Friday 17 October 2014

A Crocodile Eats Your Laptop

Signs of a problem: crocodile licking his lips; a few shards of laptop remain on the riverbank.

The symptoms: despair; self-criticism; frustration.

One of the biggest frustrations known to authorkind is loss of work. We’ve all been there – so engrossed in what we’re writing that we fail to take adequate precautions in the backup department. Then, the next thing we know, a computer malfunction has gobbled up our precious manuscript, and no amount of stamping and screaming will bring it back.

Yes, neglecting to make adequate backups is a common problem. However, though some file loss situations are unfortunate, others are plain stupid.

What on earth were you thinking when you left the only copy of your work on the edge of a crocodile-infested river? You’re a writer for heaven’s sake! Surely you could see foresee the inevitable conflict created by mixing ‘important manuscript’ and ‘large snappy reptile’.

Still, there’s no point having regrets. Once your laptop is in the belly of a man-eating beast, it’s best to focus on practical solutions.

Stage 1: accept that the laptop is gone. This is a crucial step that could save your life. Do not, whatever you do, attempt to retrieve any part of your laptop, even if you think you can see your hard drive spinning on the croc’s tongue. Similarly, you must not try to capture the crocodile. Yes, crocodiles have been captured by humans, but self-published authors are hardly known for their beast-netting capabilities.

Stage 2: vow to back up your work religiously from now on.

Stage 3: write down anything you can remember from the manuscript before you forget it. This could take some time so make sure that you are some distance away from the swamp before you take out your pen and paper.

Stage 4: use the experience to inspire an action and adventure thriller about a man who narrowly escapes getting eaten by a crocodile.

Stage 5: check that your spouse is okay.

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