Saturday, April 13, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Loss

Welcome back, new kids and veteran novelists. Today, I'll be painting you a little picture.

Of a new novelist in the throes of typing a new idea. An amazing idea. One that will, to the novelist's mind, set the market alight like Harry Potter. We're all sort of egotistical when neither inner nor outer critics are watching. Especially in the beginning.

Anyway. Weeks pass. Wonders happen. The story grows. As does the word count.

Things can't be better.

Until one day, the hard drive melts.

There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

"Oh that's silly," the veteran will say now. "All he should do is take out his... Oh... wait. He didn't back up, did he?"

No.

He didn't.

When was the last time you backed up your writing? I know that there's this sense of "this won't happen to me", but I fear it will. I've lost tens of thousands of words because I didn't back up in enough places. So no. One flash drive isn't enough. I now have two portable hard drives and cloud drives where I keep my back-ups. Another easy solution is to e-mail the back-ups to yourself.

Generally, it doesn't even take long. So please, don't procrastinate on this. Every day you don't do it puts your work at greater risk.

One more word from the experienced, please make sure you're copying from the correct folder and pasting to the correct folder. Because if you replace the new version of a doc with the old, the new one can't ever be salvaged.

What's your record loss? How did it come about?

29 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We have four computers, three external hard drives, and several thumb drives in our house - work is backed up every day, trust me!!!

Lexa Cain said...

I've heard so many horror stories about people losing a whole ms (or several) when their pc crashed. I only back-up about once a month -- but before you decide I'm an idiot -- I copy and paste all my writing onto an online site about every 15 minutes, so the most I'll ever lose would be 15 minutes' worth of writing. (Unless the main site goes down, but it's huge and has been around with no problems for 12 years).
Wishing peeps no lost work. :-)

Nick Wilford said...

I hear about this all the time - and yes it happened to me when I got a new laptop and my flash drive died. I hadn't even looked at the stuff on my new laptop or saved it on the hard drive. I use Dropbox now and email stuff - just hope that's enough!

Sandy Campbell said...

that was a great post!! Thanks for the reminder! www.sandysanderellasmusings.blogspot.com

Crystal Collier said...

I've had programs crash on me, but only one computer. Everything gets backed up via email on a regular basis. I made the mistake of not backing one file last week, and my netbook tanked over the weekend. Well, that or one of the kids dragged a magnet across it. The hubby is working on document recovery as we speak, er type, and I'm hopeful he'll succeed. It was only about 12 pages of the beginning of new story. Only.

Jeff Hargett said...

'tis always a sad thing to hear when this happens to people. I backup everything compulsively--and frequently "version" or "date" it so that I have backups of stuff in different stages of completion. I'm a big fan of Dropbox too, which is where I keep my "active" copy of everything.

Rena said...

One day, I was typing away, happy as a clam (not happy as a writer, because that fluctuates from day to day). As I typed, I heard a click biwhoooooooooow. The computer just died. Dead. Never to be resurrected again. Gone. DEAD.

I'm pretty anal about backing up, so I only lost a week's worth of work, but it was pretty frustrating. (and seriously, most computers go through a "I'm gonna die soon" phase).

Botanist said...

That is one of my recurring nightmares, though it only prods me to take a backup every week or two.

I just got around to getting a second thumb drive and taking my most recent backup to the office so it won't be in the same building as the laptop.

Cindy Dwyer said...

Just backed up - thanks for the reminder. I need to be better at this.

I do email my manuscripts to my work account, but there is a lot of other writing out there to lose!

My biggest loss was a ten page paper I wrote in college. I borrowed my friend's computer and didn't want to clutter his drive by saving it, especially since I planned to write the whole thing in one sitting. I went to print, did something weird and accidentally deleted it. Ugh. I wasn't happy.

Laura Stephenson said...

I've never lost my writing. The one time my computer died in a way that ruined my hard drive was when I had been switching between two computers a lot so I backed up my novel pretty much every day.

I still email myself my manuscript occasionally just in case.

Mark Means said...

A great reminder and a topic I don't think of, enough. I use Google Drive as well as jump drives for the important stuff.

Fiona Pearse said...

Hi Misha. I had my apartment robbed a few years back and my laptop was stolen. Luckily, I had backed up before it happened and I had nearly finished my book. I can't imagine how awful it would have felt, to have all the edits over about a month or so lost! So, you're absolutely right and thanks for the reminder!
Fiona

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

Hi, I lost my new blog a while ago all data went and followers.
Enjoyed reading your post.

Yvonne.

Dani Jax said...

Great post! We email back-ups and have mem sticks for our writings because we know how it feels to lose writing when we didn't back it up. :/

Milo James Fowler said...

I haven't lost anything yet, and I always back up everything on one flash drive...but now I'm thinking I should double or triple copy everything -- and print everything out, to boot! Those poor trees...

ifeomadennis said...

Once I lost three pages...and it felt terrible because there was no way I could write exactly the words I'd written in those pages! I was typing and my computer switched off without warning.
But these days, I've learnt to send them to my gmail, or to my sister. That's the way I back up :)

mywithershins said...

This is a great reminder about backing up one's work, even making sure you don't accidentally save to a file with a similar name. I did that once and kicked myself for a week!

Laura Marcella said...

My hard drive crashed when I was a sophomore in college. Luckily it was right before I went home for a fall break, and somehow my computer savvy brother was able to hook up my laptop to my dad's computer and save some of my things. Not everything though. Since then I've used two flash drives and an external hard drive to backup my stuff. I also email whatever writing project I'm currently working on to two different email addresses. It's better to be safe than sorry!!

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Margareta Spain said...

Hmm...I thought writers had a muse or maybe that's the poets. Good luck with your babies. Thanks for looking in on my blog. M

Annalisa Crawford said...

Usually I back up whenever I read a post like this one, but today I actually backed up this morning. I'm so bad at it, usually, when really it should be an everyday kind of deal.

My biggest loss wasn't writing related - when I worked in a library I had a database of websites with close to 1000 entries. I lost that!

Julie Flanders said...

I've been lucky with this so far (knock on wood) but it's definitely one of my biggest fears. I'm now totally obsessive about backing things up. Great post.

Mina Lobo said...

A very important tip, Misha. I save on PC, on flash drive, and e-mail from one account to another. Hope that'll cover every possible contingency!
Some Dark Romantic

Maria Dunn said...

Oh Misha. So true. And I need to do that, back it up. Thanks for the reminder even though it hurts. God bless, Maria from Delight Directed Living

mrkelly2u said...

Always a welcome reminder, Misha. I am paranoid and update every tiny revision to my dropbox account.

Carrie-Anne said...

Ever since several incidents back in the Nineties of losing entire files, I've obsessively backed up. I'm not misusing the word literally when I say I literally save like every 30-60 seconds! I also learnt a very valuable lesson about breaking up my books into smaller files, so that if I lost one chapter or section, at least the entire book wouldn't be lost. I finally got a flash drive recently, designed to look like a tiger, and I've put all my files onto it. That includes files from my current computer, the files from my eMac, and the old disk files I converted and reformatted.

Pam Williams said...

I forget what the circumstances were, Misha, but I found out the hard way that it is necessary to keep files backed up. I got a nifty little lego girl who is a flashdrive and I back up my files every Sunday evening. Great advice you are giving out here during the A to Z. Much appreciated.

Kristen Dyrr said...

Man, that would suck! Fortunately, my history is in IT, software engineering, and computer engineering. I've learned to be paranoid about backing up *everything* :)

#atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

Deniz Bevan said...

Really enjoying all your a to z posts! I used to print everything, can you believe it? But even people who don't want to get into storage can still do the easiest backup - just email it to yourself!
One of my more annoying losses was when I had a book stolen at work - I could easily replace the book, but not all the notes-to-self and scene ideas I had in there on bits of paper used as bookmarks!

The Desert Rocks said...

Hi Misha. I wish I was more technical. Great post but I make discs to save and backup my stuff but it doesn't always work.