Life has taken a lot of twists and turns during the past year for me. Writing, I must confess, has not even made onto a top 40 list of things to do. But as the downward spiral has started to even out to a more regular pattern of life I have felt the stirring of creativity again. Until one day it didn’t seem overwhelming to think of pulling out 90,000+ word novel and starting the editing process. But this creative inkling has led to a much more important awareness.
I thought for sure I owned at least two copies of my almost completed novel. I had two external hard drives, so it made sense I would have two copies of my work, right? I plugged in external hard drive number one… ‘oh! It must be on the other one’ I thought. I really didn’t keep a close track of what I had stored on those modern marvels of extra data space; I just assumed that everything I wanted and had worked on would be there. I mean, honestly. Why would anyone be dumb enough to not make a copy of something they have worked on so hard?
Only when I went to plug in external hard drive number two I was faced with a horrifying possibility. There wasn’t a copy on that drive. Quickly I switched back to the first drive… maybe I had over looked it as I tend to glance at things rather than look carefully I rebuked myself. Nope; nothing there. I double checked the second drive again too. Just in case. Because scanning and rescanning the list of documents three times just isn’t enough. Maybe if I opened the hard drive often enough the right document would magically reappear. Apparently not. I don’t mind admitting that after years of working, the idea of not having a copy of the work anywhere had me in a right royal tizz. Freak out might be a better, although somewhat less academically superior manner of description.
After hours of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that years of my creative work had gone down the drain (well at least 20 minutes worth), I dimly recalled a rather doleful little USB drive that I had thrown into my drawer of my desk. At the time I was certain that I had transferred all of the documents from it to one of the larger external hard drives, but threw it back into my desk out the of the sheer want of a nearby rubbish bin. Now it held all my hopes. It was the only piece of modern technology left that could possibly hold a copy of this most precious manuscript.
Even now as I relieve the memory, I can hear the heavenly angelic choir singing as up on the screen appeared a copy of my novel. Only another person who has feared the loss of work so important to them will understand the incredible sense of relief at seeing the document in the list. And now a warning to all wannabe writers; learn from my stupidity. Back up your work in more than one place and know what is on each of your hard drives or memory sticks. Because you never really know what the future holds, but you should know what your external hard drives do.