Have you ever lost your writing document?

Sep 14, 2011

I backup my writing ALL. THE. TIME. I'm completely paranoid that the evil hard drive demons are going to eat my story and I'll go to pull it up and it won't be there. So for backup, I have a thumb drive, an external hard drive, and I email myself copies frequently. I don't want to lose my story.

I think the paranoia stems back to an experience I had when I was eleven. Back then, I wrote my stories in notebooks with pictures of unicorns or kittens on the cover. I was in sixth grade, and sixth graders (being oh-so-responsible) got to work in the school store during lunch if they wanted. I thought it was awesome. I got to be all professional and sell pencils, erasers, and candy to other kids for 25 cents.

And I got to work on my story when nobody came in.

But I didn't work in the school store alone. There were always two of us, and one day the boy I was working with STOLE my story. Okay, so I'm still not entirely sure of this. But I ran an errand to a teacher, and when I came back, the boy was gone and so was my notebook. I was in a complete panic. I tore apart the store, and cried when I got home. How could he be so mean?

Two days later, when I was working with the same boy again, I showed up to find my story notebook sitting in plain sight. The boy didn't even look at me, but I gathered the story gratefully in my arms and didn't put it down the rest of the day.

I like to think he started reading the story while I was out of the room and loved it so much he had to take it home to finish it. Most likely it was just a prank. But after that, I started writing on the computer and backing up everything on floppy disks.

So, my friends, have you ever lost your story to hard drive demons or mean sixth-grade boys? Did you get it back? How do you backup your own writing?

19 comments:

Shelly said...

One thing I've learned, put your whole novel in one doc. Don't give each chapter their own file. You're sure to loose 'em that way. I know. I have.

Meredith said...

Aw! That's such a cute story! I email myself my WiP constantly. I can't bear to think what would happen if I lost it!

MKHutchins said...

I e-mail myself a lot, too. I've never had a story stolen, but I did let a boy read a novel I'd written, and then he read the one-and-only kissing scene to some other boys (not to make fun of me; he liked the book). Almost died of embarrassment.

mooderino said...

I have various memory sticks with drafts on them, never really sure what's where, and never needed them,but I know the day i forget to back is the day it all crashes.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

Lady Gwen said...

Mine are back up on the hard drive, an external drive and probably 3 different flash drives. Plus I have a hard copy:) Loved your story and I'm glad you got your notebook back!

Nicole Zoltack said...

In college, I spent a ton of time in my boyfriend's (now hubby) room so I borrowed his USB drive for homework assignments and stories. He never used it! But he wanted to have it back before one weekend, so I gave it to him. He went out golfing that weekend. With the key in his pocket. Yeah, not smart. I lost 20k on a story and 6 one-liners about a 6 different story ideas for a PI character. I still get upset when I think about it and it's been 6 years.

Now I use both Mozy and Dropbox (thee free versions).

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Oh Lord, yeah, I have an external hard drive and I email copies of everything to myself all the time. I've never lost a story, but I'm super paranoid about it happening.

Nick Hight said...

A lot of my writing consists of far too many notebooks completely filled with plotting notes. If I lost them ... well, let's just not think about it.

David Powers King said...

I nearly lost everything I had ever written at an airport terminal once. Talk about freaking out. Thankfully someone found my bag and turned it in. Then the USB was invented and calmed my losing-my-story paranoia for good. I also back-up often. And I burn everything to a CD annually.

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

My novels are backed up on my second computer and through my remote back-up. I also e-mail myself the files on a regular basis. I've never lost anything yet, though. :knocks wood:

Emy Shin said...

I've lost physical notes of stories before, but fortunately have never had electronic/hardware failure. (Though, now that I've written that, I must go back up everything because it's bound to happen now.) I really must be more conscientious about backing up everything, though!

Caitlin said...

Oh man, I would have been devastated! You held it together better than I did, I would've been tattlin' so fast, hehe.

I almost lost my current WIP a few months ago. Just before my laptop broke I e-mailed myself a copy so that I could work on my iPad while I was meeting someone for coffee. A few days later, my computer's video card was fried! Since then I've been backing up my WIP.

Julee J. Adams said...

Love your story and totally understand the notebook--mine had kitties on it.

I've been a fervant advocate of backing up your work. I have a few CDs of early versions and started using flash/thumb drives for everything now. I save everything on two, rotate them out monthly with ones kept in a fire box at home and a lock box in a credit union in an adjoining city. I also have all my music and hundreds of family photos saved on drives in the boxes too.

BTW, Paranoia is my middle name....

Kari Marie said...

I lost a whole section of a scene once. It really stunk because it was the first coherent words I had written after a looong bout with writers block. Now I pay for online backup service. If my laptop gets stolen or the house is hit by a tornado, my work will be ready for me to download to a new machine.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I go so far as to email myself my work, so if my house and all my backups blew up or burned down, it'd still be out there.

kmckendry said...

Great story! I've never lost mine to a mean boy but I have lost it to evil hard drives! I e-mail myself back up copies and I also have a copy of everything on Google docs.

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Jenny S. Morris said...

I work on my stuff and home, and work. So, I have it in 2 places, plus I e-mail myself a lot too. I would really hate to lose my stuff.

I think you should stick with the idea that the boy loved your story so much he HAD to read it ;0)

Ezmirelda said...

WELL let's see. I have 2 flash drives. I send it to my email constantly and put it in a folder. I save every two pages I write. I lost my work once and it was terrible...but luckily I was able to recover most of it because I sent the rough draft to one of my aunts.:)

I honestly find your story really cute. I really believe that the boy was really curious about what you were always writing in your notebook. Maybe he thought it was a diary or something. Lol. ;)

carrieannebrownian said...

I do a command save every minute, and have done for years after having lost some files or parts of files when I was very young. I lost some entire files years ago, and was so upset over losing the first 100+ pages of Part I of a book that I didn't get back to it and start all over from memory till last November, 16.5 years after I lost the file. A few months ago those 100+ pages were miraculously resurrected when I tried to see if they wouldn't open with TextEdit when I had that disk in my external disk drive. Thank God I started over and finished the book before learning those pages weren't forever lost, since the beginning of the first draft was littered with purple prose and lots of other things that embarrassed me!

I learnt a lesson from that to always break my work up into chapter files, or at least normal-sized files if it weren't a book with chapters. I still handwrite some of the first drafts of my books, since I know at least they'll be safe from hard drive crashes and disk bugs.

 
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