Monday, January 10, 2011

Disaster Averted- Sort Of

Even if you've never read my blog before, you know one thing about me. The title gives it away. I'm a writer. What you don't know is how I feel about my stories. I live, eat, sleep and breathe my work. When I begin a new story, I have to confess that I become a tad obsessed with it. I feel compelled to finish the story for my character's sake. Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I'm not one of those writers that maps the story out before I start. Generally speaking, when I begin a story I have no idea how it will end. That's one of the reasons I push so hard to finish. I also happen to love writing. I feel a sense of joy as well as a touch of power in that creative process.

Having said that, you'd think I lived on my computer and knew all of its ins and outs. Guess what? I don't. I'm fairly adept at navigating the web and have a pretty good feel for MS Word. The rest of it is like a foreign language to me, and I'm a bit technologically impaired. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I gave up the beloved floppy discs I was holding on so hard to and got myself a thumb drive. Since getting that thumb drive, I carry it everywhere. It hangs from my neck and contains every draft of every story I've ever written. In some instances, it contains the only copies of those drafts. I know, believe me when I say the lesson was learned. 

Now, as much as I love to write, I can't always get to it right away. Besides having a day job that I'm very committed to being successful at, I also have a husband, two kids in all kinds of extra curricular activities and three dogs I have to manage.  That means I get in a few hours here and there when I can. I try to write every night and most weekends if I can, but sometimes real life calls. Last week was one of those times. I worked on my newest story during lunch on Thursday and then didn't pop it open again until Saturday afternoon.

Imagine my shock and horror to find it was gone. It was there when I opened the drive. Then my computer popped up with a message that said I should scan my drive so I clicked okay. A few moments later the file was nothing more than a memory. I had a brief flicker of panic and then rushed to my very computer savvy husband to explain what happened and beg him to help me. The longer he sat at my computer, the more trouble I knew I was in. Still, I remained in denial mode for nearly a half an hour until he gave me a most grave look and told me he couldn't find the file. How could that be? All I could think about was the hours, days, weeks, months and nights I'd spent on the story. Twenty-five chapters and five hundred twenty-five pages were all gone. I'm not ashamed to say I had a hysterical meltdown that sent my kids scrambling to pick flowers to make me feel better. Though he wasn't sure what he could do, my husband took my thumb drive to his computer and began the file recovery process. Nearly two hours later, he was able to salvage 470 pages of my newest creation. That left me just two chapters short which wasn't as awful as where I started. I did have to spend two days reformatting those 470 pages. I worked night and day and ended up with blood shot eyes and a raging headache.

Of course, this was a small price to pay for my stupidity. I should've known better than to have only one copy of my work saved. I should've been more diligent about backing it up, but I got lazy. I adopted that attitude of it'll never happen to me. Guess what? It did, and it could've been a lot worse.

Disaster averted and lesson learned.

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