Back to Word

Plates have been spinning here over the past week, so I’ve been neglecting my little blog. Sorry to that handful of sitecrawlers and Viagra peddlers that frequent this front page! I’ve had a lot of deadlines lately, of many varieties. But enough excuses!  Procrastination is its own reward.

I posted earlier about how I’d decided to try and use Google Docs to write all my manuscripts and store them on Google Drive. (Them clouds are all the rage with the teenyboppers!)  While I will continue using Drive, which has proven invaluable, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and return to that old, abusive relationship with Word. Hey, it’s easy to cap on both Microsoft and Word itself. It’s a favored target of hip writer types in particular, and I’m no exception. I have to admit, however, that Word 2013 is a vast improvement over its predecessors. While certainly not perfect, M$ has addressed many of the things that made the program a chore to use in previous versions: the dreaded ribbon can be turned off or reconfigured, the spelling and grammar tools are much improved and there’s nary a spunky animated paperclip in sight.  And the switch from editing to reading mode is downright spiffy.

So, adios for now, Google Docs. It’s still a perfectly acceptable tool for composing a resume or dashing off a letter to your landlord. Improvements have been made, but it’s still not quite up to the task of revising and editing a full manuscript. It’s fine for getting words down and committed, but outright chokes on the finer points of tuning a doc to Arcane Publisher Specification #617 (“We only accept documents in Lucida Console 11-point font, 1.5-linespaced with your name and SSN on every third page header.”) Beyond that, I’ve been a bit spooked by the recent canning of Google Reader, a reminder that Google remains quite capricious with its free software.

I’ll still be using Drive to store docs in that magical rainbow cloud, because it’s too damned convenient.  My usage, though,  tends to be quite the opposite of the advertised method: I use docs from Drive for ease of daily use and then also store them on my own portable drive as a backup. You never know when Internet Corp. du Jour will experience a catastrophic failure or suddenly change their Terms of Use to your detriment. It happens, folks, even with Google.

So that’s what I’m using this week. We’ll see about next.