of the trial to decide I wanted to buy it. Which brings me to ...

Scrivener completely changed the way I draft

Back when I wrote all my stories in Word, I was a total pantser. I always had a vague idea of where my stories would go, but I didn't even start with a brief synopsis, let alone a chapter-by-chapter outline. I also wrote completely linearly, which meant that if I got stuck, I would procrastinate for days or even weeks before I brought myself to write again.

However, Scrivener divides your chapters into separate documents, allowing you to skip around with ease. Upon importing my then-current project into Scrivener for the first time, I quickly realized that if I got stuck, I could just hop to a different chapter and work on that one instead. That realization made me much more of a plotter, especially since Scrivener's corkboard feature makes plotting so much easier.

Ever since then, my process has been to plot my manuscript using the little virtual notecards in Scrivener, and then I jump in and work on whatever scene I feel like. I still have to re-plot my story a couple of times throughout the drafting process, but I usually end up with a pretty clean first draft as a result. This has increased my productivity hugely -- I used to take about two years to write and revise a novel, but now I can crank out a polished book in a year or less. And it's all thanks to Scrivener.

So is Scrivener really worth almost $50???

My answer: yes, absolutely.

However, that does not mean your answer will be the same. Whether you're dead set on buying Scrivener or you're still teetering warily on the fence, I highly encourage you to download the free trial and try it out for yourself. There's no commitment, no cost, and you might just find a tool that will transform your writing process in the best way possible.


  1. A number of my friends use Scrivener, and I am kinda tempted to give it a try, but I am one of those people who are reluctant to shift from the apps/structure I'm used to. It took me forever to start using gdocs, for example, when my friends had been using them for years already. Lmao

    1. LOL I totally get that! The learning curve for Scrivener seemed daunting to me at first, but luckily the free trial gives you plenty of time to work it out, and IIRC there's also a tour of sorts when you first open the program. I definitely have to play around with new programs for a bit before I decide to use them.

    2. I still have a discount for Scrivener for completing camp nano a while back. It is valid until the 7th of this month. Debating whether I'll use it.

    3. It's something like a 50% discount, right? IMO, that makes it totally worth it. Of course, you could give yourself more time to decide by winning NaNo again later!

    4. One would have to WIN NaNo again for that. ;) Not sure I can. LOL.