There is an old 'joke' I of which I was reminded during this past week. It goes something like this:
Jesus and Satan were arguing one day about who had the best memory. God suggested they both start documenting every event since day one on a separate computer and after a year's time limit, whoever had the most events documented would win. So Jesus and Satan started in typing out events each on his own computer. Everything was going along fine until about the ninth month when a tremendous rain storm developed with lots of thunder and lightning. During one pretty severe round of lightning strikes, the power surged and both computers suddenly blinked out. After a couple of minutes, Jesus and Satan were both able to reboot their computers. However, Satan, upon returning to the file he had been working on, discovered a total blank. He'd lost all the information he'd been entering. He screamed in mortification and pounded the keyboard. “God,” he cried out, “what am I going to do? I'll never be able to retype all of the information in time.” Then he remembered that Jesus' computer had also conked out. He laughed in renewed delight. “I guess Jesus has to start over again, too.” However, Jesus calmly opened a folder and retrieved all of the information he'd been documenting intact and up to date. “How?” Satan asked. “Simple,” God said.
Of course, you get the double meaning from that last line. Anyway, my computer conked out last week and this week I've been rebuilding and updating files. I had saved a lot of information on some external hard drives so along with those files, my business accounts weren't lost, although I did sweat for a moment thinking I was going to have to retype everything in from January first of this year. Not a major job, just annoying. However, the external had the back up file, so I was saved. I did lose a lot of my downloaded files and am in the process of downloading them again. I will also have to reinstall some programs. Just a minor set back.
However, the Alpha rewrite, I'm sad to say, was lost. I managed to salvage Chapter One only because I sent it to a friend for critique, but I'll have to open up the notebook and start retyping in my handwritten manuscript. I also lost a bunch of short story edits I had made and will have to go back and do those over.
The problem I have is that when I edit something I think it's a pretty good edit and I feel the story is improved. I'll keep editing until I feel that I can't edit anymore and either submit it, have it critiqued (and then edit again) or wait awhile then go back and see if it still sounds good. If I've lost an edited file and have to read the original again and re-edit from scratch I feel as if I'm missing something, that it's not as good as the first time. I'm sure Alpha will be all right and I'll catch some of the errors I made on the long hand version this time as I did last time. It's just annoying to have to go back and do it again.
Writers, please, I implore you to save everything two or three or four times over. Somewhere. Disk, external hard drive, hard copy...somewhere. I'm not pushing any product, but at the time of this writing I have started the free trial from Carbonite.com. I signed up for it today and when I get back from black belt camp on Sunday, I'll delve into it a little more to see what further options I can choose. But, I figure for just about $55 per year I can have my files backed up and be able to retrieve them, even if my computer totally dies and I have to purchase a brand new one.
Think of what kind of power it takes for Jesus to save souls. Surely, we have enough power to make an effort and save, save and save again our important files.