A salutary lesson

As writers, we are constantly reminded to ‘BACK UP YOUR FILES’

As writers we are constantly too busy and preoccupied to bother with such mundane advice aren’t we?

After all, the manuscript file is always there inside your computer and how often does the computer go wrong? Rarely I think is the answer.

Recently I have been finalising and tweaking the manuscript for the second book in ‘The King’s Jew’ trilogy.

For the past two months I got into a habit of going to my favourite coffee bar early in the morning and as the coffee drug coursed through my body I’d open my tablet, attach the USB containing the full scripts for Books One & Two and carry on reviewing my work.

Then when I got back to my office I’d slot the USB into my laptop and continue working. Good system eh?  Easy transfer of data and all is well in my literary world.

Then came yesterday, Tuesday, May 18th.

I’d contracted to give a talk to a University group. The PowerPoint Presentation was all prepared and on my laptop. My tablet was ready with extra notes stored on the aforementioned USB device and all seemed well with the world.

I’d decided to go for my usual coffee before the event and after purchasing the same I settled down to do some reviewing BUT as I opened my tablet my heart sank – NO USB DEVICE!!!

Picking my heart up from my boots (I always wear boots) I naturally surmised that I’d left the USB in the office. Leaving the coffee unfinished I jumped into my writer-mobile and high-tailed it back to base. Frantic searching revealed nothing. No USB. And we all know what ‘no USB’ means don’t we? NO BLOODY BOOK FILES!!!!

But I have to get to the venue to give the talk – being a consummate professional I put the problem in the back drawer and carried on. The talk went well yet that nagging doubt about the whereabouts of my files clutched at my psyche as I drove home afterwards.

I’ve turned the office upside down and searched every nook and cranny in the house. I even went to the coffee shop and made enquiries – to no avail. Then the gut-wrenching facts kicked in – I’d lost the USB in a public place and someone now has my complete three years’ work in their grubby mitts (Oh didn’t I tell you? The final manuscript for Book Three was on their as well!)

It took me ages to figure out that I had indeed been ‘backing up’ my files on the laptop. But where?

Lost files

I searched for ages and couldn’t find anything. Oh there were old versions of the works but nothing up to date.

Then Pippin whispered in my ear (metaphorically as she’s the cat) – well someone gave me a mental nudge anyway as I scanned the files in my laptop. I’d been looking in the wrong place! Trying to access a file using the wrong name and there it was – a folder that I used to backup files from my USB.

Tentatively I opened it and LO AND BEHOLD everything I’d lost was sitting there grinning at me. Except for the last seven days of course. RESULT!!!!!!

The thing is, I don’t even remember the last time I did a backup! But thank all the gods of every religion that I did.

In conclusion – I can quite easily fill in the last / lost seven days of work but what really worries me is that somebody out there has three books and every single word I ever wrote. Let’s hope we don’t see a new version of ‘The King’s Jew’ out there in the big world that doesn’t have the author’s name as Darius Stransky.

The moral? – Backup your file EVERY DAY!