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Searching
12-04-2009, 11:19 AM
I just lost about 1000 words, but they very important, they tied up my story so nicely, and I was so happy having done them, and then what happened was my laptop cable came disconnected and since my battery is 99% dead the laptop just suddenly turned off. As luck would have it, Word still hadn't gone around to auto-save the document. This had never happened to me before until now, and I swear, it must be the worst feeling in the world. Just to know I'll never write it as nicely as I had, and, I don't want to gloat, but it was written so well, and just made the whole story perfect and now I'm back to zero and just want to delete the whole bloody thing, I don't want to look at it ever again. I feel like a part of me was just stolen, ripped out of me. I cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like to lose, as I'm sure many have, even more than that. It would be suicide inducing. I guess this is just a big long run on rant, but I needed it.

Terie
12-04-2009, 11:46 AM
Condolences. But....you don't know for a fact that you can't write it again just as well, or maybe even better! The ideas are still in your head, and when you sit down to retype it, you might be surprised how many of the words are, too.

Also? Having had this happen only about a zillion times, I've developed the habit of typing Ctrl+s very often. Whenever my fingers pause to let my brain think, Ctrl+s. Every couple of paragraphs, Ctrl+s. Whenever the text starts a new page, Ctrl+s. You can never save too often. And relying on Word's auto-save feature just isn't good enough. Ctrl+s is your friend.....your very VERY good friend. :)

(That said, the Word Gremlin is perverse, and the one time you haven't been saving faithfully is the time it'll crash your system. Still.)

Now, sit down and retype. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Have faith in yourself!

blacbird
12-04-2009, 12:07 PM
Never.

Depend.

On.

Autosave.

Functions.

Ctrl-S at the end of every paragraph is your best friend. Make it as habitual as pressing the Enter key.

1000 words is painful, but in the long run a cheap price for learning this lesson.

caw

kaitie
12-04-2009, 12:14 PM
Oh man. I lost an entire 300 page document once. Not kidding you. Entire 60k word book. I didn't have a computer of my own at the time so I would type it in a computer lab from the handwritten originals. I had just finished and was going through some edits when my disk died. I had no idea that could even happen at the time, and needless to say I had a good cry over it. Couldn't believe it. At least I had the handwritten originals and could retype it.

Ever since, I keep a copy on my computer, occasionally save it (and everything else writing related) to a flash drive, and I keep the flash drive at work so that if there's an earthquake or fire I don't lose both copies. I also tend to have a hard copy just so I have something to type from again in case all forms are somehow lost.

ChristineR
12-04-2009, 12:19 PM
It happens to everyone once. That's the only way you can ever force your brain to remember to save often. You'll rewrite those thousand words now, and they'll be better than they were, and if there was anything really amazing in them, you'll remember it when you rewrite. Don't start kidding yourself into thinking it was magic--it was your hard work, and your hard work the second time through will work just fine.

Cassiopeia
12-04-2009, 12:21 PM
I email copies of my work to gmail and hotmail. that way I have two back ups that are not on any of my computers. I typically have a copy on each computer and I have an external harddrive back up.

I know, I'm paranoid

I would have though that windows would have gone to the restore feature in Word.

Clair Dickson
12-04-2009, 01:21 PM
I'm so much in the habit of hitting Ctrl+S, that I do it by default and without thinking while composing email and posting on AW.

ESPECIALLY on the laptop, which has more points of failure. Then again-- does your lappy not tell you that the battery is in danger of dying, then warn you again when it's got only a few minutes, then warn you again that you need to give it juice NOW? Mine goes into spastic alert mode when the battery runs down... I mean, the little pop up icon goes pop-pop-pop-pop-pop as fast as I can click it to go away. Which is a HUGE reminder to SAVE and figure out why it's juiceless.

Condolences, but don't ever let it happen again. This is in your control. Become OCD like the rest of us. Ctrl+S.

Linda Adams
12-04-2009, 03:39 PM
Ctrl S next time.

Quick and easy to save your file. Do it often.

DeadlyAccurate
12-04-2009, 06:20 PM
You could go into Tools --> Options --> Save tab (this is Word 2003, not sure about other versions), and change the autosave function to save every minute.

Searching
12-04-2009, 06:44 PM
Good point about changing the auto save time interval. I have started using Ctrl-S and it really is the best way to make sure nothing goes wrong. Thanks everyone.

CheekyWench
12-04-2009, 06:45 PM
I have a dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/) which I use for backup as well as saving like a crazy person. I've lost work before when my laptop crashed. I tend to over save things now (which makes it difficult to find later. But it's THERE somewhere lol :D )

the addster
12-04-2009, 06:49 PM
I email copies of my work to gmail and hotmail. that way I have two back ups that are not on any of my computers. I typically have a copy on each computer and I have an external harddrive back up.


That's what I do, and I'm thanking the universe for it right now. I just lost a hard drive on my main computer. So it's an annoyance, not the end of the world.

Paranoia can be good. I just plan on my computers shooting craps at some point, and I'm never disappointed.

Phaeal
12-04-2009, 06:59 PM
Rewrite the 1000 words. I've often lost chunks of writing. After an hour or so of meltdown, I have rewritten and gotten something even better. How did I know the rewrite was better than the original? Because on several occasions, I've later found that the original DID get saved somewhere, and I've compared the two and kept the rewrite every time.

It's in the original computer, your brain. You'll get it out again, just like John Boy Walton got his novel out again after his only copy burned up with the family home: different but the same.

All that said, I'm a madman for frequent saving and backing up files and making paper copies after each session. ;)

kathleen_grant
12-04-2009, 08:09 PM
I just lost about 1000 words, but they very important, they tied up my story so nicely, and I was so happy having done them, and then what happened was my laptop cable came disconnected and since my battery is 99% dead the laptop just suddenly turned off. As luck would have it, Word still hadn't gone around to auto-save the document. This had never happened to me before until now, and I swear, it must be the worst feeling in the world. Just to know I'll never write it as nicely as I had, and, I don't want to gloat, but it was written so well, and just made the whole story perfect and now I'm back to zero and just want to delete the whole bloody thing, I don't want to look at it ever again. I feel like a part of me was just stolen, ripped out of me. I cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like to lose, as I'm sure many have, even more than that. It would be suicide inducing. I guess this is just a big long run on rant, but I needed it.

Ohh yes, I know EXACTLY how you feel. This happened to me once, but I actually saved it on a roaming profile drive at work, and when I went to retrieve it on another computer, it wasn't there.

... and when I frantically ran back to the other computer to find it, my profile had already logged out, and everything I'd saved had been erased in a computer glitch.

Let's just say the computer and I had a longggg talk. Okay, maybe I was screaming at it. Whatever.

So yeah--I get you.

Shadow_Ferret
12-04-2009, 08:12 PM
Word didn't create a crash file?

CaroGirl
12-04-2009, 08:26 PM
It's happened to me. Losing work is VERY demotivating for me and I sympathize. Make sure you check your hard drive carefully in case there's a copy lurking somewhere. Otherwise, you'll have to redo those 1000 words -- when you're done grieving over it, of course. Maybe it'll be even better the 2nd time around.

icerose
12-04-2009, 08:26 PM
Oh yes I've lost chunks of work before, even an entire manuscript once. When I was about thirteen, I had almost completed my first novel when the disk decided to die and the hard drive died and I had no copy of it. I stopped writing for almost four years because of that. Around that time my mother found a printed out copy that had almost everything. She had apparently printed it out so she could show family members but had suffered a stroke shortly after and lost all memory of it.

It spurred me into writing again. I wrote strictly on a notebook and wouldn't touch a computer until I got married and had one of my own. Thankfully by then they had burnable cd's and I faithfully burned a CD copy.

Now I have a flash drive, two copies one on each of my computers, and a monthly burned disk in two places.

I still lose small sections every now and then. No my laptop does not warn me if the battery is low. If it dies, the computer shuts off, no warning. Last night I nearly lost a whole chapter but I had clicked save about five seconds before it shut off. Thank goodness I think I would have cried.

It's very frustrating but don't be stupid like me and let it get to you. Get some chocolate, and buckle down and do it again. I loathe writing the same piece twice, but it's not worth giving up over a lost chunk of words.

Twizzle
12-04-2009, 08:40 PM
In September-ish, malware attacked my computer. It locked up with my usb in the drive-that was saving files. It took a little over $300 and a week, but Kevin my techno-geek hero finally managed to get into it and salvaged my files before allowing my hard drive to pass gently into the night.

Lesson learned. A really expensive painful terrifying lesson.

I changed auto-save to much faster intervals and now have both Dropbox and Carbonite. Carbonite esp is worth the fifty whatever dollars a year because it automatically downloads. I'm lazy. I know it now and it almost cost me everything and therefore I'm now honest with myself-I'm still damn lazy and I'm still not going to back-up enough or email myself enough. I also have Dropbox because I can automatically share files on all the other computers. You can also restore files via internet/any device, a big plus I learned.

So, the three together have kept me safe and sound or, at least safer and sounder.

ETA-I now have Malware Bytes as well. I should have had it before. There is a special ring of Hell for those who created the police pro malware. A very special ring.

ishtar'sgate
12-04-2009, 09:18 PM
I just lost about 1000 words.... and now I'm back to zero and just want to delete the whole bloody thing, I don't want to look at it ever again. I feel like a part of me was just stolen, ripped out of me. I cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like to lose, as I'm sure many have, even more than that. It would be suicide inducing. I guess this is just a big long run on rant, but I needed it.
Bummer. If it makes you feel any better I lost three chapters of my current WIP, a chapter of a second manuscript and all of the research material I'd collected up for over a year. (I write historicals) We had a housefire and the paper research and manuscript and notes and on and on are all gone along with my computer and nicely saved backup jump drives.
It's VERY hard to go back and try again. It's like your life has been sucked out of you. I've started again. I don't mind rewriting the thing but I really hate not having all that research material. But hey, who said life was fair.:)

Twizzle
12-04-2009, 09:37 PM
We had a housefire and the paper research and manuscript and notes and on and on are all gone along with my computer and nicely saved backup jump drives.


Oh, man. Yes! This is exactly what dawned on me after the attack--the backing-up I'd done was pointless if...so now it's online as well.

So sorry to hear that, Ishtar. :(

gothicangel
12-04-2009, 09:47 PM
I lost a whole novel (80,000 - I think?) This was back in the days of floppy disks, one day I went into the file and it had been corrupted. The bitch part was that I had a request from an agent to see partials.

Lesson: never trust corrupt floppies!

Clair Dickson
12-04-2009, 09:54 PM
We had a housefire and the paper research and manuscript and notes and on and on are all gone along with my computer and nicely saved backup jump drives.


For some reason, when we got a house (after 8 years of apt living), I got really paranoid about this sort of thing. All my lovely backups are sitting next to the computer. That's when I got dropbox. And it allows me to work on the same EXACT file version on my lappy when away and my desktop at home. =) In addition to providing three copies in case of catastrophe, including one online.

Kate Thornton
12-04-2009, 10:09 PM
Every time this has happened to me, the newer version is more concise and better-written than the one I lost - I look at it as a sort of forced editing. No more pleasant that *any* editing, but with a good eventual outcome.

Apsu
12-04-2009, 10:19 PM
I've lost work. It really is a horrible, helpless feeling.

I know most people don't like it, but writing it out longhand or on a typewriter can really prevent this, as long as you're careful with the hard copy until it has been transferred to the comp and then saved in more than one way. I usually shred what I've written longhand after saving to the comp, an external hard drive, plus a disk.

I feel for you though. I never thought to be so careful until one night I accidentally saved the old over the new, and had no other copy to rescue it from.

Chris P
12-04-2009, 10:30 PM
I lost an entire chapter once. It's complicated how it happened*, but I nearly chucked the computer into the street until I remembered I had emailed the chapter to my dad, who by luck still had it. I needed to start over on the revisions, but at least I didn't have to re-write 20K words from scratch!

Don't be discouraged. You will re-write the passage and you will like it. Go see a movie, have a good dinner and come back to it tonight. Who knows, maybe the fresh start will allow you to do it even better.



*Okay, I had the "one-click" option turned on in Windows, when I went to save a new document it autofilled the filename of an existing document in the "save as" box and saved it without prompting me, overwriting the chapter. DO NOT use the one-click to open option in Windows! The extra 0.1 seconds it takes to double click is worth it.

C.M. Daniels
12-05-2009, 12:22 AM
I not only save compulsively on my computer (Apple key + S for me), I have a portable hard drive and two thumbs that I save everything to as well. When a project is done, I also send copies to a friend of mine and my mother, that way there's something somewhere in case the worst happens. When I lost a novel (years ago, corrupted floppies after my HD died and went to hell), my friend was able to get her copy to me. Best of luck to you as you recreate your 1k words.

DamaNegra
12-05-2009, 12:53 AM
I have gotten Dropbox (the free version) and it's great, because it not only keeps a file on each of my computers, it stores it online in case I lose both computers at the same time. Also, the backups are automatic, so I don't have to worry about backing up anymore. I'll upload to Google Wave once ever 5k-10k words, but that's about it.

John61480
12-05-2009, 01:01 AM
When I tossed everything I had yet for the second time, which happened most recently last year when I thought I had quit writing for good, I had thankfully posted some excerpts in the Share Your Work area of AW. This probably sounds stupid, but, when I decided to give writing a shot again, I was able to resurrect one of my favorite stories that I had kicking around in my head by copying and pasting what I had posted. It saved my butt! I still had to start completely over again with regards to notes and ideas, but still, its a start and I was able to pick up where I had left off in the writing.

JulieHowe
12-05-2009, 01:11 AM
I lost two months' worth of backed-up work because (DUH me) I saved everything on the same hard drive. I've always been super diligent about sending a zipped copy of my work to my Google email to always have a backup of the latest, but guess what. For those two months I didn't.

The best thing I've ever bought? A 250 GB external hard drive. I highly recommend getting a larger sized drive if you're going to store pictures and music on the drive along with your writing. Don't get one with an external power supply (meaning it requires a wall plug to operate) because these drives are cumbersome and not portable at all. Get an external hard drive that's powered by the USB port, one that's small enough to throw in your bag if you move from one computer to the next.

I bought my external hard drive at Office Depot, and it's called a Blueberry. It cost me less than $100 with tax. I've had the drive for a year and have had no problems at all. I decided not to use the backup software that came with the drive, because the simpler you make things, the better. I have all my writing and research (at least 100 GB there) backed up to the drive, and the rest is music and my photos. You only have to lose irreplaceable digital photos once in your life to never let that happen again.

My other recommendations:

Don't depend on a flash drive or an SD-card for long-term data storage. I've lost flash drives just because the really cool cigarette-lighter style USB flip-up connector broke. Luckily, I was suspicious of that connector to begin with and never stored anything important on the drive. SD cards are the ones that fit into your cell phone or PDA, and they're flat and sometimes smaller than a fingernail. Flash drives are usually the same dimensions as a pack of cigarettes, although lately I've seen them in smaller sizes.

blacbird
12-05-2009, 02:06 AM
Flash drives are usually the same dimensions as a pack of cigarettes, although lately I've seen them in smaller sizes.

You must be familiar with some really small packs of cigarettes. Most flash drives are about the size of your thumb, hence the name "thumb drives".

caw

Chasing the Horizon
12-05-2009, 02:42 AM
I had the exact same thing happen once (lost 1k words because of laptop suddenly losing power). The reason it happened is because the logic board on my primary laptop is faulty. It's supposed to give a ten minute warning, a 'plug in NOW' warning, then finally put itself into sleep mode to prevent data loss. Instead it just dies at 10% battery power. Now that I know it's faulty, I don't allow the battery to get below 20%.

My solution was to swear for a minute, then immediately reboot the computer and retype what I'd lost. By retyping it so quickly, I reproduced what was lost almost exactly.

And yes, Apple + S is now my friend.

JulieHowe
12-05-2009, 02:51 AM
You must be familiar with some really small packs of cigarettes. Most flash drives are about the size of your thumb, hence the name "thumb drives".

caw

I meant they look like cigarette packs, as far as being rectangular with a pop-up thingy for the USB port. I should have been more specific, but you're right, there are now drives available that are much smaller than the ones I described.

scarletpeaches
12-05-2009, 05:04 PM
Autosave hangs the file for a few seconds the longer it gets, so I've got into the habit of CTRL-Sing every so often.

seun
12-05-2009, 07:36 PM
Way back in the day, I had a computer that was built sometime in the 17th century. It was beyond a dinosaur. At one point, it crashed no more than a few seconds after I'd finished the first draft of my first book - before I'd hit save. I lost the end (which wasn't that bad as the book was awful).

Then to top that, it crashed in a big way a few weeks later and I lost almost everything. Poems, stories, most of the novel. I had it all printed but not saved anywhere other than the computer. I ended up rewriting about 220,000 words.

So the lesson is, don't use a piece of shit computer. And save your stuff all the fucking time.

folkchick
12-05-2009, 07:42 PM
I use a Mac and am always hitting Apple+S, even on forums when I'm not thinking

Kalyke
12-05-2009, 08:17 PM
That is truly sad-- but I have been there before. I remember 120 pages that simply blinked into the stratosphere. (good times). I am very lucky that there are no guns hidden in the house. As wasteful of paper, I alway print out new work about every 15 minutes. This is a simple matter of having a hard copy, and only 15 minutes of work is ever lost if anything happens. If something happened I would at least have the last iteration of it, and can back fill.

Snowstorm
12-05-2009, 10:01 PM
I"m sorry Searching. The only time I've loss a lot of well-written words were in an email when the email system burped and I had to rewrite it. (From that experience if I need to send a well-crafted email I write it on a Word document, then retype it into the email.)

But anyway, I have a Mac and Word for Mac software. I set the autosave at three minutes. I expected my typing to pause during NaNo, especially as the novel got longer, but only once did I experience a pause in typing. Well worth the irritation of the pause and I don't have to do anything.

theantisplice
12-06-2009, 11:06 AM
Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. If it helps at all, look on the bright side - at least it wasn't a whole novel, like some people here are mentioning they've had happen.

Anyway. I save my work every time I pause to think, or at least every paragraph or so. I also save to my flash and external hard drives, as well as email finished and in-progress pieces to myself (I organize them into folders by project. Even if I lose all my external backups, I can get to the piece online.) Yeah, I'm a little compulsive, but it pays off - in years of writing various long and short pieces, I've never lost more than a few paragraphs of work.

Good luck rewriting your thousand words! Don't be discouraged. Take it as a lesson and work through it; think how proud you'll be when you've bucked up and done the work not once, but twice. That takes dedication.

Annayna
12-06-2009, 08:16 PM
I lost about 3 manuscripts due to floppies... Almost gave up writing... Almost

Misa Buckley
12-06-2009, 08:34 PM
I've "lost" work twice. Both times were during burglaries in which my laptop was stolen (yes, I have been unfortunate to have TWO laptops stolen).

The first time it happened I had NO backups. I managed to get some stuff back from a couple of friends who were betaing for me, but the rest? Gone.

The second time I was backing up, but not always after a session. I lost perhaps 30K because of that, God knows what I lost on the first. I don't like thinking about that *shudders*

Horrible, horrible feeling :(

laharrison
12-06-2009, 10:57 PM
I lost an entire chapter once when I accidentally over-wrote the chapter with a template file. That was for a very dry non fiction book, though, so it wasn't really hard to re-write it. I knew exactly what I needed to convey, and there wasn't much creativity required. I'd hate to lose the same amount of a novel!

DragonHeart
12-07-2009, 05:12 PM
I've had two computers fail on me in the past 8 years. Each time I lost all the writing (and everything else) I had on it cause I never bothered backing anything up. These days, not so much. I make sure I save often and have multiple copies, both saved and online.

~DragonHeart~