I love my computer. Really. Without word processing software I would never have considered becoming a writer. I hated typing my papers in college. (I wrote them out in longhand, cut and pasted them, then typed the final draft.) It was one reason I didn’t choose journalism as a major. (Shallow, but true.) I can type with all nine fingers (does anybody use their left thumb?) but I’m not fast. Word processing allows me to make all sorts of mistakes and fix them with the touch of a button. Yay!
But it’s not simple. There are many, many software packages that process words. Early on I taught myself a simple one that got the job done. I was happy — until I had to do more complex work. Then I taught myself another program. WordPerfect was neck and neck at the time with Word, and since Word was produced by the other Evil Empire than the one my husband worked for, and we got a gift of WordPerfect from a friend, we chose that path. (We also chose Betamax because my brother gave us his old machine — I detect a pattern here….)
All was wonderful until I made my first sale of a novel. The sale is still a wonderful thing! but WordPerfect (at least the old version I have) doesn’t have the “track changes” function which my editor requires I use. Word is the industry standard in publishing. So I bought Office 2010 which includes Word. Yippee. I’m learning it, just as I did the other two programs. But it would be a whole lot easier if it behaved consistently.
I won’t burden you with the details. Let’s just say that I want my computer to work like a old-fashioned land-line telephone. (Relatively old-fashioned — like 10 years ago, not 100.) I want it to do the same thing every time I push the same combination of buttons.
Is that too much to ask?