The first time it happened was a regular Saturday morning. I was sitting down to write at my kitchen table in the middle of chaos. The baby had been up three times that night (and would continue this pattern for a few more years). I was beyond tired. I was “new mother with a three-year-old-tired," which equals pretty freaking exhausted, as anyone with kids will attest to.
I poured myself a giant mug of coffee, sat down and began to write. Then, I’m still not quite sure how it happened, I knocked over the cup, spilling half a pot’s worth of coffee onto my new laptop.
Panicking, and swearing profusely which I am prone to do, I mopped it up as best I could. But the damage was done and the screen went black. For some reason (it was on the internet?), I decided to cover my computer with a couple of bags of rice. (Apparently, there are people who have success with this and their cell phones? Yeaaah, didn’t work for me.)
I called my friend Sergei, computer whiz extraordinaire, and he offered to take a look. The shop by my house was going to be a few days wait anyway. He took it apart to dry it out, picking out several coffee-soaked grains of rice. Sergei did his best but proclaimed new parts were necessary (he’s a PC guy). I took it in to get repaired and $350 later I had my laptop back, luckily with all data intact. But I learned my lesson and bought an external hard drive.
But I didn’t really learn my lesson. I would go MONTHS without backing my stuff up. I am not sure what my resistance was/is. Laziness? Not wanting to deal? Not being comfortable using the technology?
Cut to last month. I’m trying to finish the edits for one book while writing another and was considering prepping some posts for all you lovelies. This time there were no liquids involved. There was no warning. I was typing away and the computer just went dark. Poof. Work in Progress gone (along with everything else written over the past eight months).
Trying to remain calm, I took the laptop into my local repair shop, who I’ve gotten to know pretty well over the last few years. They said it was going to cost as much to repair it as it would to buy a new computer. Again, I hadn’t backed things up in months.
But also again, luckily, the data was salvaged. It now resides on my external hard drive. I couldn’t bring myself to buy another Mac when all I really use is Word and so I bought a PC. It’s been a month and I still haven’t managed to find the time to get it transferred onto my new laptop. The computer technician emailed me the two critical documents I needed and I haven’t stopped to breathe since then.
The reason I’m writing this post is to serve as a cautionary tale. If you are like me (maybe no-one else is this silly?) and have valuable information/work/photos on your computer, make sure to BACK IT UP. Frequently. You never know when something is going to happen...
As it's my birthday today I wanted to gift you with this pretty obvious, common-sense friendly reminder to save your work in multiple locations.
The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.
Alisha Sevigny is the author of YA novels, Summer Constellations, (winner of CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2018), and Kissing Frogs. Her historical adventure series, Secrets of the Sands, launches January 2020 with The Lost Scroll of the Physician. She holds a degree in professional writing and sociology from the University of Victoria, is a film school graduate, former literary agent, hot yoga lover and avid traveller. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she lives in Toronto with her family. You can follow her on social media @alishasevigny.