Mac v PC for writing?

Every writer’s dilemma. Should I use a Mac (silver, cool, sassy) or a PC (grey, practical, and mother of Clippy)?

Let’s pretend we’re rationale human beings for a minute. Someone asks if they should stick with the PC they already have or become one of the beautiful people by buying a Mac. Yes, it’s actually that easy!

Mac v PC for Writing

As someone who grew up with a PC, I know it’s innards pretty well. I’ve learned to create macros, use Find and Replace advanced options, and benefit from its Autocorrect tools.

This means I can write very fast, have large chunks of text automated, and muse over things like character counts.

With the Mac (I’m still struggling with the PowerBook Pro), it’s a different beast. I can accept that the shortcuts are different but… simple things like converting documents seem to take forever.

The one saving grace with the Mac is the Full Screen option. This takes over the entire screen and blacks out all the clutter in the background. I super adore this in a way I know I shouldn’t, but, hey, that’s me!

Mac v PC for Editing

With the PC, I can setup macros that race down the document, changing case, font, and style, fixing alignments, and knocking the text into shape. It’s amazing to watch.

But, it’s not all plain sailing. Cut and paste once too often and it wretches, collapsing in a heap and mangling you document in the process. Yes, there is an auto-recover feature which helps but…

As someone who knows how to control the normal.dot file, I have an advantage over most users. But maybe I shouldn’t. If I’d switched to the Mac, maybe this wouldn’t be happening in the first place.

FWIW I have tried MS Word on the Mac and it’s… not great. I use Google Docs or Pages instead.

Pages (part of the iWorks suite) is fine in some ways. I’m still getting a grip on the Styles option. Creating bullet lists isn’t easy.

Mac v PC for Sharing

This brings us to the next point: sharing. If I create a business proposal in Pages, I have to save it as .doc or into PDF. Both work but the format gets slightly mangled.

With the PC, there is no such issue. Even the most die hard Apple fans will admit to having a PC somewhere in the basement. Ok, maybe not but most of the corporate world runs on PCs and they’re not going to change anytime soon.

Mac v PC for Freelance Writing

When I do freelance writing projects, most clients seem to use MS Word. When we work on case studies or white papers, it’s usually MS Word docs getting emailed back and forth.

Likewise, when I work on contract technical writing projects, I get the specs, requirements, and user guides in MS Word. Very few (if any) developers use a Mac.

The exception is PR firms where many a black turtle-necked associate type out social media policy documents on their Macs. Some are now using iPads fwiw.

Mac v PC for Productivity

This brings us full circle. Which helps you – as a writer – to be most productive?

I have a choice to persevere with the Mac (which makes me feel younger, but get less done) or the very unhip PC (which isn’t actually that bad, but makes me slightly envious of the turtle neck brigade.)

What do you suggest?

Which do you find better for writing? Your PC or supercool MacBook Pro? Or do you use something else?

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