Friday, 15 February 2013

Back to the novel

After a break that was much longer than planned, I'm back to working on my novel. The distraction was, of course, helping to prepare the anthology by some of my fellow A363 students. It was great fun to do, but towards the end of the process I was seriously itching to get back to my own story. (I count my blessings - it's a year since I first came up with the idea for my novel and my enthusiasm is greater than ever. Most unusual for me!)

I had a minor mishap just now though. Although I've been fairly good about backing up my work to various external disk drives, I recently started to think I ought to be making off-site backups, in case of fire, asteroid strike, etc. I should have known better! This ALWAYS happens to me... If I'm lazy about, say, doing the washing up, and end up stepping over dirty cups to get to my desk, all is well. But if I decide to do the right thing and sort them out, I scald myself with the hot tap or break a cup, cut myself on it, and die of tetanus. So when I bit the bullet tonight, and installed the Google Drive client, to make backing up my work to Google easier (and therefore more likely to be done) I was tempting fate. Sure enough, due to one technical glitch (Nobody's fault? Google's fault?), one silly assumption (My fault - why do I never learn that software engineers are mindless pricks?), and some bloody poor interface design (That one's down to the aforementioned pricks), MY ENTIRE writing folder was permanently deleted.

The most recent backup of the novel, and all the associated research files, was made on 6 January. This isn't quite as bad as it sounds, because since then I've spent far more days on the anthology than the novel. (Yes, all the anthology stuff was lost too, but that really doesn't matter because the thing's on Amazon now, and I can retrieve the data file any time.) But it was still annoying (aka heartbreaking), because I had done little bits of sudden note taking for the novel here and there which, by its very nature, was unlikely to be done again because those particular light bulb moments aren't likely to repeat themselves. So, anyway, I copied the most recent backup from the external drive onto my main hard drive and opened my Storybook file. Although there was a fairly comforting amount of proper and complete work there, I was convinced there were one or two  little gems that I'd never see again.

Then, after I'd started to type this very blog post, I remembered Plan A. (The one before Operation: Googlefuck.) Plan A was to make a backup of my entire writing folder twice - using two secure USB drives, and NOT leave them on or near my computer. One's a nifty little wearable rubber bracelet thing I nicked form my wife, and the other is an equally nifty memory stick built into a frankly gorgeous-to-use pen, which doesn't work any more. The bracelet I can wear around, and the pen can be locked in the car.

But the best bit? I only came up with Plan A about a week ago. That's right... I made two backups SINCE my last light bulb moment. No novel work whatsoever has been lost.


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