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:

  1. Cheap.  I’m not playing games or downloading big files, so I didn’t need a ginormous hard drive.
  2. Desktop.  Laptops are for portability, and this computer isn’t moving anywhere.
  3. 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.


5 thoughts on “When a Writer’s Computer Dies

  1. When I first started writing it was all typewriters too, but I hated typing, so I wrote everything by hand in spiral notebooks. It was way more satisfying to erase, cross out or just rip that page right on out of there if I didn’t like it. 🙂 We had computers by the time I got out of high school, but they were not great for writing, mostly DOS and not much in the way of word processing. I didn’t get that until many years later. Now I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    Whenever I do anything of note on my computer, I save everything to my computer then backup to a thumbdrive, and then to a backup hard drive.


    1. Yeah, they were pretty primitive. It’s come a long ways. I still remember doing a script in one of the early processors, and the file was too big for the disk. So what did it do? Aborted, and I lost the entire manuscript.


  2. Feeling your pain! It’s never easy when you lose a computer. It is a lot of work getting things back in order. I hate getting used to a new computer. It’s like starting all over, at least for the first few weeks. 😦


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