Can there be any worse nightmare for a writer than having your laptop die?
To be fair, it had been giving me hints. “I’m injured,” it said. “I wrote a novel, I edited a novel, I spent hours on the internet while you uploaded and downloaded. And did you honour me for this? No. You dropped me, instead, onto the cement floor of the garage. My hard drive has concussion, and likely brain damage.” (I actually dropped the bicycle saddlebag that held the laptop, but that’s splitting hairs.)
I heeded the warnings. I ran diagnostics and fixes; I did a clean reload of Windows; I removed every last unneeded program and app. It held on, let me back it up one last time…..and then it died.
“I’m ok,” I thought. “I backed it up to my external hard drive.” I bought a new laptop, set it up, plugged in the hard drive to retrieve a file. It wasn’t there.
Nor was the next one I tried. The back-up had failed. I tried not to panic. The manuscripts to both previous novels were uploaded to both the e-book production software, and to the print-on-demand site, so those were ok. My short stories and poetry were on the external hard drive. But my research for book III, and the beginnings of Chapter 1 of that book (and a bunch of other non-writing files) just weren’t there.
With fingers and toes crossed, and a silent prayer to the writing gods, I plugged the old laptop in again and booted it. It woke up, slowly, like an old tortoise emerging from hibernation. It groaned and hummed-and-hawed and blinked, but eventually it let me access File Explorer, and then after another interminable wait the Documents folder. I plugged in the external hard drive, and began to drag each folder across. Each one took minutes: one, close to an hour. But after a very long afternoon, I had all my files copied.
I said nice things to the old laptop, and then I let it go back to computer oblivion. After another chunk of time, all those files exist in three places: my external hard drive, my new laptop, and the cloud, and the auto-synch is set. Now, if I can just get my fingers used to the slightly-different keyboard layout, I can get back to writing!