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Sunday, October 20, 2013


A Writer's Quirk: Getting a New Computer

by Wonderlane
I got a new computer. Before you read on, I want you to know that I am not whining. I'm very fortunate to be able to go to the store and buy (ummm, charge with good credit) a new computer because my old laptop was going kaput! (It was basically possessed.) However, I continued to use that possessed computer for 10 more days before I even opened the box of this new one and turned it on.

My husband thought I was nuts. "Open your new computer yet today?" He would ask when he got home from work.

Yesterday, he was home and said, "Why are you using your old computer if your new one is out of the box?"

No, he's not a writer. I hope that before I explain myself most of you are nodding along with me and completely understand why--It. Was. So. Hard.

I write everything on my laptop. I tried to write a dream I had by hand the other night, and my handwriting is so bad, I can't even read it. All my files, photos, saved URLs, novels, presentations, and more are on that old computer. Yes, I have an external hard drive. Yes, I turn it on and back-up my files. Yes, I even figured out this morning how to transfer them to my new computer--with ease.

But still. . .

My new computer has a different keyboard. My fingers hit the keys differently. My wrists are actually turned in a different way. It's harder to find stuff on this computer right now--can you say NEW Microsoft Word program and WINDOWS 8?

I don't want to take the time away from my work and creativity to learn all this new stuff. Okay, so I am whining.

Look, I knew it was bad yesterday when my 3-year-old daughter said to me, "I can make your new computer work."

I said, "Don't touch it."

She went over there with some toy she had, waved it around, and she said, "All you do is say the magic words: Hocus Pocus."  This morning, she got on her pretend phone and said, "Hello? My mom needs help."

Today, I made an effort to get enough stuff going on this new laptop that I could type this blog post, which I am doing now. And I guess it's going okay--although you might think--what is this drivel she's writing?

Writers are quirky. We have writing rituals. (Read this article about Writing Rituals here on WOW!). I guess I have a bond or weird connection or something with my old laptop, and I'm sure eventually I will feel the same way about this one. But for now, I'm in a bit of a shock/mourning/grieving period. Maybe I'll wear black to the park with my daughter today. . .

Okay, let me hear it--how are you quirky?

Margo L. Dill is teaching Writing for Children: How to Get Started and Take Hold of Your Career , starting on October 23, and Writing a Novel with a Writing Coach on November 1. For more information, go to the WOW! Classroom and click on the title of the class or e-mail Margo at margo (at) .

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Blogger Mason Canyon said...

Margo, I feel your pain and I'm not a writer. I just had to get a new computer too as my old one is slowing winding down. I'm not sure I like the new Microsoft Word program, it's taking some time getting use to it. And as for Windows 8, it wasn't too bad. I made the mistake of updating to Windows 8.1. I like 8 better. Here's wishing you luck with the change.

Thoughts in Progress

5:09 AM  
Blogger Sioux said...

Margo--I recently got a new laptop as well, and my husband had to wrench the old one of my hands with great force. It got ugly.

I don't like the new one. I don't. But slowly, I'm getting used to it.

Could your daughter come over and wave her magic wand over MY laptop? I need all the help I can get...

6:12 AM  
Blogger Lori Schafer said...

Fortunately for my writing, I am not like that with computers. I am like that with new cars. The whole world seems different somehow when you buy a new car. The view out the windshield, the height off the ground, the angle of the seats and rear windows, even the area covered by the mirrors - it's a tricky transition. On the plus side, I can't think of any surer way to change my perspective on my sometimes all-too-familiar surroundings.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Eugenia Parrish said...

I bought a new laptop a few months ago and ended up taking it back before the fourteen days was up. And, contrary to the thinly veiled opinions of my friends, it was not because I couldn't learn Windows 8. I was getting used to it, I really was (with much muttering, gnashing of teeth and threats to throw the whole thing out the window). The real problem was that the computer had bugs -- lots of bugs. When I returned the first one, even the techs couldn't figure out why it demanded a password and when I entered one, it went to a completely black screen. So they gave me another. This one threw up window after window that would just sit there "trying to do something" (judgment of yet another tech) and wouldn't let me open anything else. Another trick it had was to stick the cursor to the icon I wanted to click on, so that I was wildly flipping it around the screen like a cat trying to get rid of a piece of Scotch tape. When I would shut it down completely to reboot, it's last act (I swear) was to cackle maniacally. Finally I threw it across the 'customer service' desk and said "Keep it!" I've been afraid to try again, even though this one is showing signs of senility. But to answer your implied question, I actually (usually) have fun with a new toy. When it works.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

@Mason: Thank you for the heads up on Windows 8.1! :) I don't need anything else new right now.

@Sioux: So glad to hear it's not just me. :)

@Lori: I guess it is cheaper to get used to a new computer than a new car. I love how you tried to put a positive spin on this change

@Eugenia: Awful story and I've heard those horror stories before. So far, I am getting used to this one. . .Grumble, grumble

6:42 PM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

I will keep buying a new battery for this laptop until hell freezes. Or the laptop. Whichever comes first. :-)

7:05 PM  
Blogger Renee Roberson said...

My husband is the "techie" guy around here so he usually buys me new computer equipment and hooks it up when it starts getting to "that" point, which I am very grateful for. He always laughs at me when I'm afraid to play around with my computer and phone and swears I never use all the features provided. I'm like that with most electronics, now that I think about it. He bought a new cordless phone system a few weeks ago that also has intercom capabilities and I have yet to play around with it beyond checking voice mail messages!

Also, I've been working with a Mac platform for so long I am totally clueless whenever I try to use a PC now. So many quirks . . . so little time!

7:16 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

@Cathy: Guess what? In this new computer I got, once the battery is out, I have TO SEND IN THE COMPUTER. The guy at Best Buy told me this is how all the companies are going--the battery will last for about 3 years, and by that time they figure you won't want to be without your computer for 2 weeks while they replace the battery for you, so you will go buy a new one. I was in shock. This sounds horrible to me. We are at the mercy of the computer gurus.

@Renee: Me, too. Who has time for all the bells and whistles?

8:16 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Margo, I did the same thing when I bought my new iMac! I waited for a week before setting it up and hubby pestered me every day about it. I had so much work to do that I couldn't take a break to set it up and ruin my flow! And forget about hand writing...I feel awful for anyone who gets my handwritten cards in the mail. I have carpal tunnel and my once beautiful handwriting is now chicken scratch. =/ But I just love my computer now. I'm also in the market for a laptop and considering a PC since Macs are too expensive! Let me know how you like yours and what kind you got. :)

12:39 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

I wound up getting an HP again--it seemed like the best thing for me because the battery hopefully will last about 3 years or so before you have to ship your laptop off to get a new battery (This seems crazy to me, but it's the trend.) Anyway, I got a HP ENVY m6 Sleekbook, and I like it, except for the mouse pad--I really have to get used to it. If you swish it in a certain way, the type on the screen actually gets bigger or smaller while you are trying to read something. I am doing this accidentally all the time. :)

3:56 PM  

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