I almost lost my mind yesterday. Yup, I was about to turn into the crazy woman at the store, yelling at people for no good reason because, well, what else are you going to do?
I thought I'd deleted my manuscript. All 90,000 words of it.
I have a system I'm comfortable with. I back things up, I do...just not to the extreme other people might. I save on my computer. I save on a jump drive. But...this time I forgot to email the manuscript to myself. I dove into my computer, clicked on Immortal, Beloved and got a two page synopsis. The file was gone.
No problem, I thought. I'll just shove my jump drive in, and pull up that saved copy.
Only I couldn't find my jump drive. I swear, it grew legs and walked away.
Cue P. A. N. I. C.
Now, I realize I probably mailed the manuscript to a handful of critique partners, so I could probably re-download those from the web, but Immortal has CHANGED since then. I'd have to re-edit the entire thing. Go back through it with another fine tooth comb.
This can't be happening.
My house was a destruction zone. It looked like I tested nuclear missles in my living room. (Hello, cheesy Money Pit shout-out.) Seriously. I was ranting and raving, looking under couch cushions (Why, oh-why, would it be there??), and behind my television. I even looked in my dog's bed.
Bailey was scared, hiding beneath the kitchen table with his ears turned down. He was probably waiting for the moment where my head spun around and I vomited green sludge.
But then the Marvelous happened. I found it. My jump drive, nice and safely tucked away in the pages of Notebook for Book3. Because isn't that a perfect place for it? (Oh, my eyes are rolling.)
Anyway, this lost and found and subsequent rant-fest made me think what would happen if I really did lose my jump drive. What if my computer crashed? (I better go back up all those photos NOW.) Or what if the internet crashed, like, permanently? What then?
Heartthrob Ashton Kutcher was recently featured in Men's Fitness magazine. He predicted that the "end of days" is on its way. In order to be prepared for what's to come, he trains in hard-core Krav Maga. He told the magazine:
"It won't take very much, I'm telling you. It will not take much for people to hit the panic button. The amount of convenience that people rely on based on electricity alone. You start taking out electricity and satellites, and people are going to lose their noodle. People don't have maps anymore. People use their iPhones or GPS systems, so if there's no electricity, nobody has maps....And people are going to go, 'That land's not yours, prove that it's yours,' and the only thing you have to prove it's yours is on an electric file. Then it's like, 'What's the value of currency, and whose food is whose?' People's alarm systems at their homes will no longer work. Neither will our heating, our garbage disposals, hot-water heaters that run on gas but depend on electricity - what happens when all our modern conveniences fail?"
Something to think about right?
(NO, I didn't mean think about THAT.)
He may be exaggerating--taking things a tad far for satirical's sake. But we've had day-long power outtages and I see how crazy people get.
The thought alone really made me want to have a hard-copy of everything. Just in case.
But then I found this: an article in the Washington Post (and now, forgive me, I can't find it), that talked about how to make your office completely and uttterly paper-free. The article talked about how to back up pictures on disks. How to scan reports and wanted mail into your computer, then shred the useless paper. How to keep all your important records online--that way (GASP!) they can never be stolen!
I think we're becoming a society consumed by electronic devices and I don't see it getting any better. I'm not complaining. I'm not. I love modern luxury.
But when I lost my jump drive I blew a gasket. I wished I had a hard copy. I wished I'd been smarter.
How do you back-up your manuscript?
PS--I know there's programs online where you can store and "lock" your documents. Anyone know what those are called?