Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back Up Your Writing!

Ah, you write the last sentence of the final paragraph of your 200,000-word epic American Novel and you hit save. You’re exhausted, you’re elated. You’re just a little bit smug. I’m sure you’ve hit Twitter to brag to all your writing frenemies out there in the web world.

Then, the next morning you push your computer’s little ‘Go’ button and the screen remains mysteriously black. Mmm, that doesn’t look good. You check all the cords and it’s plugged in. You hit the button again, several times. Because repeatedly hitting it always works…lol. Still, just a black screen.

Now, your heart is pounding, little droplets of sweat start to stream down the crack of your ass (the sign of real desperation).

You call all your friends, a couple of enemies, and even your sister’s idiot husband who thinks he’s good with computers. Nothing works.

Nearly hysterical by this point, you get in the car in pajamas and flip-flops and drive to the nearest computer fix-it shop. You hold your broken laptop out to the 12-year old with the name tag and blubber, “ahbubhabib broken, boghsdiguy novel”, which he understands as ‘My computer is broken, please retrieve my novel.’

Only three hundred dollars later you know your laptop is dead forever. The boney kid swilling AMP at nine in the morning manages to save a couple of files. You have the draft of six chapters, about twenty-thousand words.

You literally lie down on the sidewalk and wait to die. God is not merciful.

Eventually, the police make you get up. Authority figures rarely understand the pain of losing your writing. And it’s best to go the heck home to start all over on your novel or to throw yourself on the bed and scream. Whatever works for you.

If you’re in an apartment, I suggest you scream with your head buried in your hypo-allergenic pillow. Neighbors don’t understand creative pain either.

Next, you’ll twitter all your friends about your bad luck. Several of them have the nerve to snicker a bit at your expense.

Don’t let this be you!

How can you avoid the humiliation?

First, back up your writing in multiple places. At the very least, set up a free yahoo or g-mail account and email each chapter to yourself. This way it’s waiting in a third party email account that you can access from anywhere.

Second, put it on a flash drive. Then put your flash drive where children can’t flush it down the toilet. Don’t trust the dog around it either. My male dog did something unspeakable to my flash drive that I can’t even repeat here for fear the porn police will arrest me.

Third, put it on an old-fashion disc. There’s a reason we used those things all these years.

Fourth, sign up for a third party writing site that allows you to load your writing but not display it. I use a couple of these sites to ‘store’ my writing for emergencies.

And the last thing to remember is not to dwell on what’s lost. It’s gone. Have a good cry, a beer, or kick a stuffed teddybear but get over it. Either re-write it or write something new.

And back your writing up!

But if you forget and erase something, remember to tell everyone how great it was. After all, they can’t prove otherwise, now can they?

Good Writing!

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