When the World Ends: Or, I Need a New Computer

public-domain-tombstoneThe Death of My Dell

(To skip to the “best laptops for writers” information, scroll to the end.)

It was the 2015-2016 academic year.

I was finishing my MFA program (no biggie), launching a platform, winning NaNoWriMo, writing my thesis, planning and organizing a remodel/addition project in the SF Bay Area (from Maryland), dealing with having four kids grades 6-10 in school for the time in their lives (with very mixed results), endeavoring to submit work on a regular basis, AND working at a job I do not love for what was supposed to be dwindling hours but turned out to be ever-increasing hours.

I was also trying to get a handle on my daughter’s serious and chronic genetic health disorder, finding out the same daughter might also have epilepsy (no firm answer – she’s on watch), suffering from an awful and seemingly endless bout of carpal tunnel (in both wrists, of course), trying to sell a house in an area where houses can sit for years, dealing with packing and a cross-country move, volunteering as a Board member of the library, freelance editing and critiquing  …. The list is almost as long as it seemed like my bout with carpal tunnel was (and sadly is – it’s back). I’ve blocked out the rest.

You get the idea – it was a little busy.public-domain-red-wine

One afternoon, to relax, my husband and I decided to take our work to the screened-in porch. It was a Sunday, a gorgeous fall day, and after researching and making yet another decision on the new house project, we decided to enjoy a glass of red wine while browsing online at various home hardware options. I believe doorknobs were next on the list that day.

My husband brought out our favorite red, poured me a lovely glass, and passed it over to me where I lounged on our patio couch. Then, as only someone with carpal tunnel can do, I lost hold of the glassware and tipped the generous serving straight into the keyboard of my laptop. (This is where the people with carpal tunnel nod sadly in understanding and those without frown a little in confusion.)

Suffice it to say, since that day my poor computer has never been the same.

Even though we’d done our best to dry out the computer right away, it wasn’t enough. It lagged. It crashed. It flashed strange messages. The speakers quit. The mic quit. It stopped liking the internet and stopped liking its own keys. It shut down and refused to turn on, making you think it had committed some kind of cyber suicide only to come back to life a day later. But without the physical or mental time to dedicate to the issue, I ignored it other than the occasional update to my husband.

“Hey hon, my computer is crashing more and more frequently.” Or, “I’m so frustrated. I just lot another revision because of this thing.” And the most repeated, “Honey? Not right now, but soon – probably within a month, if it makes it that far – I’m pretty sure my computer will actually die instead of pulling another Lazarus. Just want to warn you.”

horse_with_blindersI admit it’s not the best technique for dealing with a problem. In fact, I usually advise against it. But this time I tied on the blinders extra tight and just kept plodding along one annoying keystroke at a time. I had too much else to worry about.

And somehow, it made it to this week. It wasn’t pretty, it often involved threats of violence. But in the end, that determined computer lasted a full year. However, it’s reached the point where I can no longer ignore the need to replace the wine-resistant beast. I need a computer that works. Reliably. Not one more file will be lost, I tell you!

So here I am. In the middle of another very busy fall (that house project? STILL GOING ON!) and not in the least bit interested in researching computers. But faced with the reality that to survive as a writer one really does need a computer, I needed to take action. And so…

I am on a mission to find the best laptop for writers.

To simplify the processpublic-domain-laptop-writer, I’ve been reading reviews of computers like tomorrow is their last day on earth. And not just regular reviews – reviews that provide thoughts on the best laptops for writers.

In the spirit of sharing found knowledge, I want to share a list of reviews out of the millions (okay dozens) of reviews for computers made in/for 2016 that have been deemed “for writers.”

I can’t vouch for these other than to say yes, I read them and they do exist. Whether or not the information is accurate/valid/reliable? I cannot say. I can say I know more now than I did before reading them, and without these articles I would be drooling in a corner overwhelmed by the options.

Without further ado, here is the whittled-down list of reviews of best laptops for writers in 2016:

Plus… I wouldn’t feel right without including a link to this forum on Writer’s Digest where writers chime in from all over to share their opinions about “the best” laptop for writers.

After all of that (and more, so much more) research, I’ve decided there is no “best laptop,” only the best laptop for you. Personally, I’m leaning toward a Lenovo. Just not sure which one. Yet more research is required, I suppose (will it never cease?!).

Tomorrow is the deadline I set for myself, and I’ll post an update about which I choose and why after I’ve gotten to know it a little.

What about you? Have you ever lost a computer? Are you in the market now for any reason, not just wine-related incidents? Please share your thoughts on the best laptops for writers!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. James Stack says:

    Hi. I think your laptop OD’d on wine. It got a little tipsy and then passed out.

    I use an iMac Pro with both Word and Scrivener software. The reason I like Apple is because they offer Apple Care. The rare time I have an issue they have been able to fix it over the phone in very little time. The Lenovo I had before this always had to go to the computer shop and spend at least one night, and it often had issues – was much more susceptible to malware and other problems. I also love my iMac is because it is lighter than the Lenovo I previously owned.

    Another reason I prefer Apple is because I have all Apple products – iPhone, iPad – and I can share everything via the iCloud. Also, they have a backup system/product call TimeMachine which is wonderful. All of my writing is backed up, so should anything happen, I have some comfort in knowing I can retrieve all my hard work.

    I didn’t read any of the reviews you posted, so I have no idea what, if anything, they say about Apple products.

    Good luck with your decision. I know it isn’t easy. It took me until two years ago to go with Apple, and I have not been disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat says:


      Ha! I love that analogy – it was definitely tipsy for some time and is now out cold.

      Thank you so much for the input! I did read a bit about Apple, but I’m so familiar with PC and its operating system… I start panicking at the idea of trying to learn Mac. I did take a look at a MacBook during a writing workshop last week. A woman at my table was using hers and generously let me play with it. It seems phenomenal! I think several of the reviews did list one/several of the MacBooks (I’m not good with the names of each one, so I don’t know which versions) as the best choice for Mac users. I only hesitate because every time I use my mom’s Mac, I get lost in endless tabs and can’t seem to get where I want to on the computer without having to call in one of my kids (oh boy, I sound really old).

      It’s ironic that I now live in Cupertino, CA – home of Apple – and I don’t have an Apple computer. Or an iPhone. I think they may kick me out… 😉 I do have an iPod – somewhere in a moving box….

      I’ll take a closer look, though. Seems like a good idea to check into it since everyone who uses a MacBook loves it.

      How was switching to their operating system? I’ve always struggled with it, even as a kid. Everyone says it is easy once you adjust… I’m just afraid of losing all of that time.

      Thanks again for the input – I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. James Stack says:

        Hi – I know how you feel. I, too, was hesitant to switch from a PC to an Apple. I signed up to take classes at the Apple store that was near where I lived at the time (I had a studio apt in NYC but have since sold it). After the first class, I was fine with how it works. It is actually quite similar to a PC – at least that’s what I found once I realized you can use the PC steps to do what you want. Also, I got MicroSoft Office software on my Mac since I didn’t/still don’t know how to use the Pages or Numbers software – besides, all the places I submit require doc. and/or docx.- so I have to keep using Word – which I love. Scrivener I’ve tried and will try again on my next novel, but for now the things I write are on word on my Mac. Good luck.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kat says:

        Good to know it is possible to make the transition! Thanks for filling me on how the process went for you. Although, now I’m adding more computers back to my list… =)

        Liked by 1 person

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