One night last week, I was sitting and staring at the computer screen as usual. No, I wasn’t working on my next book or the play that I started writing last year, but it was one of the most important things I could do for my writing career.
You see, a couple of days before that evening, I had one of those scary moments when my writing life flashed before my eyes. I was sitting in my usual chair with my laptop working on an outline when the screen blanked out and then a blue screen with white text momentarily popped up. The only words I caught before it blinked out were “hard disk” and “crash”.
My heart stopped. I could feel the blood draining from my face. Flashing before my eyes were the files I had stored on the hard drive, possibly gone forever. Logically, there was no need to worry about the stories that were already published, but I kept drafts of them in various stages as a reminder I suppose, of the hard work that went into them. Then there were the gems of ideas in the beginning stages that I envisioned as someday being fully formed novels or plays or scripts. There were outlines and maybe two or three chapters of bad plots and weak characters that would now never see the light of day, the short story collection that I planned to publish as an e-book, photos from the past several years and videos that I had created for special occasions.
Did I back them up? I couldn’t remember. I did at one point copy the file folders onto a USB key, but had I done it recently? These thoughts flew though my mind in a matter of seconds, and then, miraculously, the computer rebooted and was back up and running in a couple of minutes.
So that was why I was staring at the computer screen that night last week, not writing, but setting up an external hard drive that is now connected to my laptop. The only New Year’s resolution I made this year was to get my writing life in order and finish a couple of these projects. Now I know that it includes making sure that my work is backed up. And, my laptop has a date for a check-up with a computer technician.
Have you ever had any close calls?