Trello vs Scrivener | Thriving Scribes

It’s a battle of the writer systems and the fight is fierce. Today, I’m gonna help you decide whether Trello or Scrivener is the best tool for your author life.

Now, I know many people who wouldn't even attempt to compare the two. They are just SO different...right? Well, I have something very different to say about that. While I'm a firm believer that there is no right way to be an author and write books, I’ll be honest with you my friend, I’m a huuggee Trello fan. Yep, I said it. I'd choose Trello over Scrivener any day.

Each system has it's own unique features that will draw in some people and turn away others so for those on the fence between which system they want to use, I’m going to go over them with you so hopefully you can make a decision and just start writing that book already. 😉

Trello might be for you if...

  • You are a strategist (or really need to be).

I began with this because the bulk of Trello's power comes from its amazing ability to allow the user to create strategies for... well...anything at all. Trello's checklists, workflows, and general set up is created for fun productivity. This means that Trello's features can (and should) be expanded from your writing to your entire author business and life. This is also one of the major differences between Trello and Scrivener.

  • You're more visually minded.

If you like to draw things out to figure out a problem or if you’re a sucker for a poster full of sticky notes and all things visually appealing, Trello is probably the more fitting option for you. With a bunch of customization options, you can have a blast setting up a functional and pretty Trello board (I sure do!).

  • You need portability.

With the help of the mobile app, you can use Trello on your desktop, your laptop, your phone, or your smartwatch! No matter where you are, you always have access if you want it meaning your notes, strategies, and to-do list are just a tap away!

  • You get new ideas and expand on projects all the time.

In Trello, you have different boards for basically every project. You can have different lists within every board, so it’s a little easier to expand within one project. You can break things down into smaller tasks, assign them to certain team members in a simple, user-friendly way.

  • You like to see everything you’ve got going on for a project at once.

On a Trello board or project, you can make things linear, but you can also make them very visual. With a scroll through your board, you’ll be able to see all you’ve got going on. You can make each project look different and move things around to inspire your creative side.

  • You already have a favorite word processor (or don't mind using a separate one).

While Trello does offer the option to add descriptions and endless attachments, Trello itself does not have a word processor. This has never been an issue to me because I write all my drafts in Google Docs and since Trello gives you the ability to sync the two, its a one-click access to my document from within the linked card.

  • You are seeking simplicity.

All new programs come with new things to learn and will take a bit of time to get the hang of the new tool. But after spending years trying out different tools, Trello was the easiest to figure out at the level of features it offers before I could find my flow. By far.

Scrivener might be for you if...

  • You are only wanting to manage your writing.

If you are only interested in a product for your writing, and solely your writing - whether that be blog posts, novels, or essays - then Scrivener may be your go-to system.

  • You want a clean file-folder type set up.

If you like seeing your projects a linear way, Scrivener might be for you. The reality is that Scrivener's software can be a bit of an eyesore and if you work like I do, all the drop-down menus and toolbars can be a bit of a distraction. But, everyone had their different opinions of this.

  • You only write at one place.

Unless you have an iPhone, you won't be able to access your Scrivener content outside of the computer it is downloaded on. This may be the option for you if you only ever work on your book from your home office.

  • You want your projects in crystal clear order.

Everything is in one project on Scrivener and broken into folders within a virtual "binder".

  • You like to focus on one task at a time.

As mentioned before, your content in Scrivener is laid out in a very linear way. List lovers and structure fans will love this. If seeing "the big picture" can be overwhelming for you, Scrivener may be your best best. Every project will look the same.

  • You want to write where you work.

Scrivener's text editor will feel familiar to a word processor and your writing can live entirely inside of Scrivener's system. They also offer additional features like formatting and exporting.

  • You don't mind a major learning curve.

Let's be honest. Scrivener's interface can be a bit intimidating. I remember opening the program up for the first time and not having a clue where to start. But if you've got the time (as in, not working towards an approaching deadline) and you've got the will then you can definitely make Scrivener work for you.

To summarize...



Can use for more than writing-related projects.


Visually attractive.


Can be used anywhere.


Allows for a "big-picture" view.


Has a word processor.


Will format your book.


Simple to learn.


That’s it, guys! Hopefully, this has cleared some things up for you and you now know which one will work better for your needs. Whether you like Scrivener or Trello better, your business will be better for it. Gotta get those WIPs in order so you can write those books!

Looking for even more guidance as you work in Trello?

Trello vs Scrivener | Thriving Scribes

Trello for authors will help you organize both your working and non-working life, and simplify the day-to-day management system. Check it out.

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Trello vs Scrivener | Thriving Scribes
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