Scrivener for Geneablogging?

Have you considered Scrivener as a blogging tool? For geneabloggers, it becomes not only a workplace for blogging but a local archive for your growing collection of articles which can then be easily repurposed into any number of other publications.


Here you see my Family Stories project in Scrivener opened to a story in the Published folder under the Drafts section. Look down the Binder (sidebar on left) and you see I have set up this project with sections for Graphics, Research and Notes. I’ve been pulling in the family stories I’ve already published on my blog into the Published folder and I’m just beginning to flesh out some new stories in the Draft section so I don’t yet have much in the Research section. I expect that to grow significantly as I work on new stories.

You’ll notice that this story includes images – two actually. You’ll see how Scrivener handles that in a moment.


Once your story is ready to publish to your blog, click the Compile button in the top toolbar. A panel similar to this one appears. The only thing I want to publish is the one story so that is the only thing checked in the Include column. Since this is going to my blog, I want to compile it in HTML format so I selected Web Page (.html) in the Compile For: drop-down menu. Now all I need to do is click the Compile button.


As you can see, Scrivener has converted the story text to an HTML file and exported my two images into an images folder.

What happens next depends on the blog platform you are using. I’m using WordPress so the first thing I’m going to do is upload my images into the Media section of my blog. Once that’s done, I open the HTML file in a text editor that will support HTML. I’m using Text Wrangler [Mac – free] in this example.


Scrivener has compiled my article into a complete HTML page, but I only need the “body” so I’ve only selected the story text. Next I copy it and paste it into my post editor screen – using the Text panel, not the Visual panel (a WordPress feature). Then I saved a draft and previewed the post. The imported HTML code doesn’t adjust the links to the images I’ve uploaded to my blog so I need to fix that manually.

Once that’s done and everything checks out, I publish as normal.

If all you want to do is create a post, this Scrivener workflow probably isn’t for you. However, I’ve found the writing effort is much more pleasant in Scrivener – especially with my research and notes within easy reach. And, since I’m also using those blog posts to build other kinds of family history publications, it’s nice to have them all within easy reach. Instead of just selecting one article to publish to my blog, I can just as easily select several to compile into an anniversary booklet or some other family project.

I have this project synching to a Dropbox folder so I can easily write and edit stories on my iPad too using my choice of apps like Byword [iOS – $4.99].

Right now my Family Stories project is organized into working items and published items. As the collection grows, I will reorganize the Binder – both stories and research sections – to make it easier to keep track of what I’ve done and what I want to do. Scrivener makes it easy to reorganize things and gives me a great view of what’s done and what still needs work. The few extra steps it takes to publish an article from Scrivener are more than compensated with all the other advantages Scrivener provides.


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