Your Word Processor bogging you down? Six reasons to Try Scrivener

Staring at a blank screen as you start your next research paper, blog post or lesson plan? Maybe the traditional typewriter turned into a word processor method isn’t the best approach. Need to move a paragraph or two around in Word to another section? Not always straightforward. Settings get changed. Fonts can change and other oddities happen when you don’t need them. Consider checking out the writing program made for writers called Scrivener.

Think Different

As Apple computers said in their advertising campaign from 1997 – Think Different. I am in Higher education, working on a doctorate and I require a different approach to writing. So shouldn’t it stand to reason to think different about my approach?

Scrivener is a program developed for writers and academics who think different, who don’t fit in a nice safe box. Once you get the hang of it, Scrivener is an amazing program for your writing needs.

Six Reasons to Try Scrivener:

  1. You get a 30-day (of time used) free trial with full functionality. Go to the Scrivener website HERE  and try it.
  2. It has the ability for you to move sections of your writing around with ease.
  3. If you like using note cards – Scrivener has that function.
  4. Want to create an eBook – you can do it. Export to Word or a plain text document – no problem.
  5. The program rarely crashes (if at all) and you don’t get the notorious rainbow wheel as you scroll through your document.
  6. It is reasonably priced with an academic discount.

Scrivener isn’t the only writing platform out there. Check out Ulyssess (for Mac) and Mellel (for Mac) or others. I don’t work for Scrivener – I just found it to be an excellent program for writing.

Instructional Links

You can watch online tutorials here, here, and here to get you started with Scrivener. If you would like another testimony about the usefulness of Scrivener go here.

Writing doesn’t have to be painful. Writing can be energizing and fulfilling. If you do make the switch, you might notice a change in how you write, maybe a change for the better. The point is to get writing and not let a program be a distraction in the process.

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More than cosmic consciousness?

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I was flipping through channels on the hotel TV and I paused on an interesting show on the knowledge network. In a few minutes I was preached at about the wonder and beauty of scientific humanism in its finest.

The narrator, a young man in his twenties with a British accent described the cosmos and its power and majesty. I was drawn in to the program for a moment – there were amazing photos and cinematography of the universe and the earth. I couldn’t help but be awed.

However, the crux of the show left me with unanswered questions. He said humans are here for but a mere moment in the history of the universe. Our purpose is to explore and experience the awe of the universe and understand its beginning and ultimate end. We are but a blip in a movement from order to disorder until the last black hole is swallowed up and the universe ceases to exist. What about purpose? Why am I here? What’s the point? Where do we get notions of morality or ethics? The narrator doesn’t answer all these questions. According to the narrator we are the consciousness of the cosmos who are here to understand the universe. That’s it. For me that reason is found wanting and is truly inadequate to provide meaning and worth for my life. I am not going into an discourse on the existence of God, Jesus, etc. but faith in God and the good news found in the bible offers more robust and life affirming reasons for my existence. Needless to say, the philosophy of scientific humanism under girded the entire TV program. Very slick and well-produced, but it left me empty if that was the only purpose of life – to be cosmic consciousness with no hope and oblivion my ultimate goal.

Interesting TV for a Tuesday night.

 

3 Observations about First-Century Oral Culture and Biblical Studies

If the New Testament was composed in a predominately oral-aural Mediterranean culture of the first century – then why is there an almost obsessive, reliance on print methods not found in the first century? This, and other, questions rise as I dig deeper in my research.

Here are three initial observations in my research:

1. Oral culture was the accepted norm in antiquity, even with printed materials available – there was a preference for the spoken word done in community.

2. Performance (storytelling, speaking, etc.) was a communal event with interaction between audience and storyteller.

3. Seeking to understand oral event and transmission of the gospels in their first century milieu is largely missing in NT scholarship – it is a gap in biblical studies (Rhoads 2010: 164).

Whatever one thinks on the subject, it is worth being aware of as current scholarship (within biblical studies and without – see Ong, Havelock, Lord, etc.) is slowly recognizing the value in understanding and appreciating the oral composition and transmission of the NT, and in my case, of Mark’s Gospel.

 

See David Rhoads. 2010. Biblical Performance Criticism: Performance as Research. Oral Tradition. 25(1), 157-198.

Thesis Research

Well, the proposal was accepted in January – and now on to the task of writing a dissertation… so far my initial research is underway.

I am enjoying entering into the world of the NT and Mark’s Gospel and scholarship in these two areas.

A key for effective research and writing is to have a healthy long view of the task at hand and maintaining the daily discipline needed to stay on track. On one hand it is easy to be overwhelmed by the size of the project and on the other to be let days slip past due to the tyranny of the urgent. It is an interesting tension.

Paying attention to “sounds”

I am reading through the Gospel of Mark in the Greek  in preparation for writing my dissertation. I have noticed something new in my appreciation of the text and the implied author’s narrative voice. The “sounds” of the text.

Too often I read the Biblical text with an eye for grammatical constructions and sentence structure, etc. Meanwhile, I have missed the forest for the trees (pardon the cliches…). In my reading of Mark, I’ve thought about for the first time about the sounds of the words. The sounds of words when spoken with the narrative intent of the word and author. For example, in the story about the demon-possessed man in Mark 1:21-28, the words used illustrate my point. Reading these words in typical fashion can miss the emotional impact of the narrative.

Mark writes that the man with the unclean spirit cried out (anakraxen). Actually crying out what the demon says is an interesting exercise. It makes one aware of the tension and drama in this passage. It usually isn’t a pleasant experience when someone screams at you with a loud voice. Then Jesus rebukes the spirit with a command of his voice. The spirit makes the man convulse and then cries out again with a loud (megale) voice. This isn’t’ a quiet, submissive demon.

Imagine how that might have sounded if you were there. The scene in this text is ripe with drama and tension. A screaming demon and Jesus able to rebuke him with authority. I think the people in the synagogue would’ve have been afraid of the screaming man and wondering what to do. But their fear turns to amazement and awe.

Performing this text in a way that expresses the words Mark choses in his text would be impactful. If a preacher were to cry out, shout or scream I’m sure people would take notice. Perhaps, even hear the spoken Word anew for the first time.

Research Proposal – Draft One

Research Proposal – Draft One

First draft finished! (On May 26, but I haven’t updated my blog yet…) I wrote this proposal in two months, and I’m hoping that it should be ready to send to the doctoral committee by early fall (deadline is mid-November).

I’m in a bit of a research slump as I wait – and that’s not a favourable place to be – my task over the next few weeks is to be diligent with my evenings for research and building support for my proposed thesis. As I research for my doctorate, I am also trying to do book reviews for SBL – as if I have more spare time. But research can be hard when I have a book case of Euro games just itching to be played….Colt Express anyone?

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Accepted

Unisa-logoI’m happy to note that on Monday Mar 9 I was accepted to UNISA for entrance into the Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in Biblical Studies (New Testament). I plan on working in the area of Performance Critical Method in Mark’s Gospel and the theme of offense. (I am finalizing registration with UNISA and then I need to connect with my Supervisor Professor PJJ Botha).