Monday, August 22, 2011

Losing Your Work

Yesterday I did something stupid.

During the day, I’d worked on my novel for about two hours. Not a huge amount of work was done, but I made a fair amount of changes and revisions, which I felt halfway OK about.

Then, at night, tired and bleary-eyed from a long week and weekend, I accidently saved the file from my hard drive to my flash drive instead of the other way around.

So: all that work was gone. And it was especially frustrating because I hadn't worked on my novel for about a week, and so on the one day I do, I erased everything. Nice.

I posted something about this on Facebook, and someone responded he once lost two to three months of work due to a save mishap. He took the Zen approach and said it was a sign to start working on something else.

Losing two to three months of work would give me a seizure. I don't think I'd take the Zen approach. I've lost stuff before, but never that much. (Last night I stayed up late troubleshooting and trying to reconstruct my changes while everything was still fresh in mind.)

There are famous stories of writers losing work: Hemingway's first wife losing a suitcase that contained everything he'd written so far, Maxine Hong Kingston losing a manuscript in a fire, etc.

These kinds of things always make me wince, one of my greatest fears realized.

Any horror stories to share about lost work?


S Kay Murphy said...

Losing two or three months worth of work would give me a seizure, too. I recently told a techie friend I was storing the file for the book I'm currently writing on a flash drive. "You know those can suddenly stop working, right?" he said. Yikes. Still have to hook up the external hard drive I bought.
Also wanted to mention: I loved your piece, "Accident," in The Sun. It was, in itself, comparable to seeing an accident--the bare, bloody emotions exposed so tragically. Look forward to seeing more of your stuff in The Sun.

Andrew Roe said...

Hi S Kay,

Thanks so much reading for "Accident." So glad you enjoyed it.

You're right about flash drives. I need to be better about backing up myself. Day to day, I back up on a flash drive, then use an external hard drive every week or so. But I need to rely more on the external HD.