The Cruellest Blow!

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Yesterday, fate dealt me a nasty blow, literally knocking me for six. My stomach hit the floor with such a thump, I swear they heard it miles away.

I had finished some routine paperwork and wanted to work on my WIP, Lazy Days, so I slid the relevant USB (I call them sticks) into the port and tried to open the file. The message was chillingly clear. “Unable to open File”.

Undeterred, I tried again, knowing these things can happen and it would be fine this time.

Only it wasn’t.

I investigated further, unable to believe what I was seeing. Of all the 30 files on this USB, the one I wanted was apparently corrupt and gone forever. Weeks of work on Lazy Days had just gone up in a virtual puff of smoke.

I didn’t know what to do, or if there was anything I could do. I checked everywhere I could think of, but I had no other copy. I don’t usually back up a WIP, which I had just discovered was a grave mistake. There is usually a copy saved by Word, but this turned out to be corrupt too.

I was torn between wanting to howl like a dog, losing my considerable temper or just sobbing my heart out. It was only the stubborn thought that there just had to be a copy somewhere, that kept me from losing it, big time.

Then I remembered something. I had sent copies to our beta readers.  Would I be able to retrieve a copy from one of their emails? Turns out, I could, but all the work I had done since then would have to be done again. What made it worse, I think, is that I was so close to finishing Lazy Days.

The lesson I learned was an important one.  I think this happened because I was getting a little complacent with my USB’s. I have quite a lot of them, and they are invaluable for backing up everything we do. They are so simple to use and hold a vast amount of data.

I hadn’t been treating them with the respect they deserve. Sometimes I would just remove them without going through the procedure. Nothing bad ever happened when I did, so I assumed (wrongly) that it didn’t matter. But apparently, this is the major cause of USB failure.

I guess I won’t be doing that again!

23 thoughts on “The Cruellest Blow!

  1. Oh, no – but at least it wasn’t all lost. I use Dropbox as well as sticks. It’s easy and safe – they could restore all my files even after a malware attack a year or two ago. Hope you get back to where you were soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch! … that’s gotta hurt! … thankfully (and hopefully) this is the one lesson we only have to learn once. I lost a good third of a novel a decade or two ago, and now I back up everything at the end of the day, including a hard copy at the end of each project.

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  3. Then there’s Dropbox, a free (up to a point) cloud-based storage service. It can be used to share documents too.
    Something like that happened to me with my first novel. I was using floppy disks (in 2001, this was). I had my handwritten ms, but of course I hadn’t just transcribed it, but made changes as I typed it into Word. I reconstructed the lost text from the ms and memory, but for years I felt the lost material just had to be better.

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  4. Whenever I have an important file and edit it, I create two new copies in the format filenameDateAA, and filenameDateBB. I write the date in the form: 02Sept17, for easy memory. So, a complete file name might be – TuesBlog02Sept17AA.

    I then email both files to myself, in separate emails, with the file name in the header so that I can find it with a Google search. I use Gmail, which helps with finding things, when you have thousands of ‘things’!

    USB failure proof, as long as you di it often for vital files!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whenever I have an important file and edit it, I create two new copies in the format filenameDateAA, and filenameDateBB. I write the date in the form: 02Sept17, for easy memory. So, a complete file name might be – TuesBlog02Sept17AA.

    I then email both files to myself, in separate emails, with the file name in the header so that I can find it with a Google search. I use Gmail, which helps with finding things, when you have thousands of ‘things’!

    USB failure proof, as long as you di it often for vital files!

    I then send r ew

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I lost a lot when my PC died… and thank all the gods for the wizard who retrieved most of it. That was in spite of backing everything up…as it died during a full back-up and lost pretty much everything. Back up online and off, just to be sure… and back-up your blog too!

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