The Terror of Lost Data

I almost lost 15 months worth of writing. Over 300k words. October
2013 to December 2014.

Before I got my new computer, I was having trouble with Scrivener. It
would freeze, sit there not responding, and/or close unexpectedly,
usually while I was in the middle of a scene that was trying to pour
out of my fingertips faster than I could type.

Unsure if it was my dying laptop or the fact that I had so much stuff
in one Scrivener project (which they assured me was unlikely, since
text takes up so little space), I went ahead and tried the cheaper of
my two options – buy a new laptop or split my project in two – and
separated my Story Bible/Daily Writing Journal into a Story Bible and
a separate Daily Writing Journal with folders for this year’s writing
and the last.

It didn’t help. I bought a new computer.

Over a month later – yesterday – for some reason I really looked at the DWJ
and realized that only my 2015 folder was there.

I wrote constantly in school. I had a short story published when I was
in junior high, and another in college. College, however, was not a
good experience for me. I stopped writing fiction and turned to
poetry.* After my husband died, I stopped writing poetry for a long
time, too. The only poetry I’ve written since the 90s has been a few
dozen haiku over the last ten years.

I’ve lost most of my old writing, too, unless I can find hard copies
in storage. I had backup text files on a computer, but then the
computer disappeared.

So you can imagine exactly how much I COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT when I
saw that over 300,000 words I had written when I finally came out of
my twenty-year funk and started writing again had disappeared into the
cloud and gone POOF.

I have Scrivener set to back up to Dropbox. Dropbox updates constantly. Apparently,
one of the many times over the last month when, exhausted from work
but determined to write, I fell asleep with my hand on the mouse, I
deleted that 2013/14 folder – and didn’t notice it for a MONTH. By the time I noticed it yesterday? Dropbox had done as I “asked” and, well… updated it away.

Thankfully, I apparently hoard electronics. I am writing this from my poor old
laptop. It took me five tries to turn it on, but it finally came back to life
(thank you, Hermes), and the DWJ project on here still had the 2013/14
folder. I made sure the WiFi was OFF, and I created a new project just
for that. Then I compiled each month’s folder to a word document, and I
am now emailing them to myself so I have emergency archives in case
this happens again. They aren’t pretty – the individual text files
don’t necessarily go together, they are just random writing – but at
least they EXIST. And they will back up to OneDrive, so I will have
duplicate backup. I’m going to do this with every month from now on.

And maybe try writing some poetry again.
*Actually I learned to love writing poetry in my high school CW class,
but in college I went all freeform, and I’m guessing it was all very

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One Response to The Terror of Lost Data

  1. Jenn says:

    Congratulations on saving the material. 🙂

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