When disaster strikes

I have a secret.

I’m an utterly disorganised writer. Post it notes litter my desk, which is so cluttered I write at the dining room table. Important pieces of paper are filed with all the other pieces of paper that once made a rather nice tree. And then there’s the crucial thing every writer must do. BACK UP THEIR WORK. That UBS is around here somewhere…

I recently went to an RWA conference and one of the key note speakers (another member of disorganised-r-us) told us a horror story of how she lost an entire novel after her computer crashed because she didn’t save her work elsewhere. She scared me enough that I immediately invested in a portable hard drive and backed my work up.

That was a couple of weeks ago…

I also email my stories to myself when I’m finished. However…I’ve been sneaking editing time over the holidays, and while the boys were busily playing in the sunshine I managed some editing on a story due ASAP. And I didn’t back-up. Didn’t email it to myself. Didn’t do anything except pat myself on the back for managing to get some work done.

And like every good story, the main character, flawed but still loveable (me) on her quest for the perfectly edited story, hits a stumbling block…

Overnight, her computer is riddled with a virus so strong, she’s worried she’s going to catch it! The internet doesn’t work. Scary pop ups pop up and flash codes in red, warning, evacuate, it’s the APOCALYPSE! Or something like that. But wait, it gets worse. Her documents won’t open. She breathes a sigh of relief. Remember, she backed up, oh wait, weeks ago! And the new edits, sob! Because she was distracted, she wasn’t thinking she was…BEING DISORGANISED!

Luckily, for our main character, she somehow manages to save the story to drop box, and copy and paste it, because it is still corrupted and won’t open on another computer. So, all in all, disaster averted and another lesson learned.

BACK UP! Every time! Drop box, USB, email it to yourself, your mum! Anyone. And now she waits for her writing group friend and IT guru, Jake, to come and beat the virus into submission. While pondering the fact she’s talking about herself in third person.


4 thoughts on “When disaster strikes

  1. Oh no!!!! I hope the world is back right side up for you!! I use Dropbox as my main folders. I also have an external hard drive which I SHOULD also back up to, but haven’t in a long while… thanks for the reminder! I might go and do it straight away so I don’t lose all the precious photos and files on my hard drive!!

  2. Oh my goodness. It is so easy to neglect the back ups even though we know how essential they are. I back up from laptop to desktop and for novels also to a USB stick which goes everywhere with me – sounds a bit paranoid, I know. I like the idea of emailing it to myself.

  3. My writing is on dropbox but I’m not so good at remembering to back everything else up… Thanks for the reminder. (And glad your story had a happy ending!)

  4. And yet you still found time to blog! I also email my stories to myself but not the novels as they progress. I don’t have that much data space. So when I found my finished novella wouldn’t save any changes after I’d made the final edits, the day after reading your panic attack on FB, I panicked too. But I ran my security program and was able to save after that. I only lost a day’s edits. Phew!! Backing every night before turning computer off, from now on.

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