Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why losing work really sucks as a writer

So we’ve all been there. The computer screen flashes and dies, taking the last two hours of work with it. Or maybe it just didn’t save properly. You reopen your file and it’s missing a huge chunk of data. If your going really old school, a drink spill could mean that chapter 5 is gone forever, along with half of your scribbled outline.

Why am I talking about every writers bogeysituation? It’s happened twice to me in the last week. One was a major set of edits where the file got corrupted. Don’t ask me how, my computer knowledge is not that intense. Since that one was fixable (backup files!) it wasn’t too stressful. It was the smaller one that became a problem, since that’s information I can never get back. Over the course of my vacation I tried working on the outline for my WIP. I actually had a ton of success, especially during the long drives where I had little to do but stare out a window. Sadly it all evaporated by the time I got back. I opened the files to discover that it was to my last save point before I left. It’s my own fault in that case, as it often is, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

This has happened to me before. In my freshman year of college I tried to start a new novel. I was writing feverishly and got to thousands of words before my computer spontaneously died at two o’clock in the morning. Yes, I’d forgotten to save. When I rebooted the fledgling novel was gone. I didn’t write creatively again that year.

And that’s the rub. It’s not just that I lost work. For me, for whatever reason, I can’t always pick up where I left off again. The creative spark goes down with the file. I try to avoid the whole Muse thing so I’ll try to keep this ‘logical’. I write off momentum. The more momentum I have, the better off I am as a writer. I can get slowed down by a lot of things, but the only thing that can truly stop me in my tracks is losing work. And there is this part of me that feels like something has died. I could see the way this story was supposed to go, and now I’ve lost it. It’s bitter and heartbreaking.

I haven’t written on The Demon’s Daughter since I got home, or much of anything else either. I know I won’t abandon it- my college novel was an extreme case. But I don’t know how long it will take me to be willing to put my heart back in it again.

1 comment:

  1. I HATE losing work. There's nothing more depressing. I'm super paranoid about it and I not only save my work all the time, but I email it to myself too. Still, it's happened before. Sorry it happened to you!