Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Case of the Disappearing WIP

Now, I can look back at this particular moment with humor but almost a week ago I was in meltdown mode. I am an obsessive saver of any document I am working on, but not so good at backing up the work. I do email it to myself on occasion, but not as often as I should which is how I found myself in a heart-wrenching predicament last Friday.

I was at a crop retreat last week and spent the first hour each morning working on the edits for Altered to Death. I didn't want to get behind schedule, so I took some time away from scrapbooking to edit. Being in a different environment energized me and I found the words and ideas flowing. As I was finishing writing for the day, the thought entered my head that I should email the document to myself. Just in case. Instead of doing that immediately, I decided to browse the Internet for a bit for a die cut file I needed for a layout. I was debating between two design files when all of a sudden the screen went blank.

First, I was calm. I figured I hadn't plugged in the computer correctly or the cord got loose and the battery died. No problem. I checked the cords and pushed the button to turn the laptop on. Nothing. Double checked cords. Pressed the on button. Blank screen. My stomach did a little flip. The laptop had crashed.

While I hated to lose today's work, it was only one day. I checked my email on my phone. Oh no! The last time I "backed up" the book was over a week ago. A week of changes and additions that were gone forever. The edits are due May 9th. What was I going to do? Could I redo everything by then--if I could even remember everything? I was so angry with myself. Why hadn't I emailed it first?

After berating myself for a few more moments, I did the one thing that might make everything better...I called my computer tech who is my husband. He was golfing but told me he was positive he could fix it once he returned. And if not, he'd be able to get the drive out of the laptop and save my book.

While I felt a little better, I wasn't totally calm until my husband arrived and within a minute had the laptop back up and operational. After thanking my husband, I emailed the book to myself and will schedule my WIP to be updated on Dropbox on a daily basis. I don't want to go through that panic situation again.


Ellen said...

There's a lot of stuff inside that plastic box you call a computer. Any of said stuff can go bad. But so long as the hard drive doesn't go bad you can take it out, pop it in a drive holder, plug it into a USB (or whatever) port on another computer, and retrieve your data. All Is Not Lost, though time and convenience might take a dent. At worst, you have to find a nerd to do the job.

An author with only one computer is in danger from Murphy's whim. In our household, we maintain four computers, all running the same version of Windows and using the same word processing program. Two of them are stored away for use in emergencies. We also take them when we travel, so the main computers can sit safely at home.

And we have one of those little drive holders, too. And an automatic backup program. In this game, paranoia is a bonafide occupational qualification.

Christina Freeburn said...

My husband said the same thing about the hard drive. He said as long it's okay, he can get any information from it but it was better to back it up. I'm okay with backing up my desktop but I've been exclusively working on the laptop as my desktop acts wonky. (The cut and paste function will only work a paragraph at a time, very frustrating when I'm editing and moving large chunks of text.)

It might be a good idea for me to go ahead and get a new desktop before it decides to just quit altogether.

Ellen said...

If at all possible, get something that doesn't run Windows 10. That stuff is spyware. Don't trust the cloud, either - it isn't there when your internet is down

Get a nice fat thumbdrive for backups, then at the end of the day e-mail them home. You can get 128 GB of USB3 for under $50 these days, quite enough to last longer than any deadline -- probably longer than a writer's career. You can plug it into the hotel computers (they usually have them available) in an emergency.

Christina Freeburn said...

Thanks, Ellen! That's a great idea.

Linda O. Johnston said...

So glad you got it all back!