So I’ve been a bit stubborn. (Okay, let’s be honest . . . I’m stubborn all the time.) For twelve years, I have been an avid user of Microsoft Word 2003. Yes, you heard me: Word 2003. You may be asking why I haven’t bothered to upgrade. And that’s a great question.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the greatest answers:
Force of habit?
A dislike of change?
Having gotten more involved with editing in the last year, I’ve inevitably started running into problems with using older software. I’ve had to run compatibility programs to open docx. files (which didn’t arrive until 2007), risking conversion errors. Microsoft stopped updating Word 2003 as of 2013. My installed version has corruption issues with track changes, meaning I risk losing my edited work if I don’t save constantly. The disc is currently across the Atlantic Ocean, so I can’t even reinstall to see if that would solve my problem.
When I put it that way, I suppose my stubbornness now just hinges on stupidity. (I refuse to admit I’ve crossed the line, but think what you will.) When I told a friend about my
refusal reluctance to upgrade, I got a link to xkcd in response.
I’d say that about summarizes it.
In the past, I’ve heard great things about other programs, such as Scrivener, but as a diehard Word fan, I’ve refused to even try it.
I’ve probably been capable of getting a student discount on a more recent version of Word for . . . quite some years. But I never bothered.
Word 2003 has worked for me. We get along. We understand one another. Those corruption issues? We’re still talking those out.
Yes, you see the problem now, I’m sure. So how did I get past this roadblock and enter the modern world?
I was forced into it. I got a work computer.
Without actually having to purchase the software myself, I’ve been able to finally test the waters with Word 2013. So far, despite my initial frustrations with all the tabs, I’ve started to enjoy the utility of the program. It has certainly made my editorial life much easier. After all, I like being able to work without worrying that the software will crash on me in the middle of an important job.
What should you take away from my personal experience?
If someone you know is suffering from Refusal to Upgrade Illness, call an intervention. Tie them up so they can’t harm you, then remove the software from their computer and install a newer version. Bar any access to older versions until the withdrawal symptoms have lessened. If needed, lock them in a room.
If you are still clinging to the past, quit. Get the upgrades you need to complete the tasks in the most efficient way possible. If you’re having to compensate for errors or a lack of functionality, it’s time to move forward with something more practical. It doesn’t take too long to learn how to use a new version of a program, and the results from taking the extra time to properly learn it will far outweigh the refusal to try. This goes for more than just software. Don’t just do this to meet the standards of the current industry; do this for your writing. For you.
Sometimes you find that it ends up working out better than you initially imagined.
So now I’ll announce to the world: Word 2003, you’ve been a good friend to me, but I’ve got to get with the times.