Is there anything more vomit inducing than opening your documents to find that your current book has just vanished?
I have lost a book.
Many of you will know how that feels, and for those who don’t, imagine realising that weeks, months or even years of your life have just vanished.
Luckily I have some back up – I have an early draft, but I significantly changed it and added around four extra chapters at the start. I also tend to write everything in long hand first, so I have a hard copy for incidents like this. But here’s the rub – for whatever reason, I don’t have a hard copy of those new chapters, and I’m missing the last 20 or so pages of the end.
Now, I know, I know, it’s my own fault for not creating more back up copies – this is something I yell at other people about, so you’d think I’d know by now. Normally I do have several copies of everything – I have a hard copy, I have a copy on my computer, usually one on my flash drive and, just in case, I email each draft to myself so I have a copy living out there in my inbox. This might seem like overkill, but when i was 20 I lost most of my thesis thanks to a power surge, and a couple of years ago nail polish remover wiped out most of my laptop (but by then I’d learned and had pretty much everything backed up, and the nice man in the repair shop was really helpful once he’d stopped laughing.)
It’s something that is likely to happen to most of us at some stage, and with a bit of luck anything lost will be minor. The best thing to do is to take steps to minimise the potential loss. By this I mean BACK IT UP.
There are lots of options, including Google Docs, which is a pretty nifty tool and easy to use even for those computer illiterate among us.
I’ll admit that I live in fear of being burgled, and so I have all my important stuff – family photos etc, saved to discs and drives that I keep elsewhere – such as my folks house etc, just in case.
I find that keeping stuff in my emails – bounced between two different email addresses – means that I always have a copy in two different inboxes and two different outboxes, so even if I do manage to delete it, it’ll be there in the other email.
So, what am I going to do now? Well, I’m going to try not to cry, and try even harder not to be sick, and then I’m going to have to park my ass down and write all the bits I’m missing. Hopefully it’ll be a better book for the experience.