Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

Once there was a girl who didn't backup her files regularly enough. She used her laptop to store all of her stories and digital paintings, photos and tax information, music and videos, for two and a half years. Whenever she updated her current manuscript on the laptop, she also saved it to a flash drive, and every once in a great while she emailed herself her current work-in-progress files as well.

One day, this girl (who worked in tech support and really should have known better, CRIPES) needed to backup files from a friend's computer she was reformatting, so she dumped her backups onto the desktop of her laptop. And then she forgot to put them back on the flash drive.

Two weeks later, her laptop's hard drive made clicking noises, seized up, and died. It died so hard that no one in the IT department could even get a computer to recognize it as a drive, and this girl lost two and a half years of digital artwork, photos, and accumulated music and videos. Her current novel had been backed up by email only one scene ago, but the two revisions she had on the back burner lost months of work, and numerous story beginnings and school documents were gone.

And to make it more interesting, let's say there was also a man with a hook for a hand involved. He can be the Apple store guy who took the laptop in for service.

SURPRISE TWIST ENDING: That girl is me! I know, you never would've guessed, right? Yeah. So. I, uh... I kinda deserved this. I must have cotton balls in the "Backup your data, stupid!" part of my brain, because this is the dumbest technology-related thing I've ever done.

On the plus side, a couple of good things have come of my massive, bone-headed data loss. My boss has convinced me to try Dropbox, which both backs up data online and syncs it between any computers connected to the account - a nifty new toy. I'll also now be forced to redo parts of my revisions that I wasn't 100% happy with. And in scrambling around for copies of my WIP, I found a version that includes a scene I thought I'd lost. A scene that starts with the line "So, you're kind of a slut, right?" It's not integral to the plot and will likely get cut during revision for that reason, but it's one of my favorite things I've written this book.

Anyway, yes. Back up your data, kids. Don't let the realization that you only lost 90% of your creative projects be the high point of your day.

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