Blackouts and backups

It never fails to fail.

Technology, that is. In 2016, I was writing on a laptop during and after the move, because until things were settled it had the most up to date files for several projects. At the time, I backed them up periodically, as progress was made. This became my practice after losing a large portion of a draft in a hard drive failure about eight years before. For the most part, I’ve kept up with this fairly consistently. There have been a couple of times recently where I failed to backup the most recent fits of progress at the worst possible moments. Murphy’s Law in action, I suppose.

The laptop became stuck in an update loop. It would power on, but the screen remained black. This went on for a while. At some point while trying to get it to come back to life, I realized that I might not have saved some of my work and checked my desktop computer, and my thumb drives, and my cloud storage. I found that several of my most recent poems and some other writing might have just vanished into the nether. One of the poems that will be published this spring was among them. It was still fresh in my mind, and I attempted to recreate it in case none of the original files were recoverable. Long story short, the original version of “Gathering Darkness” was recovered and that is what will be appearing in the magazine in a few months. It’s a good thing, too. My stab at recreating it after the moment of inspiration had passed came nowhere near the same quality.

If past is prologue, this entire process may repeat. Now it’s the desktop that has gone into a coma after an update. So I’m working on an old PC that is still running Windows 7. Much like the time I lost the poems, this has led to about a chapter’s worth of setback. As before, I’ve reconstructed what was lost. In the case of the novel, it may have become better than it was. It wasn’t until I had written just past where I had left off that I remembered how I’d done it previously. If that other computer wakes up someday and the old version is recovered, I’m betting on the second scene being the best of the two.

Either way, even if there is a recovery, there is some time lost. The novel won’t be finished until after the new year. It is close, but no cigar. I’m focusing on the positive–that it will be done soon–& it will be one of two books submitted in 2018. Technical difficulties notwithstanding.



About Peter Newland

Dad. Writer. Personal Trainer. Martial artist. Instructor.

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