Friday, August 5, 2011

Disaster Strikes!

I'll look back on it as a bump in the road, I'm sure, but my old computer crashed the other night, and apparently no other computer in existence can read the backup floppies I made on it periodically. Talk about your unpleasant surprises.

The Word file of my first book is on its hard drive, the anthology that I was going to submit to Smashwords, as are the 40,000 words or so of the novel I was going to resume working on, and the cover I had already created for it.

On reflection, those are the only things I truly need to retrieve, and my niece's boyfriend is a computer whiz who assures my sister-in-law it shouldn't be much trouble to sort things out.

In the meantime I'm taking the advice of the several indie publishing gurus I admire, and continuing to write. On paper. With a pen.

(I'm able to continue blogging using the computers at my local public library.)

 Oddly enough, I'm enjoying myself.

I went through something like this once before, actually. I used to write on a Brother WP3700 Word Processor with a monochrome monitor, and about a year and a half ago, the cable between the monitor and the main unit went flooey.

No question of replacing it. Have you tried to buy a monochrome monitor lately?

I lost a great deal of the work saved on floppies in its proprietary format that I had done over the years.

Now I'm recreating one of the projects I regretted losing the most. It's all coming back to me, and that's exciting.

It won't be the book it would have been then, I don't think. It will be a better one.

So, all things considered, I'm not unhappy with the situation.


  1. I lost a whole bunch of my short stories from the mid- to late-90s from my broken-screen MacBook because I didn't try to remove the data until it got to the point that no one could access the computer. It's amazing how quickly technology's changing. A hand-written journal is accessible for centuries before the ink fades. A computer file, not much more than a few years...

    Good luck recovering the data!

  2. This also happened to me because my mother dropped my laptop down a flight of stairs. I lost my first book. I eventually got it back but here's how I solved the problem:

    I carry with me, everywhere I go, an indestructible, water proof, 16 gig USB drive that at the time cost me about 150$. I work ONLY off of this drive, meaning I plug it in to whatever machine I'm using and save all progress I make, then I save a duplicate update onto the machine itself (I have 4 computers) then once a month, I also save to an online server through yahoo briefcase, and to my 500 gig mybook drive. That means at any given time, I have about seven versions of my work in different places around country on case of natural disasters, fires, crashes etc. This is essential!! It's made inevitable hard drive crashes a non-stressful thing.

    When it comes to formatting:
    I work almost exclusively in OpenOffice which is a free word processor that looks and acts exactly like Word, but can save to multiple formats including all versions of word, corel, rtf etc. Meaning that I can save the same document ten diff ways, which I do.

    Because openoffice is free and is updated constantly by the tech heads who brought us Linux, it is easy to use and a safe option. I gigot recommend it.

    I now, because of these precautions, have 0 data loss, absolute security, and no worries about formatting disasters. I highly recommend you try. Losing 40,000 words is tragic.

    Hope this helps!!!

  3. Alex--that's so very true about a handwritten journal! Two of the stories in my anthology are there because I had either a typewritten copy or a printout of something I'd written on my word processor. The rest of it's gone forever.

    Kristina--I like your plan and I'll be doing somwething similar from now on. I bought a USB memory stick recently, and my neice's paramour is going to swap my old hard drive into a newer computer chassis with a USB drive, although I wonder how easy it will be to get Windows 98SE to work with the new hardware. As for Yahoo briefcase--I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I've gotten into the habit of emailing WIPs to myself every so often. Lucky break that you have someone who can help recover things though!