Thursday, September 22, 2011

Older, No Wiser

The blog I was planning to post won't get posted today because my laptop crashed last night while I was working on it. All I did was close the lid, unplug, walk from one room to the other, plug in again and bam. Nada. No power, no laptop, no blog. I've had computers die on me before without warning. You think I'd learn.

Yeah well. The laptop's in the shop and I'm on the library system. I've still got my desktop, the circa-1990 Troglodyte 1000. That's the only one that has a printer. I can type stuff on it and print things out, but its system isn't compatible with anything created in the 21st century. Looks like I'm in for a lot of retyping until Mr. Lappy gets fixed.

Hence today's words of wisdom: KEEP BACKUPS. Backup everything you write on a computer, and then make a backup for your backup. Keep the backups in a secure place separate from your usual storage space, like at your mom's house or something. What if a flood hits? (Don't laugh; here in southcentral PA we got hit hard by Tropical Storm Lee a couple weeks ago. Harrisburg is still drying out.) If you're writing a novel, backup or print out chapter by chapter. Nobody wants to get to the end of a 120K-word novel, then lose the whole thing if their finger slips. Not only will you guarantee you have a copy of your work, that growing stack of paper looks damned impressive sitting next to the keyboard at the end of the day.

I'm old enough to favor paper as my saving system of choice. If it turns out I do lose my files, I've still got printed copies. The only thing possibly gone for good is about 1000 words of a story I was writing directly on the laptop (the laptop has no printer). Even that's not such a big deal, since I have the beginning in longhand. It's that humongous novel I had typed in there. I've got a paper manuscript, but yeesh, the amount of retyping I'll have to do if I want to email it somewhere. Why didn't I save that to the flash drive when I had the chance? Yeah. Live and learn.

I'm hoping this won't be anything serious and all my files will be intact when I get the laptop back. In the meantime, it's back to longhand drafts and printing out my typing on the Troglodyte on a daily basis. Also make more use of flash drives. Like The Who sang about, won't get fooled again.


Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, I FEEL for ya! Having had nasty things happen over the years, as far as losing work, the computer included.

I have FOUR flashdrives going to back up everything I write and all the other info files, etc.

Also, you can use the file storage space on the Yahoo loop, upload your WIP, so that if your hard drive dies, or everything gets flooded, blown away... it will still be in cyber space.

There are also cyber storage services. But, hey, they cost actual money.

I used to print out everything, but it became too massive! I do wish I had an economical way to do that. Actually, it's more economical to bits-and-bites write, then use Lulu or Createspace to make a print book, thus, your paper copy.

Course, you gotta have it ready. Although, come to think of it, maybe you could just save a manuscript that way.

Pat C. said...

I'm hoping it's something related to the power (neither the cord nor the battery worked) and that my files are all still there. I'd hate to have to retype that book (yecch) or try to replace those racy pictures of Sam and Dean.

Savanna Kougar said...

It might be a battery issue. This is coming from a tech dummy, though.

Yeah, I have one that was on an old floppy disc, that I would have to type in... unless I can figure out how to scan it in. I love that story, but likely it'll never get a chance at publication.

Actually, two, now that I think about it... both of them RWA contest winners... but that was eleven years ago.

Pat C. said...

Contest winners? And you're letting them sit? Retool 'em for the modern age and get 'em on the market!

Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, oh, I'd love to. But, gosh I can't keep up with my current WIPs. I am making some good progress on White Fang. Although, I know Dante is more popular.