Friday, November 5, 2010

Building Up and Backing Up

I am postponing the Friday Feature until next week, so I just wanted to check in and see how everyone is doing.  Next week I should get back to my blogging schedule, with the Monday Meeting, Friday Feature, and riff-raff in between.

On the writing front, I'm enjoying attacking my new manuscript, building it up, laying that foundation.  Hoping all the cups will stay up.  Hoping it doesn't disappear from my computer.  Yesterday, while I was shooing a kitten off the computer keyboard...
 ...I accidentally hit 'control', a kitten walked across the keys, and *poof* I found myself staring at a blank screen.  Completely blank.  Manuscript GONE. Not freaking out (much), I hit what I thought was undo (everyone can weigh in about what this actually might be--maybe I should read the laptop manual) without success.  I ended up quickly saving the new document under a new name, so that yesterday's file stayed saved with the old name.  But I lost the day's words, and had to rewrite the scene.  Which, to be honest, was fine.  It's ALWAYS better the second time around.  But, a cautionary tale, nonetheless. Backup. Backup Backup.

Especially when there are such accomplices underfoot.
Hopefully my manuscript will last longer than this cup tower!

How's your writing life?  Have you had an close calls, or computer SNAFUs recently?   How are you keeping your cups stacked up?


  1. A) I find it absolutely hilarious that you're on the phone in the background, considering how frequently it rings when we skype.

    B) It's CNTRL+Z. I told you this the other day, H. :P Although, it may not have helped in this instance.

    C) My cup tower looks less like a Vegas casino resort and more like one single cup.

    D) Your kids did good work!!

  2. Cautionary tale, indeed!! You are so upbeat about it!! I email my entire doc to myself twice a day... my computer blipped out one year and I lost EVERYTHING and I refuse to take chances with my writing anymore! BACK UP!

    On an unrelated note, your son has the LONGEST eye lashes EVER. Such a doll!

  3. years back i heard about a PC app that was designed to help prevent cats walking across keyboards from causing any kind of computer havoc. it worked by having the OS disregard any combination of nearby keys (say, the 4+ keys pressed by a cat's paw). i tried to get a copy to review for a friend's radio show on all-things-computer, but the company never responded.

    (i'm a mac guy, but my wife has a pc... that the cats like to walk across)

    btw, more cat photos!

    -- Tom

  4. Awesome tower and fun pics!
    I occasionally email my manuscript to myself to make sure an updated one is saved.
    And I am happy to finally getting back to it after a month!

  5. This is why I hit save everytime I write a sentence or pause to contemplate something. It's also why I back up everything on a memory stick and email everything ms related to myself. My last computer died and nothing could be saved (fortunately most of the important stuff had been backed up).

  6. Oh heather, I have tons of cat demolishing PC stories, fortunate for me it always happens to Hubby.

    A low tech solution for the cat on the keyboard problem is to stick a large magazine or something similar on top when you're not nearby. That way they won't do damage.

    And microsoft killed my laptop a week before NaNoWriMo this year. It would fail to start up. It has reminded me that I need to do monthly backups of my system.

  7. Great cup tower!!
    And what a great attitude about rewriting lost work. Very Zen.
    I do back my work up regularly but the scenario you described probably would've left me with a lost chapter too :-)

  8. I have to know everything about everyone, so thanks for the photos...cuties!

  9. J--I was trying to remember what you had told me in the moment. Pretty sure I didn't remember C-Z. But I'm not sure there was any helping this situation!! I was just glad not to lose the whole manuscript.

    M--I email as well, for back-up. But not twice a day--so maybe I'll start...

    Tom--I need that app! I can definitely do more cat pics!!

    Kelly--I'm glad you're getting back into things. Yay! It's nice after time away.

    Stina--That's vigorous saving! And, it sounds like it payed off. I haven't completely gotten used to the laptop yet, so I haven't developed good saving habits yet.

    Alicia--The magazine trick is a good one--I'll keep that in mind. I'm so sad that you had trouble right before NaNo--big bummer! Hopefully it's all resolved now!

    Paul--I really do feel that when pushed, things are better the second time around (and third and fourth, and 20th ;)) I'm tickled that you thought it zen!

    Anita--Happy to oblige!

  10. Love the tower of cups. Not so much losing words. Though I have had similar experiences both at work and with my writing. :(

  11. Very cool cup tower. Sorry about your snafu. What a drag. Two cats around here, so I know the mischief they can cause. Maybe we should teach our cats to type? Put a little umbrella in one of those cups and sit back and dictate?

  12. The golden arrow saves all. As does control (or apple) + Z. I feel bad you lost it!!

  13. I am with everybody else - your tone as you write this is just so well adjusted and it is all so freaky!!!! Good work with the zen attitude and keeping at the writing. Go you and your boys and their beautiful towers and eyelashes!

  14. Hi Heather- how are you- what happen to the book you were revising- hope it is off trying to find a home?

  15. I'm glad you didn't lose your whole ms! Yikes! Close call. Good luck on your new wip! Starting fresh is so much fun!

  16. Ditto on the great cup tower thing. I'm fascinated with card/cup towers/dominoes, (bout died in that sequence from V for Vendetta) but don't have the patience to make them myself.

    I had a hard drive crash and lost EVERYTHING once. Thankfully, it was nothing that ever needed to see the light of day. But it still freaked me out. I hit 'save' like every five minute automatically. Then if I'm doing any sort of heavy revisions or have written outlines/synopsis for new projects, I back everything up on an external hard drive. One reason I love doing the actual first draft in longhand... cat foot proof... :)

    Good luck on your current writing endeavors. I've been sick the last few days, and I'm SO glad to be feeling good enough to get back into the swing of things myself!

  17. I keep a copy on my computer, a USB stick, and e-mail a copy to work. At least you didn't lose too much, but it's still a drag.

    That's so exciting you're working on a new project. Does that mean your other one is done and you're ready to query? Good luck.

  18. Ha! What a dangerous kitten! :)

    I agree with you. It's always better in the second version. Things happen for a reason, and no accident is unredeemable.

    A nice reminder, though, of the unexpected obstacles of the writing life.

  19. Kris--it seems universal, the losing words--not the cup stacking. Bummer!

    Martha--you know what they say about a monkey at a typewriter--it would be awesome to include a cat at a laptop... I wonder what my cats would write about... hmmmm.

    Elana--golden arrow??? I think in the moment, I hit control U, not control Z. Even though Jon had told me a few days ago about the control U. Sigh. There is just too much in my brain to remember it all (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!)

    T--Aww, thanks. I like coming off as zen. I can keep up that facade until we all skype...

    JULIA!! Hello!! I'm still revising that sucker. But I love it and hope to find a home for it this winter. It's so good to see you!!

    Laura--It was a really close call. I thought I lost the whole thing for about 10 seconds. Which is another thing about NaNo--so much changes every day, and I'm not used to backing up every day. And that's fine with my normal pace. Not fine during the word sprints of NaNo.

    A.--What a bummer that you lost it all at one point. It's good to be able to see the forest for the trees in one of those situations. I think I've gotten used to google docs, which saves itself all the time. So I forget. I too love cup towers and card towers and dominoes and all that good stuff. Good thing I have kids to do it all with!!

    Natalie--I wish. I just needed some time away from the slow pace of revising. But I'm excited to get back into it after NaNo.

    Samuel--Hi!! I agree, things happen for a reason, and that this road is such a long one--there is no reason to sweat the small stuff!!

  20. It's never happened to me, yet, but it's like my greatest fear. Every few days, I back up my work on my two computers and a flash drive. I try to upload them to Skydrive as well, but I haven't done that in a while. Your scare is inspiring me to do that right now.

  21. Ray--that's cool. I'm glad my lost words can do some good in the world...