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Friday, November 8, 2013

Near-No-WriMo

I was reminded of a valuable lesson today, which I originally learned six years ago.

In my first year of high-school, I lost a little story I had been working on at school that had only been saved to my memory stick. I left the memory stick on my desk, left the room, and when I came back, it was gone. So was the story.

I started saving the things I wrote in at least two places from then on. Once on my memory stick, and the desktop of the computer I was using at the time. When I got my laptop, I made sure to have a copy on the memory stick and the laptop whenever I could. At one point, I even had a copy on a second memory stick.

In the past year or so, especially in the last trimester of university, I got lazy with saving multiple copies and admittedly only kept a copy on my laptop.

Today, I was typing away at my NaNoWriMo W.I.P WALLS, moments away from hitting 15,000 words (my goal for the day was 15,003), when all of a sudden, my laptop switched itself off without warning! I worked out very quickly that it had overheated... it's a pretty old laptop and I'd left it charging for too long, so it wasn't happy with me. My first thought was, oh no, when was the last time I hit Save in the Word Document? After that, an even more worrying thought occurred... what if my laptop didn't turn back on? Last summer, my little sister's laptop (which she got the same time I got this one) switched itself off with a cloud of smoke rising from the keyboard. I had saved my NaNo to a memory stick on I'm not even sure what day, but it was the only time I had saved it elsewhere and I'd written a few thousand words since.

Luckily for me, my laptop did turn back on and I'd only lost about 100 words after subconsciously hitting Save at the end of the last full paragraph I'd written. I vented my distress and relief to a fellow WriMo over Facebook and she told me that's why she usually uses Google Docs/Google Drive as well as backing everything up on another device... it means there's a copy available wherever you've got internet connection, it's backed up on a hard device or two, and Google Docs has auto-save like Blogger does.

I made a Google Drive account last summer because a friend wanted to share some documents with me for proofreading, so after the near-no-WriMo experience today, I might give it a shot and write straight into Google Docs from now on. We will see how I go!

Lesson/reminder for the day: ALWAYS back up your writing!

My NaNoWriMo-ing is going smoothly and I'm sitting at a little over 15,000 words right now. A little more than a day ahead of schedule! At the moment, Mildred and Kovax have just been dismissed from their third after-school detention in a row for the week and it's raining outside.

Where do you back up your writing? How are your NaNo plans going? 

- Bonnee.

18 comments:

  1. Yikes! Catastrophe narrowly averted. I have a memory stick as well, though I don't save there nearly as often as I should. Last summer (I think it was last summer) I had a Word crash that took a fair amount of unsaved work with it. Auto-Save is my friend.

    Great progress you're making on WALLS--way to go!

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    1. It terrifies me to think how easily we could lose the things we write... I guess sometimes we need that little wake-up call!

      Thanks for visiting, Jeff! How's BW revision going? :)

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    2. See my blog!

      Overall, pretty well, thanks. I'm shaving words and I still like what I've written.

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  2. Email the document to yourself. That way it will last until your email provider shuts down.

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    1. There's another good idea :) Thanks Patrick.

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  3. I had something similar happen with my first laptop, except it was only a month after I bought it. Seriously, what computer crashes after a month? There I was, typing away, when I got a black screen and then it wouldn't turn back on at all. Cue: panic. Luckily, it was fixable and after that point it was a lesson learned to always save my work in multiple places. Now I always save a copy on my laptop and an external hard drive, and I also email it to myself at the end of every writing/editing day.

    So glad your computer turned back on and that you didn't lose much. It sounds like NaNo is going splendidly for you! :)

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    1. Must have been something wrong if it crashed after only a month! Glad it turns out it was fixable. Thanks for visiting, Shari :)

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  4. Omg! I am so happy you didn't lose everything! That would have been a Wrimo's worst nightmare!
    I save everything on my computer to Dropbox, which mean I will be able to recover everything as long as dropbox is installed on the device, also I write in Scrivener, which auto-save everything as it is being written :)
    And it is good to hear, you are ahead of the wordcount! Keep it up!

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    1. I would have been more than a little distraught if I'd lost everything!

      I think I might look into Dropbox because I don't think I've heard of it. As for Scrivnener, I keep meaning to look into it! Perhaps this might prompt me to do so. Though from what you've just said, it sounds a lot like Google Drive/Docs.

      Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

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  5. That is pure panic. I've not ever lost anything from a computer crashing, but I worry about it all the time. I also worry when I'm on vacation that the house will burn down and take all my writing with it (no, I'm not crazy, I'm a writer :P). I back up everything, usually through e-mail and a flash drive. I have dropbox, too, but I'm not trusting cloud technology right now.

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    1. My worst nightmare before Google Docs came into play was that the house would burn down in one of the bushfires that seem to show up in the area every summer and take all of my writing with it. In summer 09, when I kept everything religiously saved on a memory stick and the Black Saturday bushfires were in the area, I kept the memory stick next to my bed, just in case we had to evacuate. Totally not crazy! Fingers crossed that never happens to either of us, thanks for visiting!

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  6. Whew! That would have been awful! I accidentally deleted a whole chapter once, and if I had known about Ctrl+Z ... (wasted youth). For me, I work off a thumb drive and save every time I break a page. Then save everything from that session onto the computer hard drive. Haven't worried about lost stories since. :)

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    1. What's Ctrl+Z do?! I have a recycle bin on my desktop so if I accidentally delete something, I can usually restore it from there, unless I have deleted the content from within it.

      Thanks for visiting, David! :)

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    2. Ctrl+Z undoes whatever you just did. Accidentally delete a whole chapter? Ctrl+Z, and voila! Everything comes back (unless you save the document after deleting it, then it can't help you).

      Any time, Bonnee! :)

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  7. It's great that you lost only 100 words and nice progress with WALLS. I already lost two memory sticks with my novels, so I know the feelings. It's panic big time if you lose a memory stick with all the pages of the novel, and don't have a backup. But I saved my two complete novels on a few memory sticks and keep them at home, and just update them from time to time. Quite scary for your little sister to see a cloud of smoke coming out of her laptop. Do you read her parts of your novels? I was in detention in high school, so can relate to Mildred and Kovax's situation. Do you have a scene where the School's Principal invites them to his/her office to discuss the events leading to detention? Best wishes to finish as many pages as you can in NaNo.

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    1. That is so lucky that you had them backed up on more than one memory stick!

      I don't read my sister parts of my novels, though I did used to read to her sometimes. She's not much of a book lover and it's often hard to tell we are related.

      I don't have such a scene, though I'm contemplating making one of the teachers involved the principal, which means creating one of those scenes during a revision once the draft is finished might be in order! Otherwise, the events leading to the detention are explained in another way.

      Thanks as always for your encouragement and support, Giora!

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  8. A week and a half in and I'm a little behind, but I'm enjoying the story that's unfolding.

    Saving and backing up our work is soooooo important. I learned this the hard way ;)

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    1. Glad to hear you're NaNo is coming along. Hope you can boost your word-count up to date soon! Thanks for visiting :)

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