Sunday, March 19, 2017

Going Backwards

Sometimes I feel like I'm taking two steps backwards for every forward step. This week I took a major, Grand Canyon step backwards.
As often happens when I try to do computerly things fast, my fingers got ahead of my thought process and deleted the manuscript I'd been working on for months. Rather, I overrode a complete manuscript with only the first three chapters. My stomach hit the dirt as I realized the impact of what I'd done.

Frantic phone calls to Apple, and then to the local store, both came up empty.
So, I took a deep breath and tried to assess the extent of the damage. Fortunately, I still had the copy I'd sent to Lori Wilde a month ago, with all her comments. And I had the first three chapters. I had gone through the entire manuscript, addressing all of Lori's notes, and then started over again, embellishing the story and adding scenes–nearly 10,000 words had been added so far. I'd gotten halfway through my third draft when I hit the button too fast and lost it.

It could have been worse. But it also could have been so much better. I've learned, thanks to all those who commented on my Facebook page, that I can have the Word program create a backup file each time I add to it. And, who knew I had a Time Machine on my laptop? Always wanted one of those.

It's a horrible way to learn a hard lesson, but I'm glad I had an older version of the story, so I didn't lose it all. I'm back to where I was three weeks ago, going through Lori's notes again. As I read through it, though, I'm remembering things I'd added in over the past few weeks, so maybe it'll come out better than it originally was.

This story probably won't be ready when I originally estimated it would be. But having a setback of a month or so is not so bad, considering the learning experience this has been. I will use the backup file, figure out the Time Machine, and email copies to myself. Overkill is better than losing the file. I'm sure there are others out there who forget about backing up your work, so this is a cautionary tale. As I told a friend, it's like closing the barn door after the horse escapes. I hope this never happens to any of you.

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