Home > Writing  > NANO  > NaNoWriMo 2016: The perfect writing space

Two weeks to go

until we can start writing for real, and it’s time to start creating the perfect writing space.

The Scrivener workspace

The basic workspace can be separated into three panes:

  • The Binder on the left
  • The editing pane with Scrivenings, or Corkboard, or Outliner in the centre
  • The Inspector on the right
inspector iconClosing the Inspector pane

The Inspector pane can be closed (and reopened) by clicking on the Inspector icon.

You could then write, for each document, within the editing pane, using Scrivenings mode. Click on the document and start writing …

imperfect working space

Notice the word count at the very bottom of the screen.

Composition mode – the best writing space?

So that you have no distractions at all while writing, select View / Enter Composition Mode. (To escape from it, click the ESC key!)

composition mode

If you hover near the bottom of your screen, some options appear.

On the right: a slider control to fade the background and to the right of that, an exit button.

right composition menu

On the left: controls for the size of text, position and width of the paper, plus three buttons to bring up additional information.

left composition menu

Clicking on Keywords opens the Keywords dialogue box, so you can add a keyword if one occurs to you while writing.


Tick on Inspector opens a window for the document you are currently writing, and the top area offers various options, such as synopsis (the default), keywords and custom metadata.

Inspector panelClicking on Go To allows you to jump to a different document, and you can start typing straight into it.

Go to

Choosing a Backdrop for your writing space

To change from the default black (no backdrop), select View / Composition backdrop / Choose … and browse for an image that you want to appear either side of your writing area.

This is my choice.

backdrop shot

I downloaded the image from Dreamstime. It’s called Acid Test Black / ID: 55380 © Boligogo | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Simply Scrivener Specials

If you want to see me go through Setting up my workspace or need to ask any questions about Scrivener, book a Simply Scrivener Special.

To help me to prepare, you might also complete this short questionnaire.

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  • Patsy

    17 October 2016 at 12:12

    I’m confused … thought this was going to be about campervans 😉

    Seriously though, it does help to have whatever we’re going to write with set up just as we want it – whether that’s pencils sharned just the right amount, or software customised to suit our needs.

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