On gremlins and deadlines. 1


thumbs-upYesterday I was working on a novel that is due to my editor by the end of next month. I was pleased with myself because it was one of those epiphany moments for my heroine and the storyline was suddenly gelling in my head. I wrote over 2,000 words in about 90 minutes, which is unusual for me these days.

I use Scrivener for my first drafts as I really like how it lets me keep character studies and research in the same place as the scenes. (I have a tendency to forget minor things like my characters’ names and while I can (and often do) try not to slow down by using a notation like [heroine] or even on occasion [whatsisname bad guy] it really bugs me after a while so I like how Scrivener lets me just scan down the left hand side of my screen and quickly see the list of names in the index cards beneath the scenes. I also like how it saves my work every minute so I know I won’t lose my work—and I haven’t ever had any problems with it in the five years I’ve been using it.

I also work on multiple computers at any given time. I use Lucy, a small older computer that is handy fro travelling, (yes, I name my computers) first thing in the morning in the family room before the family rouses and things are quiet. I also have a workhorse laptop (Michelle) complete with docking station that I keep in my office and write on that in the afternoon. Because over the past few months, Michelle has been having issues (she’s 5 years old), last month I dug deep and bought a new desktop. I copied my documents from Michelle onto an external hard drive and transferred them over to the desktop. (No name for the desktop yet—but I’m thinking it’s a guy for some reason. Someone alpha and contrary—it’s Windows 8.1 and is a bear to try to keep updated properly.)

Anyway, what I’m saying is that in any given week, there are multiple copies of that Scrivener document on three different computers, Dropbox and Carbonite. When I close the doc, Scrivener also makes a back-up copy (and stores the last five versions of that backup) to the hard drive of whatever computer I’m working on. Just in case, I rename the file at the start of every month – I have always thought it was a little redundant, but I was used to do it daily with Word and it never hurts to have an extra back up, right?  To make my peace of mind complete,  I have a program that constantly runs in the background of my computer that saves ALL my files to Carbonite on the cloud. As I said, in five years I’ve never had a problem.

So I’ve been sitting here smugly thinking that even if I was working on Lucy or Michelle or … whatsisname — and for some reason the computer crashed, or God forbid, the house caught fire and all three computers were fried, my work was still available in the cloud.

Which all sounds good, right?

grumpy-leahExcept yesterday, when I went to work on the next scene in my doc after completing that epiphany moment, the scene I’d already written, that I KNEW had been written, that had an index card that would only appear because I’d created it for a purpose and had written notes if not an entire scene in it…well, there was no text in that file. Nor was there text in any of the other scenes. All but three scenes had disappeared. Oh the index cards (think file folders) were there on the sidebar, but the contents were all empty.

From what I can see, something happened around April 10th that corrupted that particular Scrivener file. And from the looks of it each time I opened the file on my other computers, it corrupted them too. When I saved the previous month’s copy on March 31st, there were 133 documents in the files section (each scene is treated as a separate doc). April 10th version has 6. Ouch. Then I realized it’s not just the scenes that are missing, it’s the characters studies and the copious research notes I made too. Even the title page and back matter pages are missing.

So I checked my back up copy on my desktop.  All five versions of it were empty too. As were the five backup copies on Michelle. And on Lucy.

Since it seemed to occur around the time I bought the new desktop, was there something about switching to Windows 8.1 (which has been a total bear about updating) that caused Scrivener to hiccup? Was it simply that something didn’t connect properly with Dropbox one day and it corrupted everything in that file?  But I’m a constant revisionist and I never ever work on a single scene in a day. I am constantly going back and editing previous scenes and leaving notes for future scenes. So how could I have not noticed all those missing words for that long a time? I have no idea.

What it comes down to is I have lost at least three week’s worth of work. Work that is due to my editor by the end of next month.

social media time suck ecardWhich means I need to haul ass even more than I have been doing.

Which means – I’m going to go quiet for a while. I won’t have time to set up my usual Pay It Forward Friday posts (I generally do them the first week of each month). I may be slow responding to emails. I’ve informed a couple of my regular blogs where I guest post that I won’t be able to post there this month, and possibly next month.  And, yes, I need to write this as much as it pains me — you shouldn’t be seeing me on social media as much. (Which is probably a good thing as I really think I’m addicted to Facebook and need to break the addiction.)

So if I’m slow in responding to an email, or you don’t see me around, I’m still here, I’m just up to my neck in writing, trying to ignore the world and all its distractions. Hoping that some good natured soul in my family is shoving food under my office door, and being patient with me when I lose my temper as I know I’m going to sooner or later. (I apologize in advance to anyone I snap at.)

See you on the flip side, which hopefully will be before the fall…


One thought on “On gremlins and deadlines.

  • Shirley Long

    Those damn computers!!! Screw things up every time don’t they. Good luck with the writing. Remember to take time to breathe and go to the bathroom 🙂

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