Oh my God, I’m gonna cry. I’ve posted in here a bit about a novel I was writing for ages and ages up until about two years ago, one that I set aside because I basically outgrew it. It had gone through five drafts. The fourth draft took two years and was done with a writing coach. When we were through, she sent her hard copies of it to me, complete with her notes. I then did a fifth draft on my own for about a year before the setting-aside occured.

I backed the whole thing up on a zip disk and removed it from my hard drive. Last December, I went back to look something up in the manuscript only to discover the zip disk was corrupted, and I had lost not only the fifth draft but the fourth. Just gone.

I was devastated. All I had was the fourth draft in a hard copy.

Well, short story long, I just found a backup of the fifth draft that I had buried on my hard drive at work!

This doesn’t mean I’m going to start working on it again, but to have not lost it, to still have it, that means everything to me. It’s my baby. I was its mother, I was its lover, for ten years. It taught me how to write.

25 thoughts on “Dis/inhibition

  1. I should have been more careful with the zip disk. I think it actually *wasn’t* corrupted, it was just not formatted for Mac and I used it anyway assuming there wouldn’t be a problem. Then I lost my novel *and* my personal journal from 2000-2003 on that zip disk and I about committed hari kari.
    Funny thing is, this file’s just been sitting here in plain site on my work hard drive. I had this implicit knowledge that I shouldn’t throw it away, but absolutely no curiosity about what it was. I happened to open it up today for some odd reason and…wah!

  2. I back up my old novel everywhere. I really should print out a hard copy since it’s changed since I’ve last done that. But my current printer is expensive to operate.
    I’ve had troubles with zip disks dying recently, so I don’t use them any more except to carry things between computers.

  3. After discovering what had happened, I swore off zip disks and joined the 21st century. Now I back up regularly on compact disc.

  4. Thank God for your work computer! I can only imagine the horror of possibly loosing your literary baby, if just loosing two pages from a fic or a study paper is frustrating and irritating as hell. *hugs*

  5. Okay, you’ve just motivated me to back-up my novel again on the CD. Because, I do know what that is like – having lost 40 pages that I sweated over this past year.
    Was told by a computer guy that the best way to ensure safe keeping was to email a copy of it to a gmail account, assuming you have one. I do, just can’t locate it or remember the password, also I think it expired due to non-use. That way it’s saved on the net, or so he said.

  6. Email it to any account you have that has sufficient size for the files. Mine is *HUGE* because it’s not just the two drafts, it’s all the research notes as well.
    It makes me insecure, though, those free email accounts. What if they stop having the service, get a big server hiccup, or reduce your storage size? I say back up in multiple multiple places!!

  7. I thought I *had* lost it, for ten months now. I was sort of in “just-don’t-think-about-it” mode, because if I thought about it, I got very depressed.

  8. Join the new 21st century! Use usb keys/flash drives/whatever the hell they call those little things. They hold lots and you could wear it on a necklace thus carrying your novel with you wherever you go.

  9. I know, my brother uses them to transfer his home movies to my hard drive. I think you could swallow those and be a spy.

  10. I have 3 gmail accounts. The one I use, the one I keep stuff on, and the one for giving to people I’m not sure about.
    None have expired, although I have gone over 10 months between logging in to the 2nd. I use the same password for all three, so that way I don’t forget it.
    Mostly I use it to transport files from one computer to another, or when I’m traveling and need to be able to edit and print. Which means I have copies of multiple drafts.
    Gmail has servers in several locations, and it’s rarely down for more than a few minutes, even when there is a big drama.
    Hard copies are also important, but I just treat the gmail copies as one more place I keep my drafts.

  11. I email stuff between my two humungous Yahoo accounts daily. It’s the way I transfer large files between work and home.

  12. No backup method is perfect– CD’s can be scratched, flash drives can easily be lost, they’e so damn tiny, etc. My recommendation is to make a bunch of copies of anything important and spread ’em around– keep the info off-site, on a friend’s PC, make more than one CD and stash it somewhere else than the first one, etc. The key isn’t the medium itself, it’s the redundancy.
    I have all of the files from my first two PC’s copied to my current one, but they all still reside on the older computers. If I ever scrap the machines, I’ll pull the hard drives out first and store them safely somewhere.
    Anyway, it sure is great to hear when something turns out OK after all that time.

  13. Just saw this. Oh man, Friday the 13th was lucky for you. Are either of your cats black?
    Backing up hard drives, yes. Must do that, especially if I’m doing NaNo this year. I have stories I wrote years ago, original fic from my high school years which I’ve outgrown. But I couldn’t imagine losing them all. Glad you got yours back 🙂

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