So it’s Monday morning. After procrastinating over the holidays, this is the block of time I’ve chosen to get serious about a requested “rewrite and resubmit” story. I’ve done a lengthy reread of the entire manuscript, made copious notes on possible amendments, changed a crucial plot point, and even created an important new character. I’m ready to write.
I get caught up in an early scene. The writing is going so well I forget I should be fixing breakfast until I come to the end of a chapter.
“There,” I say to myself. “I’m sure this is exactly what the editor had in mind with her feedback.”
I give the page in front of me one more read and sit back in my chair, satisfied.
And the whole dang thing disappears. The screen is a solid blue.
I click the mouse; I pound the keyboard. Nothing moves. Nothing happens. After several minutes a sign comes on that says the computer cannot find the wireless mouse and keyboard (or something like that). So I hit the on/off switch, planning a restart. Up comes a gray screen, a darker gray apple, and the whirling gear.
That’s it. Try after try after try.
Oh, the rage against the machine. I say a naughty word—or two.
I call Apple. The technician can’t do anything because the keyboard or mouse doesn’t work. “It sounds,” he tells me, “like a hard drive problem.” He very kindly makes an appointment—yes, one needs an appointment. The poor thing is going to the doctor, isn’t it?—at the Apple store. The thought flits through my mind that there’s a conspiracy against me EVER getting this stupid story in shape. Whatever possessed me to be a writer anyway. Am I nuts?
And then I remember the little black case that sits on the computer stand. Yes! My external hard drive. Oh, please, let everything be there. Please!
Fortunately, my computers are both Mac so I bring in the laptop and hook up the hard drive, the wireless modem, and the extra router, and... After a lengthy search on the hard drive, I find my story. Are the changes there? Are they?
Yes and no. You see, the hard drive makes an automatic save every ten minutes or so. Part of my corrections were saved; some, the ones I was happiest with, were not. Naturally.
There’s only one thing to do and that—you guessed it—is yet another rewrite. And somehow, the incentive this time is just a little lacking.
This is a teaching moment, however, for anyone who has complete confidence in her computer’s reliability. My advice? Don’t bank on it.
Before the external hard drive, I backed up my work after every writing session, or at least at the end of the day, onto a flash drive—as long as I remembered. The hard drive is a lot safer.
Therefore, my first recommendation is to hook up the extra hardware. Nothing wrong with using a flash drive, too. My second recommendation, because repairs are costly, is to purchase a long-term care policy. Mine has already saved me $30.00 over the cost, the piece of mind is wonderful--and I still have over a year to go on it. I’ve never bought such a policy before, but I’ve had problems with this Mac from the get-go.
The good news is that the nice people at the Apple store say even though my hard drive is shot, they can retrieve most, if not all of my stuff. And if those last few pages are there, and the scene changes I made were retained, I’m going to be a happy camper. I want to see how the writing from the second go round, when I had to fight for the words, compares with the first, when everything just flowed.