I’ve done NaNoWriMo for the past four years in a row because I love the challenge of it. While I’m not competing for a physical prize (though you do get a couple of treats for completing the challenge), feeling like I’m racing against the other participants is great motivation for me. I don’t think I would be remiss in saying that I’ve been known to write more during NaNoWriMo than during the rest of the year combined.
But aside from the challenge, the motivation, the little treats at the end, and the overall fun of the event, there is one majorly important thing that NaNoWriMo does for me each year. That is, it reminds me to back up my damn writing. Along with regular gentle reminders from the people behind NaNoWriMo as well as fellow writers on the forums, we also celebrate “National Back Up Your Novel Day” on November 15th. The constant theme of throughout the entire month is “For the love of God, don’t lose your novel!!!”
It was this theme that I was thinking of this morning when I opened up my zombie novel to plunk out a few words, and found myself confronted with a window that claimed my file needed to be “recovered”. I’d never seen that window before…I’ve been using Open Office for a little while now and had never had an issue with it before. The window was nothing like anything I’d seen in any other program when files crash or become corrupted. It simply showed my file’s name, stated that recovery had not yet begun, and gave me the options of attempting recovery, or closing the program. I just about had a heart attack. After a quick mental calculation I estimated that my last real backup was approximately 14,000 words ago. 14,000 words that I’m confident I would not be able to recreate with any semblance of similarity. For those of you who are trying to picture 14,000 words right now, only know that it took me about three months to write.
It was with a violently thrumming heart that I hit the “attempt recovery” button. My daughter could probably feel the anxiousness from all the way over on the couch where she was watching Sesame Street. Thankfully, a few moments later the window announced that my file was “Recovered!” and I breathed a sigh of relief. If any other outcome had occurred, this post would be nothing but page-long list of every profanity and expletive I could think of.
So what I’m trying to say, what I’m getting at here, is to back up your work. Whether it be writing, art of some kind, power point presentations, or whatever-the-hell, just make sure you keep it backed up!
Today’s Public Service Announcement was brought to you by Tracey’s mini-heart-attack/aneurism.