Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't try this at home

On the season finale for Vampire Diaries last week, Damon (Ian Somderhalder) almost died, which, for a vampire is rather "final."

I almost died this weekend, too.

Physically, I'm doing much better than Damon, who barely escaped a fire that would have turned his (awesome) undead body to ash. But mentally? I admit it was a rough couple of days.

Let me explain.

I'm a deadline girl. Always have been. And so it should surprise no one who understands me that I'm *on* deadline for a couple of projects. Like my book. I'd been working diligently on final edits, tweaking every sentence, flushing out the text (indeed, adding an extra 15,000 words). I had planned to complete the document this past weekend and celebrate by attending the carnival with my family.

I'm also on deadline at work. Our year is up, and the audit was to take place this past weekend as well. Since I often work on my book during my lunch hour, I thought it best to erase all personal files from the work computer. I used the *find* function, surprised to see so many word docs with my writing on them. And so, I deleted them. Then deleted them again. And for added measure, I called our work tech guys and REALLY deleted them.

Which would have been responsible had the *find* function not also been scanning documents saved on my USB.

And had my USB not been the only place I'd saved the revised copy of my book - and pretty much everything I've ever written. (Including Jack of Hearts, the first book I wrote - I was 16.)

I'm not going to lie. I broke down and cried. Then beat myself up for a few hours. And then called my friend Ashley, who is a tech God. Rather than shame me (as others had been), he immediately drove to my house and retrieved the now-empty USB, offering some hope that the files contained on it could be recovered.

Sadly, some were. But not all, and certainly not the two of most import.

Kill me now.

But like Damon, I did not die. After his near-death experience, my hunky muse (in the past and most definitely this week) rose from the fire with a new perspective on life. Lessons learned and all that jazz. I'll have to wait until next season to see how long he lasts in this new role as "good guy" (and given my pension for bad boys whether I'll still swoon when I see him...), but until September, I figure he has some time to devote as my muse.

And let's be honest. I really need him. More than Elena does, that's for sure.

He began his new job on Saturday. In addition to letting me cry on his shoulder (wait, no, that was handsome husband...), he's helped me assess what needs to be done. I'm recreating a new version of the book (after much groveling and sniveling) based on the last version I saved somewhere other than on my USB. So far, it's going well-ish.

Perhaps more important than the craft and technical help, though, is that my muse whispers a lot in my ear. Not the kind of sweet nothings I'd love to hear from him, but something equally as spine-tingling: Back up your files. Every day.

Yeah, he's helpful like that.

P.S. Have you entered my first contest yet? Deadline is Friday.

The Book In My Bag Today: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larrson


  1. oh. my. guinness.

    i can only imagine it must of felt like something was ripped from inside you when you realized what had happened.

    i am guilty of not backing up my files often enough as well.

    i'm just thankful your muse put his halo on and helped you through this.

    oi. i shudder just at the thought of it!

  2. Megs - Oh, yes... Sigh

    Mi - this week's muse has done an incredible job at calming me down. But seriously, I'm dying. Even writing about it wasn't as calming as I'd hoped. Just reminded me of what a dimwit I am!

  3. Your post is every writer's worst nightmare. I re-read it several times because I didn't want to believe it was true.

    You are handling it very well. VERY positively. Seriously amazing. I admire your calm.

    I'm going to go back up now.

  4. OMG, I'm wincing for you. That HURTS! Are there any back-up tapes at work that might have something on them you could retrieve?

  5. Suzanne - when my husband reads your comment, he's going to call my bluff. I am better today, but I was a wreck this weekend. I cried a lot. Screamed a little. Ok, a lot. BUT, I've learned, that's for sure. Yes, DO back up ;-)

  6. Thanks MissV. Believe me, I've exhausted all "potential" recovery options. The files were never actually ON my hard drive because I always worked from the USB, because I'm that smart. Doh.

  7. PLEASE don't be so hard on yourself Dawn.
    This has happened before to other writers too. I've actually heard of it.
    And writer's all over the world quake in fear of it happening to THEM.
    You just did a boo-boo. Albeit a big one, but we will bounce back from this. Stuff happens for a reason. Who knows? There might be a bigger lesson to learn from this.
    Did you know that Before 'American Idiot' came out Green Day's original master tapes were stolen? They had to start from scratch too, and look what happened. Their best selling album to date, and it was genius.
    Chin up my friend, someday you and I will be vacationing in Maui laughing our asses off about this on the beach while we celebrate our best-sellers with champagne.

  8. Seriously Donna, there are many reasons I love you. You just added another one. Thanks for the support - and for not laughing at me. You always manage to inspire and make me smile. xo

  9. Holy Doo-doo!! Bless your heart!! This is one of my worst nightmares and I've done it with schoolwork and research papers but Oh. My. Goodness. Not your book! I would have cried too but I'm glad to hear you're still doing what's necessary to move forward!!And maybe, in some kind of mysterious serendipity way, it will be better because of it?! Hang in there!! Big hug for you!

  10. I feel for you - I can't (and don't) want to imagine how that must feel.

    Glad to see it didn't kill you :) Take what you have now, and make it work. You can do it!

  11. SS, Thank you. I think writing about it helped, actually. But then, I should have known that. LOL And I agree...maybe it WILL produce better work in the end :-) Hugs back.

  12. Thanks Jaydee. Loved your post today, btw.

  13. Oh MAN! I'm so sorry, I think we all know how much mourning it takes to get over something like that. I'm glad that your muse is rising from the ashes. Did you ever send an email version to anyone?

  14. CQG - Thanks! Sigh. The day before the incident, my friend Rocky begged me for a copy and I said: Give me one more day. I just need to take this over the finish line and then it's all yours...because he's read each draft and I wanted him to see the FINAL version. I should have not been so picky :-)

  15. OMG! nothing more to say but OMG! A lesson for all of us!

  16. Jan - I said many other words than OMG, I assure you :-)

  17. OMG is right! You are a stronger person than I am, that's for sure! I am not sure that there is enough alcohol and drugs on the planet to calm me down if that happened to me.

    Last year I had a computer die on me. Luckily, I backed up the really important stuff before it did, but I don't back up often enough either. This is indeed a cautionary tale for all of us!

    And a supper big {{HUG}} to you, Dawn!

  18. Awww. Thanks Glinda. I admit to polishing off a bottle of whiskey this past weekend ;-) Sorry for late reply - afain. I just saw this... My email service appears broken. Grrr.