Sometimes writers forget to back up their work

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

Cynical book reviewers often suggest some books are best eaten by dogs, used as doorstops and fireplace kindling, or lost in computer crashes. Sometimes they’re right.

SOFcover2014Since the writing that writers write is more often than not sitting in a DOC file on a computer’s hard drive, you’d think we’d backup our work every night with the same diligence that we run the dishwasher, turn off the lights and lock the front door.

Flash drives that hold zillions of words make that so easy to do. But suppose somebody–possibly me–was really on a roll while writing a comedy mystery about a reporter looking for a race horse on a new computer. (Actually, Jock was looking for the horse at a racetrack and an abandoned farm.)

So, this writer writes way past the ending of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire and before he knows what’s happening, he’s 30% into the sequel to be called Jock Stewart and the Bambi Diaries.

He copies the words belonging to the first novel into another file and sends it to the publisher. He hasn’t backed anything up yet be cause the computer is relatively new. While the publisher looks at the sea of fire book, he adds more to the Bambi diaries book.

Then the relatively new computer has a head crash. No software on the face of the earth is able to retrieve the document holding the sequel to Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.

I was so deep into the continuing story that I never took the five minutes necessary to insert a flash drive and backup the sequel. And, I never was able to get back in the groove enough to re-create it.

So now, everything is backed up a hundred ways to Sunday even if it’s a Tuesday. There may be a lesson here, but I’m thinking it’s probably too obvious to point out.


While Malcolm R. Campbell did not become the author of “Jock Stewart and the Bambi Diaries,” he did write other stuff before the computer ate it.

6 thoughts on “Sometimes writers forget to back up their work

  1. clinton ferrara

    A long time ago a message from Microsoft popped up telling me I should install the included service pack ll. It also said I should back up my stuff before going any further. Na, didn’t do it. Same obvious lesson here.

  2. that’s my worst nignhtmare. I have an external drive that all my “stuff” is on, when I got a new laptop, I prayed that all my files would transfer to the new computer, both on the hard drive and the external. I still can’t find one little story that I’ll probably have to re-create, though. Have looked everywhere, but I’m afraid it was lost in translation, lol.

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