“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before in some form or another. The gist of it is that you can give everyone a chance at least once. You can believe what they say once. If they do or say the opposite of what you were first led to believe, the fault lies with them. You didn’t know they’d let you down. Now, if they let you down and you give them another chance only to be let down again, the fault lies with you. After the first letdown, you should’ve had an insight into their character.
After what happened to me this weekend, I think this quote can be more liberally applied. I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t another person letting me down. It was my own carelessness that let me down. It goes a little something like this…
With the three day holiday weekend ahead, I was looking forward to the opportunity to have a chance to write. For the last few months, I’ve been investing most of my free writing time in a new story. Initially the story was slow to get off the ground. Of late, it’d gained quite a bit of momentum, and I had the sense I was nearing the end. If you don’t recall from prior posts, I never really know how my stories are going to end. This isn’t something I plan in advance. Instead, I let the characters dictate how the story will take shape. That being said, this isn’t how I let myself down.
Given the upswing the new story was on, I’ve been very excited about it lately. In fact, I’ve been so excited that I’ve been working on it during my lunch hour at the day job. I want to clearly state that I do not take my employer’s time to pursue my writing. I have a strong work ethic, and I take my day job seriously. However, lunch is my time and I can often be found banging out a new passage of my latest creation during my lunch hour. This was the case on Thursday afternoon. I spent about a half-hour working on a new scene and then saved and closed the file. Then I removed the flash drive from the PC and went on about my business.
I’m sure you can imagine my horror when I plugged the drive into my lap top on Thursday night and received an error message whose basic point was that the file was corrupted and couldn’t be opened. I needed to complete text recovery. On first seeing this, I wasn’t actually too panicked. This was partly due to the extreme case of denial I was already suffering from. The other reason I wasn’t panicked is that I have a computer genius for a husband, and he’s recovered lost files for me before. I thought he could probably get most if not all of it back.
Now is where I must make the shameful confession. I’ve lost one of my files before. I didn’t just lose any old file then. I lost the entire third story in my trilogy, the entire third and almost completed story. After much crying, begging and hair pulling on my part and a lot of painstaking effort on my husband’s part, he managed to get back all but fifty pages of that story. That hurt, but at least it wasn’t the four hundred fifty I was first faced with losing.
Never again, I swore. I was never going to lose a story again. I’d learned my lesson and was going to be more vigilant about making back up copies. My husband pitched in to help. He set up the MS Word program to auto save every ten minutes and to always make a back up copy. He backed up everything on my flash drive onto his PC hard drive as well as my lap top hard drive. And every week, I would dangle my flash drive in front of him and ask that he back up its contents on his hard drive. And every week, he would without fail.
Then it happened. A virus hit my lap top and wiped it out beyond recovery. No problem. I had all my stories backed up. With just a little bitterness, but no concern, I bought a new lap top and my husband plugged it in and I went back to work. There’s a big but here, and no I’m not talking about mine! But I went back to work without setting the auto save and requesting a back up always be made. With the sting of my loss having faded, I grew lazy and complacent. There was always another day or time for me to back it all up.
Wrong! The file corrupted before that time came. The only back up copy we retained was one hundred four pages in length. I’d already gotten to page two hundred thirty four. That was more than half my story lost in an abyss of corrupted files. Again, I begged and cried, but this was different. Something happened to the text in the story. It pulled in text from a different story and read that as belonging to the new story. Don’t ask me why or how. I don’t know enough about computers to tell you, and I really don’t care. All I care about is the fact that I’ve lost half of a story I can’t get back. Yes, I spent my weekend attempting to reconstruct it and have managed to pen fifty pages, but I can’t get out of my head. I keep thinking the other version was better and this is terrible. I keep asking myself how and why I’d let this happen again.
I can’t answer that question. All I can say is shame on me! Don’t let it happen again.