Let’s say I’m not very good at something, but I want to get better at it. The best approach, whether it’s brushpainting or making tons of money, is to find someone who does it well and do what they do. In other words, find someone who is smarter than you and copy them.

This a good rule-of-thumb that applies to anything in life other than wife-beating. For that you’ll need the original rule-of-thumb.

Michael O. Church is one of my blogging gurus (the other one is Shamus Young) as well as my “book writing guru” who guides me through the shoals and eddies of the the book-writing seas. The beauty part is that neither Michael (nor Shamus) know of their guru-ship, and thereby I am able to avoid any embarrassing incidents like having to host a banquet in their honor or drive them to the airport or anything.

My gurus are strictly “hands off.”

Through Church I learned about a program (“app” to you ungrateful youngsters) called Scrivener. Scrivener is a wonderful “word processor” for really big writing jobs. I’m learning to use it now and it’s putting the hurt on my old brain. I used to memorize volumes of arcane nutso crap for wargames but in this part of my life I’m not so eager to batter brain cells already on disability pensions due to previous baths in Mr. Jose Cuervo’s finest.

So I’ve been watching Youtube videos, which is about my LEAST favorite way of learning things, other than having to wade through the tutorial included with Scrivener, because–no, I don’t want to know all about the carpeting when what I need to know is how to start the car and put it in gear. I’m sure that Marsha in Interiors put her heart and soul into that carpet, but it’s a footnote and it needs to not be in the way when men are trying to learn here. The tutorial is bogged down in trivia. Sunk to the gunwales in the mire of minutia. F’d up.

So thank goodness for another guy who is smarter than me, Jason Hough, who has kindly provided some videos to help us boneheads get with the program.

So this is what I’m doing with my time. If you ever, at all, have to write a lengthy thing for any reason, do yourself a favor and get Scrivener. Listen to somebody smarter for once.

Hee hee.

Merry Christmas yah church-dodgin’ slaggards!


  1. Ralph Koziarski

    What makes Scrivner better than say MS Word?

    About 75% of my job involves technical writing, so anything that can make it potentially easier, has me potentially interested.

  2. Brushpainter

    Scrivener is like a word processor ACTUALLY merged with database software. I don’t mean the phony MS Word version of that– with “address lists” or “contacts”–but the version that a writer would create if he or she could program. It takes the original text and accesses it in a way that allows for on-the-fly major re-structuring of the manuscript due to the fact that the underlying text is just text, and the formatting is all handled by meta-data. Characters, locations, even some aspects of the plot, are meta-data. It tracks changes as if they were important, and uses several built-in devices to track them. It allows for easy backups but also easy duplication of various parts of the manuscript and the manipulation of these parts by manipulating the meta-data. The existence of this software is, to me, miraculous. I can’t begin to imagine who created it. Some kind of impossible writer/programmer chimera.

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