What a difference a keyboard makes! (Or, how many excuses can I come up with to avoid writing?)
I own several computers of varying ages. My husband is a computer programmer and owns his own software company, so computers are important in our family. I have an older Mac Powerbook laptop that I remember setting up while watching Hurricane Katrina blow in to New Orleans. I have a 2006 Macbook Air that I purchased for school — I wanted a lightweight computer that would easily transport in a backpack for doing lightweight tasks like report writing and internet research, as compared to the heavy-duty graphic and photo work I asked of my Powerbook. And I have a desktop computer, an iMac of unknown age that was handed down from my husband, who needs to upgrade his system continuously in order to keep his software current for his clients. (I also have a very old G5 sitting in the closet, which would probably do my photo work much faster if I would only get the new memory card installed. But that task scares me, so in the closet it remains.)
In the beginning I kept the tasks of each computer separate in order to keep the computers clean: the Powerbook was for personal (i.e. “portable”) graphic and photoshop work (and since it came before the others, also word processing); the desktop was for professional, hard-core graphic and photo work (that’s where I installed Aperture, the entire Adobe Creative Suite 4, and have my terabyte external hooked up); and the Air was for lightweight use, as I mentioned. But over time, demands on the computers changed and intertwined, to the point where I’ve installed a very memory-intensive photo program on the Air, and Word 2004 only exists on the Powerbook. And I have no word processing program at all on the Desktop, only InDesign. After all, I am a photographer/graphic designer first, writer second. (Wait, no, I think theatre professional has to come second. I’m a writer third.) (I should really figure this out. Maybe set some priorities. Ah, that’s a post for a different day.) (Oh, and hey, quit it with the excessive parentheses, ok?)
All that to say that writing — a very simple task that doesn’t ask much from any computer — is somehow a very difficult thing.
For awhile I used the Powerbook for writing because it had Word. But over time the Powerbook has gotten super slow, lags a lot, and I can almost guarantee I’ll be watching the spinny beach ball for at least thirty seconds after every keystroke. (Note to self: clean computer. Ugh!) So then I switched to the Air. But now the Air seems to have the same slowness and lag time. (Maybe it has to do with the virus protection program? Or have I just bogged it down with too many programs?) (Note to self: clean TWO computers. Ugh! Maybe “tomorrow” …) (and STOP WITH THE PARENTHESES ALREADY!)
And the upstairs desktop had an ancient keyboard whose keys were clunky and stuck and never managed to type what my fingers commanded. I spent far too much time backspacing and correcting common words, which completely broke my train of thought every three words or so. So I avoided writing anything on that one. Even facebook comments were a pain.
A couple of days ago, my son asked to use my desktop computer. He spent about three minutes on it, got up and said, “hang on a minute.” He went and got a new, modern keyboard from his room and replaced my old one. “I hate that keyboard, use this one.”
And now typing is a JOY. The screen is big, the computer is fast, and the words that appear on the screen are indeed those that my brain commanded.
I guess I have no more excuses then, right? Oh, wait, this computer doesn’t have Word …….
(I hate Word.)