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What happens when your computer dies? April 15, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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You hear all the people saying – back up everything! And, sure, I do. I have a Dropbox for my creative work. But everything else? Hmmm. well, I copied my copy writing to an external hard drive. And i moved some pictures and stuff across. My Steam account saves all the games I’ve bought so I can download them again if I need.

But during the last week, I have had major computer issues which makes me realise just how much I SHOULD have backed up. My hard drive was failing. I thought it may have been memory, in that any web browser I had open would stop for a while and say- not responding. Same too with my email. Games had to be played in the lowest resolution. But then an IT friend told me this was due to the computer trying to access the FAT tables and not being able to? Or something? And that the hard drive was on its last legs.

Sure enough, the day after, Easter Friday, the computer failed to boot up and found many sectors unreadable. Thankfully it was still under warranty, so I had a new hard drive installed free of charge, but not until the Tuesday afterwards. As I said above, I had my creative work backed up, and I saved my copy writing work, and some images. But what did I lose? ALL of my emails. All of my photos and assorted imagery which I didn’t move across. The photos are a big loss. I just forgot to back them up. 😦 I lost all my collected book marks, so blogs and writing sites, copy writing inspiration sites and the like, all gone.

And no, they could not recover any data.

And then, round two of my bad luck? While re-installing Open Office, web browsers and email software, I completely forgot about anti-virus. I had some installed and running prior to the crash, and it never occurred to me that a new hard drive would mean no anti-virus! I bet you can see where this is going. I followed a Google link to the forums of my Roller Derby League, and suddenly messages were popping up telling me I had a virus, and a very infected computer and I NEEDED to install this anti-virus software! Every time I tried to launch a program, it was stopped and I was told- everything is infected!

Tried as I might, I couldn’t not clean the computer. So, I had to ring my IT support friend. He laughed at me, mocked me a little bit, which, granted, I guess I deserved. But the computer was cleaned, and I was off again. And now I have anti-virus stuff installed and running.

But my writing? Stalled. I am back into it now, but yeah, stalled.

But it was also stalled for another reason. I reached a very important conversation in my book. Someone from the city has found our heroes in the wild frontier and wants to bring them back with him. This conversation has more weight behind it now than it did in the original version, since how our heroes escaped the second time was a lot more violent. It has left the city on the verge of war. But, three times i tried to make this conversation work for me, and it just wasn’t. So, I am moving beyond it, writing the next part of the book, which is simple enough, up to the dramatic final ending. And then I will come back and work on that one scene, even get my new editor in to help suggest ways to make it work.

I am a very chronological writer. I like to know the ideas, the points in my book I have to join up to make the overall picture, and write to those points. I am not one to write all the good bits and then fill in the gaps with stuff. You have to earn the fun bits, I believe. So, this is a new thing for me, to write knowing something behind me is left undone.

On the professional front, I am in a rut. I am trying to create avenues to work and struggling. How to get yourself out to the world to say – I can write for you! Networking? Yeah, doing that. I am constructing a newsletter and asking people to sign up. Not yet though, but soon.

So, my writing challenges this week? Finish writing my novel and get it to my new editor. Get the bones of my pending newsletter, AND get a paid writing gig. I read somewhere that copy writing clients are better than gigs, because they provide ongoing work. I am working on that, but I plan, by the end of this week, to have at least one copy writing job which I will be doing.

And I plan to find some writing websites and blogs and book mark them. Just saying 😉

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