This is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written and I’ve been putting it off because I really didn’t want to write about it, but here goes (takes a deep breath): about a month ago my computer crashed. It took all my backups with it. Every single one of them. Seeing all this disappear right before my eyes made me feel sick. I just wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out.
I have now joined the ranks of writers who have had to start over because of events beyond their control.
Talk about a major blow to the psyche. As the portent of this tragedy really sunk in, I questioned whether or not this is what I should be doing. Am I really a writer or am I just fooling myself? At first I wasn’t sure. But after a couple of days, after the pain and shock lessened, my courage returned bit by bit. Then I found an old backup of my work so I hadn’t lost everything. A little ray of sunshine! More courage returned. Then one night, quite out of the blue, I told myself in a strong no-nonsense voice that YES! I AM A WRITER!
Once I reached this point, it was easier to put this behind me and get back to work.
The biggest lesson I learned was to never ever trust my computer with my backups. So what to do? I could e-mail the documents to myself but I don’t always have an internet connection so that’s out. My only other recourse is to religiously back up to a USB jump drive but I think that is really more of a band-aid to the back-up issue because we all know those memory sticks have a tendency to stop working without warning.
The seemingly obvious answer is cloud storage. I’ve known about it for a long time but resisted using it because, bottom line, it’s simply air. You’re storing your data in the ether regions of who knows where. Of course your data is also nothing but air as well but I don’t think we think of it as such. I grew up before computers and I’m constantly having to tell myself that it’s ok not to have the hard copy in my hand. But cloud storage? That’s a whole new level. I had the fear of what would happen to my data if the company managing that small space of air disappeared? I’m probably being unrealistic since this is truly the way of the future, but nevertheless, for me, it’s a very real one and one I now must come to terms with.
All that being said, I took the plunge and started using Dropbox in addition to my USB. Surely having my data saved in three places will be more than enough if something like this happens again. But then again, I’m probably being way, waay, waaay too paranoid…
So, for the last month, I’ve been busy bolstering myself up while at the same time trying to remember everything I put in those chapters that are now missing. I’m writing GTT in a linear fashion and it would be just too hard to try to start all over so. It would also be a daily reminder of what I lost and I’m not ready for that. Not yet at least. Instead I’m starting where I left off while, at the same time jotting down notes of what I remembered was in the missing chapters. In the future I’ll go back and re-write them. Who knows. Something amazing may come out that I would have never thought of had this not happened. That would be nice!
I’m still working on trying to recover whatever I can of my work without spending my entire savings. I know it’s in my computer somewhere. It has to be. How else do you think law enforcement authorities are able to recover data the user thinks they completely deleted? Even when a complete operating system restore has been done? I’ll keep you posted.
The amount of work I lost was pretty substantial. But it was not the entire novel nor did I lose so much that I had to completely start all over. I think if it was, I would have definitely crawled under the covers and stayed there for days. With chocolate.