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Thread: Losing work

  1. #1
    figuring it all out Flanderso's Avatar
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    Losing work

    So, I recently had a technical issue with a MS where the file corrupted and became unopenable. I had not made any backup file for over a month (yes, yes I learnt my lesson- gate, horse, bolt etc) and so all corrections, changes and improvments that I had done since then are now lost.

    My real issue is, in starting again on that month old back up doc, I cannot remember all the tiny corrections I had done. I feel what I had lost was somehow inspired and made the MS 100 times better, but my current work feels lile a shadow of that, and will never be as good.

    Maybe I am trying too hard to recapture what I had done rather than carrying on like it had never happened.

    Any of you had this? Have you lost a load of work and worried that when you started again, it won't match what you lost.

  2. #2
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    I've lost an entire novel and all my short stories. At the time I was devastated, but I did what I could to re-create them using what I remembered.

    Only later did it dawn on me that even if I'd never lost that novel, I would have probably done a major overhaul of an edit, rewriting big hunks of it. Yes, I'm sure it contained some wonderful turns of phrase and beautifully nuanced prose, but you know what? If I could do that once, I could do it again. I'm a goddamned writer.

    So do what you can to salvage what's in your memory, then don't worry about it. You're going to edit, revise, and rewrite anyway, and you'll make it just as good if not better. You're a writer!

    BTW, I strongly recommend a don't-have-to-think-about-it method of backup rather than something you must actively do. At the free level, DropBox can hold dozens of novels. My intentions to copy to a flash drive or email to myself are not as good as DropBox.

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  3. #3
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    +1 to Maryn

    Will you be able to reproduce what you lost down to the letter? Doubtful.

    Will it ultimately matter? Doubtful.

    Those little tweaks and that one beautiful sentence... those aren't the whole of your story. That comes from within, from the vision you still have the the skills you still possess. As they say, most of writing is rewriting. Consider this a rewrite. Your story's still there - it's just the words that need work.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW benbenberi's Avatar
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    Shit like that happens. You'll never be able to recreate perfectly the revisions that were lost. The question is, will you let that vision of Lost Perfection haunt you forever and doom you to a lifetime of regret and might-have-beens? Or will you put on your Big Writer Pants and remind yourself you're a better writer now than you were last month, and this new rewrite reflects your current skills and vision better than any previous iteration might have done? Don't even bother trying to remember what you did to tweak, change, correct or improve your manuscript last time you worked on this section -- you're working on it NOW, so make the changes you want to make now, regardless whether or not they match your memory of The Vanished Draft. The Vanished Draft doesn't matter. It never happened. The current draft is the only one that counts, and you owe it to yourself to treat it as its own thing.

    Whatever you did well before, you can do again. Or better.

    (And get a better backup process. Something that runs automatically & transparently, and something that stores version history of your writing so when file corruption happens again you still have a chance of finding the Last Good Version. Dropbox is a good option.)
    Last edited by benbenberi; 10-25-2017 at 02:02 AM.

  5. #5
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    Ditch MS word download Libre office

  6. #6
    Evil and sparkly tiddlywinks's Avatar
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    Unto you! I was in those exact same shoes a couple years ago. Had a furious writing streak, 20K new words, new ideas, blah blah...corrupted file. Like you, hadn't saved or emailed myself newest in over a month. Actually, it was the one time I didn't do my usual back up like a mad woman in five different places tactic. Either way, dagger meet heart.

    I, too, had the ghost of past words floating around in my head. For me, it was just too much. I couldn't write and not hear the echoes of what I kinda sorta thought I'd written, so I put the WIP into a little drawer and closed it for a couple of months. Worked on other things. Then, about 6 months later, the characters started poking at me again, and I was able to return to it with fresh eyes and pick up where I was able. And the ghosts of past words weren't haunting me anymore.

    How each person deals with that situation is different, as you can see from the suggestions above. You know what works best for you and your writing style. But I feel for you. I really do! And know that you can and will get past this

    ~Winks, who still prefers Word but periodically starts saving and working on a different file version, in addition to the constant OneDrive backup plus regularly scheduled external drive backups + emailing copies to self and CPs.
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    That has always been a fear of mine, so I back up every session on a
    USB (daily) and once a week I email updated files to my email address. That way if something crashes at home, I have an external back up in my email account.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmymc View Post
    Ditch MS word download Libre office
    What does this have to do with losing work?

    caw
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

    -- Terry Pratchett

  9. #9
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmymc View Post
    Ditch MS word download Libre office
    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    What does this have to do with losing work?
    That's what I'm wondering. I've lost work over the years, regardless of OS, program, or old fashioned handwriting. Best I can recommend is multiple backups over multiple places; I also use Dropbox and save to both my MacBook and Mac mini. If you can activate an auto-save feature, DO IT.
    I still poop rainbows.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    I also use Dropbox and save to both my MacBook and Mac mini. If you can activate an auto-save feature, DO IT.
    I do this too! Also makes it super easy for when I want to write somewhere else.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    What does this have to do with losing work?
    He saw “MS”, issue with, and thought it was a problem with MS Word, a common enough complaint and a reason why many switched to OpenOffice through the years. Here, it meant “manuscript” though.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flanderso View Post
    Any of you had this? Have you lost a load of work and worried that when you started again, it won't match what you lost.
    yea…about 25 years ago I started a book “Guide to multithreaded programming in Windows NT”, and had a good productive “flow” with everything falling into place. I mean, a round the clock thing that youngsters can do. I don’t remember what happened, but I lost it and that was so demotivating that I never wrote it.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW DarienW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flanderso View Post

    Maybe I am trying too hard to recapture what I had done rather than carrying on like it had never happened.

    Any of you had this? Have you lost a load of work and worried that when you started again, it won't match what you lost.
    Yes, Yes, Yes. I can relate 100%. I was deep, deep, deep in writing, stepped away for a minute, and the whole thing turned into stars. My biggest mistake--I saved it! I didn't realize it was a bug and did update my MS word, but alas, I was pissed, trying to remember what I'd done--it wasn't fresh and in the moment, it was just trying to remember what the hell it was!!! None of the backups helped either. Now I keep 2 versions of everything, my numbered draft, and one with an A added. I haven't ever had that problem again, but color me paranoid! So sorry you went through that, but I will say, revising that scene I rewrote changed it even more, so all hope is not lost.

    Sorry if I'm repeating any posts--you hit me at the core! Had to post!
    My first chapter: DON'T TELL ANYONE Revised at #24

  14. #14
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    I lost a completed novella, found it, and lost it again. Lost another novella, and several early versions of the crime novel I'm working on, including hard copies. Found them again. Lost 'em. Found them last month packed in a little box in my dayum closet. Lol.

    I use Mozy to store my files. Even if my computer dies I can retrieve them when I buy a new desktop or laptop. It costs just under $10 per month and worth ever penny of it.
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  15. #15
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarienW View Post
    Yes, Yes, Yes. I can relate 100%. I was deep, deep, deep in writing, stepped away for a minute, and the whole thing turned into stars. My biggest mistake--I saved it! I didn't realize it was a bug and did update my MS word, but alas, I was pissed, trying to remember what I'd done--it wasn't fresh and in the moment, it was just trying to remember what the hell it was!!! None of the backups helped either. Now I keep 2 versions of everything, my numbered draft, and one with an A added. I haven't ever had that problem again, but color me paranoid! So sorry you went through that, but I will say, revising that scene I rewrote changed it even more, so all hope is not lost.

    Sorry if I'm repeating any posts--you hit me at the core! Had to post!
    Years ago I wrote on a word processor. One day I highlighted the first chapter of an earlier version of my crime novel and a little hand shot hout of nowhere and hit DELETE. Grrr. She also starred a page and blamed it on the cat.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

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  16. #16
    figuring it all out Flanderso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbenberi View Post

    Whatever you did well before, you can do again. Or better.
    Here's hoping. I think I just need to get past that shock and just launch back into it.

  17. #17
    figuring it all out Flanderso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiddlywinks View Post
    Unto you! I was in those exact same shoes a couple years ago. Had a furious writing streak, 20K new words, new ideas, blah blah...corrupted file. Like you, hadn't saved or emailed myself newest in over a month. Actually, it was the one time I didn't do my usual back up like a mad woman in five different places tactic. Either way, dagger meet heart.

    I, too, had the ghost of past words floating around in my head. For me, it was just too much. I couldn't write and not hear the echoes of what I kinda sorta thought I'd written, so I put the WIP into a little drawer and closed it for a couple of months. Worked on other things. Then, about 6 months later, the characters started poking at me again, and I was able to return to it with fresh eyes and pick up where I was able. And the ghosts of past words weren't haunting me anymore.

    How each person deals with that situation is different, as you can see from the suggestions above. You know what works best for you and your writing style. But I feel for you. I really do! And know that you can and will get past this

    ~Winks, who still prefers Word but periodically starts saving and working on a different file version, in addition to the constant OneDrive backup plus regularly scheduled external drive backups + emailing copies to self and CPs.
    Thanks for the hugs! And yeah, a better saving technique adopt I will. But using OneDrive/Dropbox or any automatic backing up won't work. I do 95% of my writing on my phone while commuting. I think that is maybe how it came to be corrupted. Now I am saving the file, emailing it to myself, and saving another copy on my work's laptop.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    I use Mozy to store my files. Even if my computer dies I can retrieve them when I buy a new desktop or laptop. It costs just under $10 per month and worth ever penny of it.
    At $120 per year? Three good-sized flash drives might cost you $20 these days, with no further monthly payments. E-mailing your manuscripts to yourself costs you nothing.

    caw
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  19. #19
    Great Old One CameronJohnston's Avatar
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    Everybody suffers this at least once. I feel your pain! I generally email myself a copy after every session (only takes 30 seconds) and copy it to USB stick every so often as well.
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  20. #20
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    The story goes, Dickens gave his new manuscript to a friend for beta reading, all bundled up. The housekeeper thought t was waste paper and threw it on the fire.

    He ended up rewriting it, better than ever, and now we have A Tale of Two Cities.
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindyt View Post
    Years ago I wrote on a word processor. One day I highlighted the first chapter of an earlier version of my crime novel and a little hand shot hout of nowhere and hit DELETE. Grrr. She also starred a page and blamed it on the cat.
    So did your own hand follow up with a Ctrl+Z ?

    What's this about starring pages / having a document turn to stars?

  22. #22
    professional dilettante Lakey's Avatar
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    Just a few weeks ago I lost a chapter of about 1500 words that I had written and done some polishing to. The technical details of how I lost it are boring; it was in a separate medium from the rest of my manuscript (which is backed up) because I had written it while traveling. It was a scene I had written out of order and was just letting languish until I reached that point in my march forward through the first draft. And when I finally got there, I found the file was irretrievably corrupted and my attempt to restore a backup thwarted (again boring technical reasons).

    The entire scene was gone. 1500 words might not sound like a lot but it can take me a very long time to write that much. It wasn't quite a month's work, as you lost, but it did take me a good couple of weeks to reconstruct it. (I fear it's the weakest part of the story so it's difficult to work on it for that reason; and i'm very slow to begin with.) I don't think the original scene was great, and I'm pretty sure the reconstructed scene is worse in some ways. But, perhaps it's better in other ways.

    At any rate, I do feel your pain. I was furious. I did a lot of cursing that night and into the next morning, and it still makes me rage to think about it.

  23. #23
    figuring it all out technoglobe's Avatar
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    I once lost an entire novel. At first I was devastated, but now I can say it was for the best. Starting over made me produce a much better product in the end.
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  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW benbenberi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flanderso View Post
    Thanks for the hugs! And yeah, a better saving technique adopt I will. But using OneDrive/Dropbox or any automatic backing up won't work. I do 95% of my writing on my phone while commuting.
    You can use Dropbox with files on a phone same as on a computer. With the same files, in fact. That's one of the nice things about it - you can work on the same files anywhere, and the master copy on Dropbox syncs them, and stores the versions.

  25. #25
    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flanderso View Post
    Any of you had this?
    In the days of the 8 & 5 1/4" floppy disks? More often than I have fingers and toes.

    Never trust electronic medium.

    Print.

    -cb

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