When a Writer’s Computer Dies
Yes, it’s dead, Jim.
I went to turn on my computer on Thursday and — nothing. No power. Two scenes from the end of my book, and my computer was dead.
* Sigh *
I thought briefly about taking it in for repair, but honestly, a repair would probably be about the half of its original cost. Plus, it would take several weeks …
It’s hard to believe how much I rely on computers now, especially for writing. I started writing on a manual typewriter, which belonged to my mother. It was one of those old Royals that everyone uses a picture of when they talk about typewriters. As soon as I could afford it, I got an electric typewriter. But I’m a terrible typist. I can type fast, but I make lots of typos. I leave out words, flip words (train for tree), leave off letters …
That’s hard when you’re doing it on paper. I used cut and paste a lot, but I found that I’d make even more. Or leave out a line. I went to a computer as soon as I could with one of the earliest word processing programs, WordStar. Computers were a great thing because I could easily correct problems without liquid paper. Spellcheck is a god!
As I worked on Rogue God, a contemporary fantasy, I constantly moved around like a pinball, correcting problems as I saw them. Technology really makes a difference for doing the nitnoid stuff.
For this new computer, I wanted three things:
- Cheap. I’m not playing games or downloading big files, so I didn’t need a ginormous hard drive.
- Desktop. Laptops are for portability, and this computer isn’t moving anywhere.
- Available Now. I had to be able to walk out of the store with it. I’m not sure I could have survived waiting 2 weeks!
I checked the Sunday ads in the Saturday paper (never understand why the Sunday stuff is there, but it was to my benefit). BestBuy was it, if the computers met Requirement #3. I found three different models, a Dell, an HP, and an Acer. They were pretty much interchangeable, so I asked for the Dell (for no particular reason; I probably drive marketers crazy), but I would have switched to another one if they didn’t have any in stock. They did, so I was done in about 40 minutes.
I’m probably going to have to get a second desktop in the future as a backup. I was kind of shut down when the old one failed, and I could have just switched it out.
I did have backups, but at the moment, I’m slowly putting things back on the computer. I’m thinking I want to think about what I need before I load it back on. Right now, I got Office 365, which is a cloud version of Microsoft Office, which was a whole lot easier getting online with than trying to reinstall software. I also have Scrivener for Windows uploaded (there are priorities).
Rogue God is now done, except a draft of cleaning up any problems, and then it’s to a copyeditor. And I’m onto the next one, a mystery called Murder on Morro Strand.