Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Idiot

This morning, I suffered an avoidable tragedy. When I tell you this story, you are not going to feel bad for me. When I tell you this story, you are going to want to slap me.

It starts like this: I had the sole revised copy of my manuscript stored on a USB flash drive.

I use the word 'had' because, you may have already guessed, this copy no longer exists. My month-old flash drive has neatly taken its final bow, transforming my latest revisions into 364 pages of 'fffff' before becoming altogether unreadable.

You want to throttle me, I know. Trust me, I want to throttle me too. Why didn't you make backups??? That's a great question. I know all about data loss. I know about the fallibility of flash drives. I know and I am aware and I am all about the tech-savvy, I work at the center of the information technology universe, for heaven's sake. Here is what happened:

I got lazy.

Until someone invents the time machine, there's no way for me to go back to Monday evening and email myself a copy of the file before it converted into a twisted monster. I could pay between $99 and $599 for a data recovery service to try to fish the file out of the depths, but I am more tempted to force myself to redo what I've lost. It's about a month's worth of revisions, and I wasn't exactly steaming along at full speed. Also, I have a ridiculous, ridiculous memory. I know what I changed, so I can redo this. It's just going to suck.

Please feel free to ridicule me in the comments below. I am a good sport and can take what I deserve. Or, if you'd like to tell me something that can't be said in public, feel free to use my new email address, rachelsdatabackup (at) gmail.com.

I've learned my lesson.


  1. OMG. So sorry to hear that happened to you. I had a first draft of a novel on a computer years ago and it was stolen from my bedroom with the backup key in the front pocket. I was devastated. I remember sitting on the lawn and going through my phonebook to ring everyone I knew to tell them.It's just the worst feeling. I swore I'd email everything to myself ever after, keep a million copies, but I don't. Sorry again.

  2. No ridicule. Just commiseration. Your attitude seems really positive, considering. It sounds like you're already in the process of bouncing back.

  3. Thanks :) I was just trying to be funny when I invited ridicule, because I feel like there's no excuse for what I did. When I told my husband this morning, his jaw dropped and he said 'Why on earth was there only one copy???'

  4. *Covers face with hands* Oh no!!! At least now you'll never do it again. I'm so sorry that happened, that is horrible!

  5. Ugh. My worst nightmare. Thanks for the reminder to back up to my external HD tonight.

  6. Oh, poor Rachel. Have you ever considered back up on google docs? :)

    I have my own story of a bad week, only mine involves infected oral surgery that makes me look like half of a chipmunk.

  7. Aww! *hugs* That's terrible! It reminds me I need to back up more things.

    Just think, though, this way you get a chance to write a new revision. You've probably learned a lot more from the old revision, so it'll be better than the first. :)

  8. I wrote almost the entire first draft on Google Docs, but there's actually a size limit for an individual doc and so eventually I transferred to Word. I'll be emailing my backups to that new email address every day from now on at the very least.

    And you're right Cherie, this is a chance for new revisions! I'll start at the top and work my way through. Staying positive!

  9. I've done that before. I think you'll find most of it is in your noggin still, so not all lost. Just more hard work getting it back on the page.

  10. Oh no! I'm so sorry. :( Well, "they" say everything happens for a reason--maybe your rewrites will make your WIP even more awesome! :)

  11. I do the same thing all the time and one of these days it's going to bite me in the tuckus. I'm sorry that happened to you, but glad it's not stuff you can't recover from memory!

  12. Oh that SUCKS and I hope the memory revisions go fast. Have you ever used drop box? I haven't but I keep meaning to...:)

  13. Brutal. I am so sorry that happened. Good thing you have the airtight memory.

  14. Hi Rachel, just lurking around, checking out your site. I like it.

    That is a real nightmare. It is one I get an ugly feeling about just thinking about it.

    I use to back up my computer on cds, but that got expensive and they started piling up. Then, I bought a portable storage thingie and when I have done some major work, I back it up again.

    I used "send an email" approach as well, but with as many WIP I have, it really got complicated.

    Most of mine are simply in my laptop (and the portable drive) and I fear the moment something crawls in it from someone who has too much time on their hands and loves creating havoc upon the unwary.

    Not that it is much consolation, but at least you didn’t lose the original manuscript. Rewrites and edits are no fun to do twice. However, to start over from a blank page would be horrible.

    Writers of old never had such techie troubles. If anyone has watched The Waltons, and chanced to see the episode where their house burns, consuming all of his writings, you can imagine how he felt. He had to start over after years of writing.

    Hope your revisions surpass your previous ones and you have learned your lesson – thirty lashes with a quill pen.


  15. Ouch. That is painful. I see the saga continues in your next post, so I'll go find out what happened! I'm hoping good things! Know I am feeling your pain here.