If only I’d listened to all of the reminders about the importance of computer back ups.Aggh! My hair might not be so white.

It was late Wednesday afternoon after an intense day of rewrites suggested by my development editor designed to improve my memoir, Bulldogs and Chocolates.  Yes! I did it! My fist pumped the air.   

For the previous couple of days, my word program had been pokey, like it didn’t want to end something so personal and important to me. Please just finish this last part. The only remaining task required a cut and paste to move the final section I’d been working on to the bigger document containing the rest of the manuscript, so I highlighted the section to be moved.  

A touch of the cursor to the correct spot and click. What? NO! NO! NO! What’s going on? My eyes focused on my laptop screen. NO. The entire completed portion of my memoir was gone. In place of it were three paragraphs from the 2500 words I planned to paste there. Using my limited computer skills, I tried to retrieve the missing words. When that didn’t work, I delivered my laptop to the computer store the next morning.

Humiliation at the Computer Store

“I always back up my work in two places on my computer,” said the young technician as he scrolled down the list of my files.

“Yes, I know and I planned to back up the entire thing when I finished this last cut and paste,” I said. “The document is over 85,000 words.”

“Wow! That’s a lot. I’ve only written around 5,,000 words in a college essay,” he said, looking at me as if I had no sense. “We’ll clean it up and see what we can do, but if you didn’t back up somewhere…”

Two years of work, gone in seconds into the black hole of my laptop. I did have the original draft, but the rewrites I’d worked on for the previous three months would need to be redone. Was this a signal that I shouldn’t go forward with this book designed to inspire others to survive a traumatic situation? A few tears slipped down my cheeks.

Twenty-four hours later, my laptop was ready for me to pick up, “Were you able to recover the missing file?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t really know what to look for, but we did all the Windows updates and cleaned up the unnecessary programs,” said a different technician. “You might try leaving the file open and see if any of it will come back.”

“Oh, sure!” I muttered to myself as I drove away from the store. Like that’s ever going to happen. Why hadn’t I backed up my work?

That would be magic!

Even though I felt little hope, when I got home, I placed the laptop on the kitchen counter, turned it on, and opened the file, which showed the same three paragraphs repeated on the following 1000 pages. By evening, the screen blinked on when I touched a key. What’s going on now? A few new words appeared along with the three paragraphs.

The next morning, 90% of my document had emerged. Later in the day, the entire manuscript reappeared, and the three paragraphs disappeared.

With a new respect for backing up important work, I downloaded the entire memoir onto a flash drive. Sometimes magic appears, but computer back ups.Aggh! Even if it takes a few seconds, they’re better than magic.

How about it? How often do you back up your computer work?

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