Expanding on “Blogging with Scrivener”

Back in April I wrote a post about blogging with Scrivener. Since then I’ve expanded on this a little more. Previously I had just broken down each month into it’s respective days. Well now I’ve gone further and added the following folders to the months:

  • Days
  • To-Do’s
  • Focus
  • Reviews & Giveaways
  • Notes
  • Stats
  • Social Media

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I’ve also added a couple of general folders to cover the entire blog:

  • Ideas
  • Monetary

I’m not actually using the last two, but thought they were worth including for future possible planning. I’ve used tables and pretty colours to make it all look a little stylish.

bloggingI also spent a little time changing the icons to make things a little clearer to find (and yes, a little prettier). I really like having everything in one convenient place. Although, I still wish I could link to files inside other projects and push finished blog post directly to wordpress.

I’m only just starting to enter data into my lovely new folders and files. I’ve just finished setting up the planning really and I still find a few things that don’t work for me or need a little tweaking to fit my needs, but still I thought you might all like to see my current thought processes on this.

To be honest, Scrivener needs to do more work on the ‘tables’ feature. It’s unpredictable at times, the cell’s will change size unexpectedly or you will have to tab or Shift-tab through cells to actually be able to select and write in the cell you want at times, but there’s always a work around that you can find pretty quickly, and although a little annoying, it doesn’t slow me down.

A feature that comes in really handy for planning is the duel screen mode.

duel

It’s great to be able to see both your To-Do list and say your Reviews planning screen  at the same time. Or perhaps you want to see your To-Do list and your year planner:

planning

Obviously you can add as many folders or files to cover whatever information you want to plan for on your blog, get creative or just plan crazy. Happy blogging and planning.

Blog planning with Scrivener

Blog planning

I thought that others might be interested in hearing how I’ve started to setup Scrivener to plan out my blogging. This is all new for me, blogging on a regular basis and using Scriv to plan with.

To start with, I create a new project called “Blogging”, because I might do the same for other blogs, I decided to place everything for traceyambrose.com inside a folder. I then created two other folders called “Planning 2013” and “Ideas” (the later folder contains my previous posts and various odds and ends I just don’t want to look at right now).

Inside the planning folder I have created months May, June and July. I basically setup May first and then duplicate that for the following months (you obviously need to do the duplicating before you add any additional details or else you will have to delete those bits).

I use the corkboard view for folders, this means that I can see a sort of year planner view when I have the “Planning 2013” folder selected or a month view if I have a particular month selected.

In the image above you can see that I currently have the May folder selected and thus I can see each day for that month. If you right click on note you can select a “Label” for it. I created three labels, “Journal (red), Image Inspiration (pink) and Flash Fiction (green). I then worked out that the 1st of May was a Wednesday which means Image Inspiration day for me. I then went through and coded each day of the month.

I also wanted to know when a post had been finished and scheduled for publishing or had been published, and could thus be ignored. To do this, I used “Change Icon”, and selected a red flag in “Way-stations”.

The last thing I did was to write on the cards:

Title:
Progress:
Scheduled/Posted:

I wanted to be able to quickly add a few details such as the title, where I was at with that entry and whether it had been scheduled or posted yet. I’m keeping the content here simple, such as:

Title: Blood Charm
Progress: Finished
Scheduled/Posted: Yes

If I want to, I can actually write the blog post itself into the cards main text section by expanding the folder for the month I want and then selecting the day in question. If that particular days post is stored somewhere else, like my Short Stories project in Scriv or written straight into WordPress, then I can add notes to that day to tell me where to find the info. You can create  internal “Links” inside Scriv, but only to items within that project, I wish I could create links to items in other Scriv projects, that would be awesome. But at least I can create links to things like the image I’m using for a Wednesday post. I store these in the “Research” folder, so that’s handy.

I can also use other Scriv features for storing information for a post such as any websites I want to link to meta data, keywords, notes etc etc. It’s such an amazingly powerful tool.

I believe this is going to be a fantastic way for me to keep focussed and organised. I love being organised, little boxes for everything, woohoo.

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Aperture 2

My darling husband has finally been broken down by my deep sighs and tantrums at the slow response and complete pain in the buttness of my 15″ Macbook Pro for anything to do with my photography. It can’t run photoshop effectively, it can’t run aperture and iPhoto just ain’t up to scratch (and is also really slow and painful), so now I’m the very proud owner of a shiny new 24″ iMac *much jumping and bouncing* iMac. Basically you might say I’m pretty happy right now. I’ve actually had the new iMac since Saturday afternoon, 4 days in total, and my entire world seems shiny and bright and fast. I have 2 gig RAM and 300 gig hard drive and a 2.4 GHz Intel core 2 duo processor, running Leopard. I am finaly able to process my photos again, I’m once more excited about photography, in fact it’s the last thing I think about when I go to sleep and the first thing I think about when I wake up, I’ve REALLY missed that.

So, I have installed Photoshop CS3, because I really do prefer to use it for all my editing, I’m familiar with how it works, I love layers and it’s a good application (well derr, you don’t become a market leader if you suck). However, when it comes to organising my photos and previewing them I don’t like to use photoshop at all, so I decided to go hunting for a better system for sorting, rating, arranging and previewing my photos. I have used Lightroom when it first came out, I thought it was ok, but wasn’t really convinced by it so I decided to try Aperture 2 this time round.

Aperture 2 is actually really decent, I had a real grumble at it when I first tried to import some photos from a disk because it just kept crashing, after a bit of research on line I discovered that Aperture can’t handle the existence of certain file types when importing, rather then just ignoring something it doesn’t know, it crashes. In this case I had some movies, shot with the same camera, in the file with my photos. I opened finder, copied the photos onto my desktop and retried the import. This might sound like a pain but one of the things I like about Aperture’s import is that you can tell it to do a wide range of things at this stage including telling it to either copy the files or move the files, so in this case I told it to move the photos from my desktop into a new folder in the Pictures directory. Too easy.

Issues I’m having with the import feature however are:

  1. it doesn’t recognise subfolders in a directory, so if I tell it to import from a directory called “Summer 07” and that directory has a few subdirectories such as “Beach House”, “Kids” and “Seagulls” then it will ignore those folders, I’m also unable to select multiple directories to import from. It’s not too much of a pain since you can do multiple imports at once, but since I’m moving all these photos into one project then I’d like to be able to do it all in one swoop.
  2. I’m still finding the settings a little confusing. When I started importing, I figured I’d select where the photos are coming from, what project I wanted them to go into, what subfolder names I wanted (such as dividing everything by date) and changing the file name if I wanted, well this all happens, sort of. When I look at the project in Aperture I see all my newly imported pictures, but, if I open finder I find that the new subfolders are in the main directory, not in the own little directory. Now this is probably a fault of my own and once I figure out what I’m doing wrong I can fix it, I hope. But I shouldn’t have to, a well made user interface should be clear and logical to the point that a child could understand it.

So things that are great in the file sorting are the ability to create projects with subfolders, (albums and smart albums), great, that makes it easy to sort items within a project (such as the Summer 07 example). But apparently once something is in one particular project, you can’t reference it in a new project. What I mean by this, for me, is that I take a lot of photos of flowers, I take photos of flowers and plants when ever I go out with my camera. These flower photos for me are part of the experience of that particular shoot and so when I go to Bethals beach for the day, then I want to create a folder called Beathals beach, are join today’s shoot into a previously created folder of shots from Beathals beach, I also want to be able to have another project called Flowers and have this subdivided by type of flower, year, month, location, season etc. I guess what I’m really after is some serious tagging abilities that don’t just take into account one project but my entire photography catalogue.

For the most part though I really like Aperture 2, it’s fast, pretty easy to navigate, I can view all my photos, rate them, delete them, sort them and then drag them into photoshop to really get down to work on them. It’s a great addition to my workflow. There are loads of things that could probably make it “better” but I’d rather have it exactly how it is now then risk it becoming really over bloated.