I do all my writing, and have always done all of my writing, in Microsoft Word. I like it. It’s easy, mainly because I have a hundred and seventy-two years of experience using it.
Typically it does what I want it to without question: copy and pastes, capitalizes, indents, spellchecks (God, where would I be without spellcheck), pretty colours, exploding ravens, no wait, that’s Angry Birds.
All this checking and spelling and capitalizing and indenting stuff means that I have approximately four hundred thousand stories, partial stories, essays, novels, partial novels, and pictures of muskrats saved in separate documents. All good, right?
On occasion I am organized. Yes, on occasion, However, if you ask the hubby he would say that I’m slightly anal retentive when it comes to organization, but seriously, what the hell does he know. I mean really.
Take, for example, yesterday. I tell hubby that I am heading out to the Wookie Cave (my studio) and he says he is going to bring wood up from the basement to restock the rack in the living room. (All fine, except as a normal human being I would have taken the trailer out to the wood pile and hauled it to the back door, then I would have used a wheelbarrow to bring it in. Thus saving a million steps up and down the stairs, and saving my arms from getting scratched to shit by tree trolls.) So he heads to the basement and I start to get my crap together (coffee) to go out into my studio. However, on my way out, I notice that the pathway to the rack is blocked by a rocking chair, a coffee table, and a lounger. I can picture the entire scenario unfolding before my eyes. On trip number four, with an armful of wood, hubby stubs his toe on the rocking chair, falls over the coffee table and the entire load ends up on the furniture, denting chunks out of the hardwood floor, and possibly smashing the front window. So I clear a path; move the rocking chair, shuffle the coffee table and push the lounger…it literally takes 15 seconds. Later on, hubby is filled with the miracle of it. “Like that was a great idea. When I saw the room, I thought, sweet. It sure made the job easier.”
So, organization—yeah, that’s me, Ms. Organized. So here’s the thing. I’m done my book, all 115,000 words, one prologue, thirty-seven chapters and an epilogue, all saved under one file name, but on thirty-nine different documents. All written in Word, using Times New Roman, font size 12. All the exact same format. Indent for new paragraph and 1.5 line spacing. It has been written, rewritten, alpha read, edited, rewritten, beta read, edited, added to, edited, deleted from, edited and edited some more. So, basically I have spent the majority of my adult life on the fucking thing. I am ready to send it out, but I need to do a query letter and synopsis… I spend the second half of my adult life working on the query and synopsis and become a sniffling, wet pile of goo in the corner, drooling, crying, snotting, and agonizing…oh and I can’t forget, procrastinating. (I’m now an expert player of Spider Solitaire.)
I finally suck it up, pull on my big girl panties and finish them, which means I am finished IT. Holy crap on a cracker! I. Am. Finished!
Time to start shopping it around. No, wait. Let me just bask in the glory of having finished this thing for a little while longer. I’m picturing white sand beaches, massages, rum and pepsi, a bunch of sleep and weeping with joy. Ahhh…so sweet. Okay, back to reality.
So, guess what? There are some publishers out there who want you to send them the whole damned thing, not just the first three chapters. No problem, I knew that eventually that would have to happen. I’ll just copy and paste it all into one document, after all, each chapter is exactly the same formatting. Well, fuck me! And fuck me some more!!!
Word has different plans. Word wants to be a big dick. Word wants me to spend my senior years on this thing. Word is an asshole. Don’t be like Word.
Here’s what Word does, every time I copy a new paragraph, it goes back into the previous chapters and randomly reformats shit. And not in a way where I can do a Select All and change it back to what I want. No, it decides to un-fucking-do the indents, for no reason, in no particular order, and JUST BECAUSE!
Hubby: So, why don’t cha just look it up on line? I’m sure you can google something and it will give you the instructions on how to fix it.
Me: Google it? Now why didn’t I think of that?
Hubby: So, you already tried that?
Hubby: I gotta go get some more wood.
So, yeah. My life has been hijacked by a fucking word processor. (Son-of-a-bitching-Microsoft…I hope Bill Gates decides to haul a bunch of computer parts up from the basement to restock his work room…and I hope his wife is gone shopping.)