I’ve been writing with an ancient writing program. Ancient as in 2000. It never felt ancient, but the more I used it for my work, the more I realized it was outdated.
For starters, I couldn’t read .docx files. In an ironic twist, I could on my phone, but I couldn’t manipulate it the way I needed to. I downloaded a conversion. Problem solved! Or…not. While my conversion worked, it was very, very finicky. Simply put: it likes to eat pages. Send me a 300 page manuscript? I may get 30 pages. And if I edit in the .docx file the pages mysteriously grew smaller.
I thought I was going insane. Especially when the document went from 83 pages, to 38 pages. Figured my slight case of dyslexia had kicked in. Then it went down again and I knew I wasn’t crazy!
Tired of asking my writer friends to convert to .doc, and realizing I would need the newer features available eventually, I decided to take the plunge.
And while I was hemming and hawing, afraid to install the new version, I ran into a horror situation every writer fears/experiences. I had finished editing a chapter in one of my novels, complete with backtracking to strengthen some plot points. In this backtracking I also wrote a kickass paragraph where my character’s voice was rich, strong and sure.
Hours later I went to open the same document. A message popped up: Would you like to revert to the saved version? Since I always, always, always save, I clicked “yes.”
I’m pausing here to cry all over again.
I knew as soon as my finger lifted I made the wrong choice. I spent the next hour scrambling, trying to find the version that had been so beautiful. Nothing. It was gone. I had never clicked save, my old writing program had never auto saved.
It was time. I installed the updated program. The past fifteen years of comfort now gone, I’m in a brand new environment. And even though it’s still a learning curve, I like it.
Especially when I see “auto saving” at the bottom of the screen.