I could have freaked out more, but I think I held it together reasonably well considering the circumstances. I sent my current edit-in-progress to my Kindle Fire as a document so I could read through it one more time before I sent it out to my beta readers. I find it helpful to read it in a different format than on the computer or printed out, as I notice things when the words are arranged in front of me in a slightly different way.
I had been making ample notes and highlights within the document on my Kindle, intending to get all the way through it before I typed them all up, to maintain the “flow” of the story. Then my Kindle did something it’s never done: it deleted all of my notes and highlights from the document. There is no mass “delete” button as far as I know – you have to go through and delete each note and highlight individually if you want them removed – but somehow, I managed to pull up my document completely devoid of all the notes I’d been making.
I was able to recover about half of the notes, so it wasn’t a total waste of time. I thought it had been more, but after going through it page by page, I saw it was only the first three chapters’ worth. And, fortunately, I have extremely good recall when it comes to things I’ve written/read before, so I was able to remember a lot of the other notes that I made that I wasn’t able to recover, but still, it was very frustrating and disappointing to lose so much work and not being able to get it back.
I had no idea there was a way to back those notes up, so I hadn’t been doing so. Now, because I still don’t know what I may have accidentally done to cause the notes to disappear in the first place, I’m hesitant to return to reading and making notes on my Kindle, in case this happens again, even though I know now how to back up those particular sets of files.
I’d like to say, lesson learned, you can’t always count on your technology, but I don’t think I can say that honestly. I’m still going to keep using technology, though maybe not in this particular case, and probably without much thought for the potential failures it might have.
I think most writers, or even students, know what it’s like to lose pages, notes, or entire files that we’ve spent hours, days, or sometimes months working on, and yet, we still come back to the same technology. Sometimes out of necessity, and most of the time with a better understanding of how to protect our work and avoid such losses in the future, but still, we keep relying on it, and keep trusting it to work the way it’s supposed to.
When stuff like this happens, it makes me miss the days when I did all my writing by hand. Pen and paper isn’t foolproof, either, it can get lost, tossed, spilled on, and plenty of other things, but it still feels more secure than technology sometimes.
What do you do when your technology fails? How do you react? How do you recover? (Apologies for such a morose post, but it’s been one of those weeks/stretches where shit like this seems to keep coming at me.)
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