Bad News and Good News

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

I tend to write with herbal tea and the notebook where I keep all my character profiles, sketched maps, and other story notes readily at hand.

As I am sure you have figured out by the title, I have bad news and good news. I have been making fantastic progress the past few weeks, and was beyond psyched at the story just positively flowing out of me as fast as my fingers could type. Yet there was that nagging voice in the back of my head that said, “This is too good to be true. Something is bound to go wrong.” I assumed the voice was just implying that I would lose momentum, as I have many times before. But no. It was far worse.

I was halfway through chapter 5, in the middle of typing a sentence, when my entire document, every word, every page, every number and header and footer, everything, gone. Replaced by page after page of size 14 calibri asterics. I clicked undo. No change. I exited out and opened it again. Nothing. I restarted my laptop. Nothing. I tested other files...totally fine. I checked my temp files, my autorecovered files, I talked to my tech savvy friends, I talked to customer support.

The file I was working on is irretrievable. It is apparently a known bug from previous versions of word, that you can fix with an update.

But I have been using the same laptop for nearly ten years, and updates are no longer compatible with the version I have. In those entire ten years, I never once had an issue with my laptop. Never. I have written countless stories and poems, edited thousands of photos, recorded dozens of songs. It has never failed me until now.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news, which feels meager even to me, is that I have been backing my progress up in a separate file...just not as consistently as I should have, clearly. So the latest version I have saved of my story is from about a month ago, and therefore does not reflect the bulk of the work I have done in recent weeks. But it is something. And I still have my notes and my dialogue sketches, and a damn good memory. So here’s to hoping I can get back on the horse and rewrite those chapters, even better the second time.

I suppose the other dim light at the end of this bad news tunnel is that I am finally buying a new laptop and an updated external hard drive. Clearly, the purchase has been long overdue.

Farewell, 2011 MacBook. You have served me well, but it appears our time together is at an end.

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