Since 2010 I have amassed a portfolio that includes more than a thousand pieces ranging from whitepapers to short stories and blog posts. Keeping them all straight and available for sharing with prospective clients has become a living nightmare that took me the better part of six months to solve. My solution wasn’t to have it online, posted in some content management system prone to server failures. No – it was to utilize an alternative to Microsoft Word that specializes in collecting disparate pieces into one single “project” that can be searched, exported, and edited with ease.
What is Scrivener?
Scrivener, produced by Literature and Latte, is an advanced piece of literary software that is designed to make it easy for a writer to use his or her own workflow without having to jump in and out of a dozen programs or keep hundreds of files organized. You start with a basic “corkboard” from which you can pin documents, pictures, and folders. Each of them can be commented on and includes the ability to incorporate revisions that are saved automatically.
At the end, you are able to export only the parts that make up the work’s final draft, discarding any unwanted formatting.
Backing Up Speedlancer
For three years I have worked as a freelance writer and editor through the Speedlancer platform. During that time I have amassed nearly 600 successfully completed projects covering a wide range of subjects. Now, the platform offers a basic portfolio page that showcases user reviews and rankings. However, and this is the key point, it doesn’t show the work.
In short, I had earned a stellar (4.6/5) reputation on the platform and had absolutely nothing to show for it! How could I, a writer that lives and dies by examples of prior work, hope to impress future clients and employers?
I tried the traditional way, finding where my work was hosted online and then just jotting down the links. That didn’t work since only a fraction of my end product were blog posts. The joys of writing anything…
So, I decided to simply download everything and keep them on hand to share with clients seeking writers with experience with specific topics. That is when three problems cropped up. The first was my own fault, and the second is the difficulty in tagging documents, and finally the third in being able to search within the documents.
File Names are Terrible
Whenever I worked on a project through the Speedlancer platform I used a relatively simple naming system to keep everything straight. “Speedlancer [type of project] [order number]”. This made it easy to guarantee I don’t upload the wrong item, however it eliminated any chance of me being able to simply use a file search to discover interesting examples of my work to share later.
Scrivener stores everything by title, rather than filename. My organization system has everything separated by client, year, month, and finally date. Thus with a single glance I know what I wrote and when I wrote it.
Tagging 600+ Documents Will Be a Nightmare
Even after downloading all of the documents I would be faced with the arduous task of figuring out which tags each file should have. The right tags will make it easy to quickly find the perfect files, the wrong (or worse – incomplete) tags will make it harder for me to approach clients. Needless to say, that wasn’t an option.
Searching Within Files
While it is disabled by default, it is possible to enable in-file indexing within Windows 10. However, I utilize a wide variety of devices every day and will be migrating back to the Mac platform eventually. Thus, I needed a way to search within files that was independent of the platform.
Since I utilize Office 365 for business purposes, it would be inappropriate to just upload all of my documents to Google Cloud. Dropbox and iCloud have even less functionality in that regard, so they were out. I needed something that would make a quick search as painless as possible.
By copying everything into a single Scrivener project I gain the ability to simply execute one search command to discover exactly what I am looking for. Need examples of realty blogs? Easy! Since the search tool is comprehensive, traditional tags will be unnecessary.
The End Result
I am still collecting all of my works for this portfolio. As I continue to work, it will expand and truly become comprehensive. For the first time in my professional career I can say without a doubt that it is now possible to apply for a wide range of work without missing a beat.