No matter how much I write, I still often find it a daunting task. The experts say to "write as you go," which makes a lot of sense in principle - especially for genealogy research reports. When it comes to putting this into practice, however, I often struggle. Notes are scattered, downloaded images mysteriously vanish, and the thought of bringing order to the chaos leaves me staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page.
In my case the writing isn't really the problem (although it can use work as well), it's the organization. This is where Scrivener, a content-generation tool for writers by Literature and Latte, has been helping me to manage my genealogy writing projects, whether a client report or a case study. It doesn't do the writing for me, but Scrivener does help me collect my research, ideas, images and notes all together in one place, while supporting my own individual writing process - disorganized and all.
Scrivener is billed as writing software, but it is really more of a project management tool that helps you to write in bits and fragments, and then shuffle index cards, documents and ideas around into organized structure. Outlining tools help you to structure your ideas. A corkboard makes it easy to organize your notes. Multiple windows allow you to view your research or images alongside your writing and compose the constituent pieces of your text in isolation or in context. You can even create your own templates - a great tool for client reports.
Scrivener was originally written for Mac OS X, but is now available for Windows as well. A free trial is available so you can try it out for yourself. It can be a little daunting at first, but if you give it a little time you may find it works to bring order to your writing chaos as well. If you find you like Scrivener, please let me know what you think!