So, last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo. While I didn’t hit the 50,000 word target (I only managed about 20,000 by the time December rolled around), I resolved to keep at it.
And I did, sort of. While I lacked the initial zeal that characterized my November, I did continue at it, picking away at it gradually. By late March, I was around the 25-26,000-word mark when I managed to do something monumentally stupid.
I had everything saved on a USB stick, which I had needed for some geeky thing or another, and I had copied its contents to my desktop computer. All well and good so far, right? Well, when I was finished with whatever it was that I had needed the USB stick for, I copied everything back to it, and then deleted the backup (followed by my usual immediate, instinctive, and admittedly neurotic emptying of the Trash).
Of course, silly me, I hadn’t noticed that the transfer hadn’t quite worked, and worse, while I had thought that there was something on my desktop, even if it was incomplete, I made the disheartening discovery that there was nothing.
Half a novel’s work, lost in a flash because I didn’t make sure that a file transfer went through properly. I felt like a grade-a moron, I assure you. Honestly, I was pretty much devastated. all that existed of that initial draft was the first 10,000 words or so, and that is in another province (“Sorry, Dave, but your early draft is in another castle!” says Toad).
So, from memory, I’ve been reconstructing the plot. While I haven’t done much in terms of the actual writing of the thing, I’ve been plotting things out, providing myself with room to flesh things out that needed to be fleshed out, and hopefully I can fix the pacing issues that were present in the initial draft.
But tonight, I actually started re-writing the first chapter, and I won’t deny that it feels great. Hopefully I won’t drop the ball on it again.
#1 by Jordan on May 29, 2010 - 8:41 am
Oh god, do I feel for you, man. I’ve done some things similar. Now, I’m so paranoid about making sure I have a copy, if it’s a small file (2 mb or smaller), I email it to my gmail and label it accordingly, as well as FTP it all up to my webhost’s server. Then I might burn it to disc.
What sucks is that most of the time, it might be a ~2GB project, and doing all of that, while still completely necessary, is more of a pain.
I’ve lost some projects along the way (or at least lost the original project file, so all I’m left with is an MP3, or if I’m lucky, an AIFF file), but oddly enough, I still have crappy photoshops I did way back in 1998.
#2 by davmopedia on May 29, 2010 - 2:01 pm
I think the worst part of it is that this was raw text, or less than 100MB, meaning that it was small enough to keep a redundant backup or two. I just got lazy and complacent. Bluh.
#3 by erin garnhum on May 30, 2010 - 1:56 am
Dude. Still: Never Give Up; Never Surrender. I leave everything in the cloud on Google Docs, although I never know from one day to the next if I’ll be able to access it. Keeps me hungry and edgy, I guess. It’s incredible that you’re bouncing back from this, and awesome that you’re still writing. I guess it’s a chance at a second draft liberated from the confines of the first draft. One of the hardest things I find to do when writing is to delete a paragraph I worked an hour on, because I know it wasn’t working.
As for the not actually writing bit, I find that the actual thinking of stuff that goes on before the fingers start typing is some of the best fun. These past two weeks I’ve been stuck in classrooms with kids doing their exams – I haven’t been allowed to take anything in to work on, so it’s free brain time. Needless to say, I’ve been filling up that time with “thinking” about writing.
I look forward to someday seeing what you’ve written. Also: did you ever manage to finish that tea? I’m going to bring some more killer stuff back when we come this summer.