Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Computer anxiety.

The computer (Word more specifically) decided to throw us for a loop.

It's all about the macros. If you haven't ever taken a look at Editorium, you're in for a treat. Jack Lyon has created a handful of excellent macros for editors, writers, and publishers to help conquer Word's exceptional ability to format everything in sight. (You know, when you try to create your own numbered list and Word automatically types the next number or you apply formatting, but whoever had the document before you chose to use another font and another color and another size somewhere in the middle of that paragraph and as soon as you click in to begin typing you see that your text is baby blue, Courier New, size ten, not Times New Roman, black, size 12.)

Jack's macros save my bacon and actually help me make a living. No longer am I doing things by hand, I'm pressing a few keyboard keys and voila, I can pull all formatting out of the file, or specific formatting out of the file.

Well, last night at about 9 pm, my stripper quit. LOL. (I've been dying to say that for YEARS! Trust me.)

Actually my macro called NoteStripper, (available at Editorium) just conked out. It started messing up my files, made my computer crash, crashed Word, you name it. I called my techie hubby in to check and we uninstalled and reinstalled the macro, then Word, then decided this morning to reformat my hard drive. (Which we are still doing, because it needs it anyway.) But I came downstairs and turned on the computer (and installed all the Office updates) and decided to disable a macro set (at hubby's recommendation) that also runs at Word startup. It's named differently than the Editorium macros and I think it's from another project. As soon as I did that, I ran NoteStripper on both the files that needed it and boom, it worked.

My Stripper quit because other macros were in its way! Just shows you can get too many tools and end up ruining your productivity in the process.

It's so similar with writing. New writers anxiously ask me all the time, "What kind of computer do I need to write? Who do I need to meet in order to get published? What kind of books are agents and editors buying? Is it double space or single space for fiction?"

My reply is frequently, who cares. Write by hand, on a typewriter, or your neighbor's rusty Apple Macintosh or PC. Don't meet anybody yet, just write. Write the kind of book you believe in and love with all your heart. Double space, please, from an editor's perspective.

If you don't believe my answer on the "what kind of books are agents and editors buying?" question, check Kristin Nelson's posts from last week. She covers it better than I ever could.

And in writing news: I'm making progress on my Curio project space for Let Them Eat Cake. Lenora is not the star of this book, but she impacts her daughter Cassie's life and goals very much. My goal is for my readers to yearn for Cassie to get free from her mother's sad shadow of a life without me overtly telling them to. We'll see if I can pull that off.

No comments: