Losing some work due to a computer glitch is a frustrating moment. Losing your entire book is a crushing event. Okay it wasn't an entire book I just lost, but it was enough to ruin my day.
Of course those were the days of typewriters or hand-written manuscipts. You would think we have solved the problem. Not true.
This morning I lost some work. OK this wasn't an entire manuscript. It wasn't the devastation Gregory David Roberts must have felt.
Just this year I have had three writers I am working with lose their ENTIRE books. The one had her laptop stolen on a retreat in MacGregor (and yes, her backup disc was in the laptop bag too). The second had her laptop seize and die. The third had his laptop stolen on a plane. No backup. At the start at every course I stress saving. I say it time and time again. But we can all have epic failures - or just be robbed.
This morning I had a smaller scale disaster. Here's what I did. I was working on a long piece of writing as usual. I had spent four hours on it. But this time it wasn't in Word - it was directly on a website blog post promoting a new writer's book. I had spent four hours on it.
It was close to perfect. I was putting together the finishing touches and layout. I wanted to delete a pesky little image that was bugging me. A pop-up window asked me ...... .'Are you sure you want to delete this section?'.
I hit yes, dismissing the annoying thing.
In that instant my entire page - blog and images - went. And then the entire blog system refreshed. Disbelief. Anger. Denial. Pleading (down the phone to the Candian support number). There were tears. Rage. I went through all of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross five stages of grief. All in five frenzied minutes. But I knew that it was gone forever.
I had a mega-disaster in 2015 and lost an entire book I had ghostwritten. It was eerie and odd but only that file just when. Poof. Off my computer. Eventually the tech team recovered a portion of it from temp files off emails sent between myself and my client. At the same time all the audio files of my interviews also went AWOL. It was the darndest thing. That book is coming out in 2017 - My Surgeon Talks to Angels by Dr Veerle Van Tricht. So I did recover my humour and keep going.
So here are my better-late-than-never saving tips for writers:
1. Back up your computer using your iCloud or Time Machine (that is a given).
2. Mail your manuscript to a friend. I send it to the same person every few weeks with the instruction (just save this don't read it).
3. Drag it onto a memory stick every few months.
4. Don't write your main copy directly into a blog post. First write it in Word so you have a backup copy.
Good luck writing!
Sarah Bullen is a writing coach, agent and book editor. She is a structure fanatic and coaches writers on how to write and get published.