One of those ‘I’ve lost everything’ moments

From guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing

I was doing some copy-editing a week ago, an urgent job for a new client, when Word froze on me in a new and interesting way (just when you think you’ve seen all the circles of hell…).

I tried all the usual things I could think of, but had to crash out of it. I lost 20 pages of work and was frantic! Until I remembered I’d installed a fancy new  back-up system that takes a snapshot of my work every hour – and I could track back and catch it just before the crash. Back up your work! Get help from a techie friend if you need one.

Share your ‘I lost everything’ horror stories here to compel us all to get our acts together.

Yours, Cressida



Filed under Writing Advice

4 responses to “One of those ‘I’ve lost everything’ moments

  1. paullamb

    I had a complete hard drive failure last summer, and along with lots of notes, I lost two chapters of the novel I was working on. Utterly lost. I had to rewrite them, which was not pleasant work.

    I now have an automated back up system to my wireless router, and I’m much more conscientious about making manual back ups to a zip drive that I then load onto another computer.

  2. I wrote a twelve-thousand word final essay for my Fine Art degree and asked my mother to proofread it on screen. I’d never backed it up on disk because I hadn’t got any disks at the time – a stupid reason if ever there was one. Mum read it, corrected some typos, suggested a couple of clarifications – and then deleted the whole thing. Not into the wastebasket – total deletion. It took a lot of hard work with some fancy software from Norton (illicitly downloaded, I found out later) and several days of bloody hard work to retrieve an earlier draft of the text, in pieces, and tidy it up fit for submission. I learned my lesson – always save regularly, always back up everything you do on a computer, and never ask your mum to proofread unless you have done both first!

  3. lawrenceez

    I’ve had the odd file become corrupt over the years, but I’m now extremely careful to back up everything. Here’s what I do. Save to a floppy disk regularly. Save to a second disk at the end of most sessions. Transfer the manuscript to a USB stick and ancient laptop once or twice a week. Send all the files to each of my four email addresses. I also work with multiple folders – for instance, I always keep back dated copies of the work in certain folders in case of disaster. (Nearly had one recently when I realised I didn’t have a proper copy of the mss I’d resubmitted!)

  4. Shankut Somaiya

    Computer Crash always looms in my mind. A year ago I bought a beautiful, faster desktop with all the sophisticated software.
    I used Mac word processor called ‘Pages’. Wrote about 12,000 words and was distracted by a phone call.
    On return to the computer, someone had unplugged it from the mains, and guess what! Lost all my work. The first thing I did was try to find if there was any auto backup, and to my horror, no auto backups. Apparently, Page does not have this facility. (I am using Page 09, the latest version). Since then I have bought a software that does an automatic backup every half an hour.

    Be aware, Mac is a lovely slick computer but this facility was not available, I can’t comprehend, why?