Community Service Announcement

I experienced a moment of sheer panty-soiling horror a few nights ago. And since xmas decorations are already up in the grocery store, I’m going to get into the festive spirit and share. Note that some details might be embellished to cast my starving artiste lifestyle in a better light, but you’ll get the drift.

I sat down at my calf-leather armoire beside my reconditioned Edwardian fireplace*, booted up my Macbook and went looking for the sequel to STORMDANCER, which a few of you droogies might know I’ve spent the best part of a year writing. However, Mr Macbook couldn’t find it.

“Strange,” said I, sipping from my snifter of brandy and raising an eyebrow at my faithful hound.**

Dropping back to the desktop, I did the double-clickeroo and journeyed to the folder that contains my sequel. Inside it, I found a series of documents of indeterminate file type, labelled with names like ‘KJBNEUFN’ and ‘G@&JDNXC’. And in that moment, I realized the entire sequel folder and everything inside it had become corrupted. Only the Macgod knows how. It was only that single folder. But the entire sequel had flipped out and been eaten by gremlins. Every draft. All my notes. My diary of a madman scribbles about where the trilogy was headed. Everything.

A year’s work. My baby. Bam. Gone.

“Well,” said I. “That’s a spot of bother.”***

Right before cardiac arrest kicked in, I remembered that a good droogie of mine had turned me onto a program called ‘Dropbox’ a couple of months earlier. And, astonishingly, I had actually been using it to store my sequel as I worked. Diving into the dropbox, I found my baby there, whole and unsoiled (minus about 5 minutes work that I hadn’t saved) and I managed to peel myself off the ceiling. It was all good. Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I would not be forced to ritually disembowel myself with the TV remote.

How I laughed….

After I’d mopped up the vomit, I got thinking about how capital-B bad this could have actually been. Typically, I’ve been pretty ordinary about backing up files – it’s only really fluke that I’d been keeping that folder updated in an online storage space. But if I hadn’t been backing my work up on a regular basis… I don’t even want to think about how badly that would have gone for all concerned.

So, my droogs, I know there are a couple of you out there like me. I know you might let your disaster management routines slide from time to time. But I tell you now, I implore you; BACK IT THE FUCK UP.

Have your words living and up to date in THREE separate locations:

  1. Sitting on some kind of physical storage device that never leaves your person.
  2. Emailed to yourself.
  3. Floating in some kind of online storage space. Here’s a couple of good free ones (if people know of others, suggestions welcome):
    1. Dropbox.
    2. Humyo.
    3. Box.
    4. 4shared.
    5. Snapdrive

Doesn’t take a lot of effort. Maybe 3 minutes at the end of each writing session. Save it. Update the online version. Mail it yourself. Done. But those three minutes can save you some serious pain.

Think of the babies, peoples. Don’t let the gremlins get ’em.

*Slouched on faux-suede couch in my sweat pants and an old Coal Chamber t-shirt

**”Da fuck?” I said, kicking the dog off my lap.

*** “Oh my fucking god,” I said. “OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYFUCKINGGOD.”

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About Misterkristoff

New York Times and Internationally Bestselling SciFi/Fantasy author, and master of drunken karaoke-fu. View all posts by Misterkristoff

17 responses to “Community Service Announcement

  • Damien Kelly

    I’m afraid I can’t agree with this post, sorry.

    An armoire is a wardrobe.

    It’s a shame, really—the stuff about backing up was utterly spot on and might have otherwise been a really important reminder.

    You peasant ruffian.

    • misterkristoff

      Dude, an armoire is a fancy writing desk for dirty frenchmen!

      Though I guess I should’ve said ‘at’ not ‘in’. Pro-writer, me. But it’s midnight here in civilized lands south of the Wall.

  • Damien Kelly

    Well, had you meant an armoire desk you might have so qualified. No doubt you think it perfectly acceptable to just indicate a ‘Stradivarius’ without distinguishing violin from the viola, cello or guitar. Or point merely to the stick up my ass, with never a word of its knotted pineyness.

  • Kim Miller Brown

    This post almost had me peeing in my pants. You are so freakin’ hilarious.

  • Lenore Appelhans

    I am so paranoid about this that I save my work on my USB stick, both laptops and e-mail it to myself. Thanks for giving a few options for a 5th place to save. And also, soooo happy you didn’t lose all your fine work.

  • Fiona Paul

    I just got the old blue screen o’ death today for the first time. Do you get those on Macs? It basically means ‘Your computer may or may not ever restart.’ I literally have ‘Back up’ written on my hand so I don’t forget when I get home.

    Timely, timely post. Nice monkey too.

    • misterkristoff

      No blue screen of death. I used to get a little sad face on my old iMac, but the Macbbook has only frozen on me twice in three years. She’s a solid beastie. Writing on the hand is a good idea! I used to start every writing session by making a sticky note on my desktop that said the same thing. Once you get into the habit though, it’s all good.

      Scared Monkey is very cute. Although part of me wonders what they were doing on the other side of that camera to make him look so scared 😛

  • Roni

    6. Pagebouy.

    No worries Judd, anytime 😉

  • No hope for Thoraiya and other writerly stuff « Vampires in the Sunburnt Country

    […] me thinking that, hm, yes, I really must investigate this Dropbox thing, or something similar. Read these words and tremble in shared terror: …the entire sequel had flipped out and been eaten by gremlins. […]

  • pomadness

    Woa!!!! My worst nightmare right there! I’m checking dropbox right NOW!
    Oh this is Clara by the way, I decided to join wordpress (yay!)

    But holly cheesus, I swear to you Jay, I sweated cold as I read this post.

    • misterkristoff

      Hey Clara 😀 WordPress is pretty good tbh. Bangs the hell out of any other blog platform I’ve used.

      Yeah, it was bad. Not anywhere near as bad as it could have been, but I figure i lost about 6 months off my lifespan in that split-second of panic before I remembered the back-ups 0.o

  • Red Hot Pepper

    Another great option I use is an automated external hard disc, that keeps 2 copies for me without me doing anything (periodically check it’s working though). I use a Western Digital with a capacity meter so I know when to upgrade and use the current as an additional point-in-time backup (offsite). Under $100.

    More costly but with stacks more features is a NAS. I use a great little unit by Buffalo, setup with ‘mirrored’ discs in case of hardware failure. It interfaces with my Android tablet as well and has an access anywhere option though a web browser. About $400.

    To think 2 years ago I never had a backup plan…

    So glad you didn’t lose your masterpiece, tough luck about the shortened lifespan.

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