Monday, July 23, 2012

A Decision on Computers

I love my Mac.  And I need a new computer.  So logically, one might assume that I'm going to buy a new Mac when it comes time to replace this worn down machine of mine.

Sadly, I can't do that.  You see, for much of what I do, I NEED a PC.  I need to format all of my manuscripts in MS Word or they don't look professional when agents open the files (to be fair, I've only had a handful of partials requested, but they looked professional!).  I COULD use MS Word for OS X, but at the same time I COULD us sewing shears to cut up chicken for enchiladas.  "But Giles," you say, "what about Pages?  That's a GREAT program, and you already use it to write ALL of your stories!"

Alas, when exporting from Pages into .doc formatting, headers, margin, line number, and even page breaks get adjusted and moved around to make it look like a deranged monkey took over the project before sending it to agents.

So here comes my decision.  Since I NEED a PC, and I'm trying to save money for my future, I've decided to buy a PC and not a Mac.  It makes me sad, it really does!  I already have a copy of Windows 7 Pro that I COULD use to dual-boot a Mac that would run OS X AND Windows, but it's still about the cost.  When looking over the technical specs of a PC vs. a Mac, I can get equivalent hardware for half the price.  And the PC (laptop) would STILL have a larger screen!

But even if it wasn't about money, I'd still be getting a PC.  As a pre-published author, I need to streamline my process, and taking an hour or two to sift through a manuscript that's been transferred (whether it's via thumb-drive or e-mail) from my Mac to my PC is simply a waste of time.  Since I work nearly 40 hours every week, I don't have a ton of free time at home.  So I need to do whatever I can to make every minute count.  By writing directly in MS Word on a PC, I'll probably halve the time it takes to prepare my manuscripts for my critique group and any agents who show interest.

And with Word on the Windows side, that would make my Mac nothing more than an expensive music library.  And let's face it: iTunes works on PCs, too.  And so does Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2.


  1. LOL, yeah, iTunes does work on my PC. I wanted a Mac too, when I was looking for a new computer. But they were too expensive here, so I bought a Dell, and it's been pretty nice. :) Good luck with the new computer!

  2. I've always been a PC girl and everyone tells me to get a Mac, but based on this post of yours, I think I'll stick with PC when it comes time to replace my home computer.

    Good luck in your quest for a new laptop!

  3. Linux. Runs on non-proprietary PC hardware, and free office programs.

    The catch: I entered the 2011 Colorado Gold with an Open Office-created .doc file. My entry looked perfect in Open Office. Two of the three judges who opened it with M$ Word had no problems. Lost a lot of points with the third judge for bad paragraph formatting, though (ouch!).

    This year, before sending in my Colorado Gold entry, I opened my .doc in Wordpad (on my old Windows XP computer in the basement). Guess what? I could see the paragraph formatting errors that I could not see in Open Office -or- M$ Office 2010. I had to re-edit my .doc until all the paragraphs were perfect in Notepad.

    1. I've never really been a fan of open office. And the games I want to play only work on PC, so Linux is out :).

      But the formatting issues are definitely why I'm going with a PC and MS Word. I'd hate for something like a simple formatting issue to get in the way of any writer's chances to move forward in their career. That's why I (grudgingly) recommend PCs and Word to writers who are looking for a new computer.