Tragedy for Any Writer.
Imagine. You’re sitting at your desk, typing away. Finally making progress on that HUGE essay or project for work or school. Or in my case, maybe you write books for fun. Now imagine spending hours, days, weeks, even months working on one project. A document over 200 pages, nearly 100,000 words long, perhaps. The continuation of your life’s work… Can you imagine it? Good. Now imagine it all disappearing! In an instant. The length of time to type three letters, your entire document is gone. You try CTRL Z(UNDO). Nothing. You try it again. Nothing. Once more for good measure. And…NOTHING!
A HUGE chunk of your life’s work is gone. Just like that! Stricken from the world. Nothing to show for it but an empty word processor page. The blank white page staring back at you calmly awaiting you to perform your magic, making something out of nothing. Pulling the stories and thoughts from your head on to paper. But all you can do is stare back. Waiting for the machine to blink, to scream “April fools!” and return you to your regularly scheduled writing time. But still nothing happens.
Now what do you do? Well isn’t it obvious? You panic. You groan…loudly. Your heart races. Your vision goes blurry from the instant immeasurable weight of disappointment. Dare I say grief? To me, my stories are my family. I know that’s weird. But take a moment and reflect on the time, effort, and years of dedication to one story. To me that has been 15+ years. And I just watched it vanish like a bad magic trick. Um David Blaine…? Give it back. It’s not impressive or funny anymore.
Okay…So I’m not painting this tragic word picture for fun. This actually happened. A couple of months ago I really did go to work on the sequel to my series, “Beasts of Men and Gods,” only to perform some kind of Tourette keystroke type finger dance that ultimately deleted everything I had been working on since mid 2020. I was absolutely devastated… But then, after I gathered myself. Down right breathing deep like you see on television to come out of a panic attack, I started looking for a way to recover the document. I mean there had to be a way! Right!? This was 2022 for goodness sake!
So I heatedly searched. Taking what felt like hours to locate any reasonable means to recover what I lost. Perform a resurrection, as it were. Turns out that the processor I used at the time, Google Chrome, has a recovery feature where anyone can load the last version of their document. Thankfully, I located this and reloaded it. Only losing a very small section I had done for the day. I–was–relieved. I mean, I’m pretty sure I fell to the floor crying happy tears. Not going to lie. It was not my best moment.
Anyway, the reason I am writing this today, several weeks after the infamous event, is various. For one, it was awful. I was honestly horrified I would do it again. Next I am a habitual procrastinator. So there’s that. It’s amazing I get anything done. HA! But no, the reason is that I want to alert/recommend those of you who write for school, work, or for fun like myself on which word processor to use? I guess, choosing wisely would be my first bit of advice.
Now all I can give you is a recommendation of what to use. Not necessarily what NOT to use. Why? Because I have been using one particular processor for years now. And I will say that we are on the right side of history there. I always use Google Chromes’ Google Docs. It has an autosave feature that I love dearly. It saves like every three seconds or so. Also, I can literally access my documents wherever I have internet. Which nowadays is pretty much everywhere. Also, if you’re a Word user, I know for a fact(Because I just looked it up) that Microsoft Word has a recovery feature as well, but I am not privy to those details. I’m not sure how long they store files that may have been deleted before saving them.
Finally, because technology and I have a checkered past. Not really, but I don’t honestly like technology. Little patience for the stuff(How ironic is that?). I have added layers to protect my stories I hold so dear. I not only have them saved with Chrome’s save feature, but I also copy it to a word document, save it to my desktop, an external hard drive, and even go as far as emailing it to myself just in case. It may sound paranoid, but damn it I was so scared that all my hard work had been whipped out. And until the story is in my hot little hands, I will probably not change my ways. Anyway, that’s it. I hope I didn’t scare you too much. Just enough to think critically about protecting your work. Because who honestly can say that they like doing work over again? I certainly can’t.