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Losing Work And Starting Over

Comicality

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It is, quite possibly, the WORST feeling in the world to have poured your heart and soul into a project...ALL of your emotion...ALL of your creative energy...only to have some kind of crazy computer glitch just 'zap' it right out of existence forever. Gone. Never to be seen again. The experience is heartbreaking! I've had it happen to me quite a number of times in the past. Either the 'Save' function didn't work like it was supposed to, or the file got corrupted...my laptop fizzled out on me, or my files got hacked, or my website was shutdown without any warning...I can honestly say that I've probably LOST just as much writing as I've posted on my website over the years. And it never ever gets any easier to deal with. Because, while writing takes time and notes and a game plan set into motion ahead of time so you know what kind of story you want to make...the actual writing itself is a very emotional and spontaneous act. You sit at your keyboard with a feeling and a purpose...and you 'bleed' through your words. Right then, right there, while you're in the moment. You search for just the right words. Just the right phrases. Just the right metaphors. And with your passion and focus working together...you create moments in your writing that express exactly what you're thinking and exactly how you're feeling at that particular time in your life. Once you lose that...even by accident...you can't ever get those moments back. It's like setting fire to a photo album full of your baby pictures. It hurts. Especially when it's something that you worked really really hard on so you could get everything just the way you wanted it. Yeah, there's no feeling in the world like losing your creative expression with a technological screw up or the click of the wrong button.

 

BUT...that doesn't mean that you have to give up on saying what you need to say with your work. If you want to take some time before starting over, that's fine. In fact...I encourage that. But when the anger and the frustration passes, you've got to pick yourself back up, add some wood to the fire, and get your ass back in gear. If this was a story that you felt you needed to tell the first time around... you still need to tell it the second time around. What's changed? You have something in your heart that you wanted to share with the world, and chances are that the world needs to hear it. So dust yourself off and get back to work. That story isn't going to magically write itself. Get up, soldier! There's work to be done!

 

Having been through this sad process myself many times before, I hope this article will inspire you guys to keep going, and take steps towards starting again, despite the harsh blow that our imperfect tech might have dealt you.

 

Step number one...'Grieve'.

 

Hehehe, seriously...take a short break to get over losing all of your hard work. The reason I say this is because it's a truly aggravating experience, and there will be a sudden urgency within you to try to jump right back into your story and start typing away before you lose all of the wonderful things you had in mind before they leave you! I can tell you from experience...this is a mistake. Any writer that is truly invested in their own work and writes from the heart 'exposes' themselves in their writing. It's automatic. The emotion flows freely and it affects your every word choice and description that you put on that page, and if you charge into rewriting your story with a head full of anger and frustration and despair...those feelings are going to come through in your writing. Your readers will feel it. And unless a pissed off author who just lost a lot of hard work and had to start all over from scratch is the vibe that you're going for...you're going to end up writing a very different story from the one you intended to write initially. So...it's gonna SUCK for a while, yes...but take a few days to breathe and get all that out of your system before jumping back into it. K? Your readers will subliminally detect your frustration no matter how careful you think you are about hiding it. Or...they'll just figure out the hint from the number of 'F'-bombs and heavy exclamation marks you use in this new version!

 

Hehehe!

 

Step number two...'Look for your notes'.

 

I once made the huge mistake of keeping a majority of my notes and ideas for stories online. Needless to say, I don't do that anymore. I don't trust ANY online program to keep my hard work safe unless I absolutely HAVE to! Not a server, not a word processor, not my own email, not a 'cloud'...NOTHING! I've been screwed over by every last one of them in the past. So *FUCK* the internet! Hehehe! (See? That frustration? It's still there, and it comes out in my writing. Hehehe!) I actually go out, and I buy physical notebooks and physical pens and I jot down notes on my own where I can see them and hold them in my hand. So unless my house burns down to the ground, I don't have to worry about something like...WebTV suddenly ending their service and losing a TON of my emails and saved stories in the process! Grrrrr!

 

Keep personal notes on your spontaneous thoughts and feelings concerning a certain story, and keep them in a place where you have easy access to them. If the unthinkable happens, and you lose your story online...go back to the notes that you took ahead of time, and use that 'bare bones' structure you referred to in order to write the first story as a guide to start over again. Not only will you have access to your most awesome ideas, but after reviewing them, you might even come up with NEW ideas that you never even thought of beforehand. They will help to keep you in the same frame of mind, so always keep your notebooks close to the hip.

 

Step number three...'DON'T try to recreate your original work'!

 

I speak from experience when I say...that will never ever happen. I don't mean for this to sound depressing, but all of those thoughts and emotions and literary choices that you made 'in the moment' to create that masterpiece of yours? They're gone. Gone for good. And they're never coming back. This is something that you have to take some time to embrace and accept so you can move forward. You will drive yourself CRAZY trying to remember the exact wording of certain passages and dialogue that you wrote before. Trying to rewrite your opus, word for word, isn't possible. You will only end up weakening your own writing by even attempting such a thing.

 

Let your old project go. Keep the feel of it, but start anew. You have your notes, you have your passion and your focus, and while you may see many 'shadows' of your previous work in your new project...it'll never be the same. Don't go backwards and try to create a carbon copy of what you've already done. Move forward, and write something even BETTER. Otherwise, you'll just be rehashing old ideas and stale emotions from moments that have long passed you by, broadcasting your regret to your readers for not being able to effectively pull it off twice.

 

It's ok. There *IS* no effectively pulling it off twice! That's what makes writing so personal, and so unique. Have faith in yourself. You wrote a masterpiece before, you can write one again. Your talent hasn't changed, nor has your drive to tell a great story. So go for it! It'll be fine. K?

 

A quick recap...

#1 - Take Time To Grieve.

Don't rush to start writing again. Losing irreplaceable thoughts and emotions SUCKS!!! Take some time to wring that out of your system before you try to 'clone' your own genius.

 

#2 - Look For Your Notes.

The ideas and brilliant bits and pieces of or your original story might still exist in the notes you took before writing it the first time. Get yourself back in the same frame of mind and remember why you wanted to write that story in the first place. It might inspire you all over again.

It won't work. Don't try to build a story off of worn out feelings and 'spur of the moment' expressions. The best thing that you can do is build a brand new version of your original story, based on what you're feeling right NOW. Let it be just as heartfelt and spontaneous as it was the first time without looking back. Follow your heart. Let your muse speak to you without restriction. Your instincts won't let you down. K?

 

That's it for this particular article. I hope it helps. And remember to save save SAVE your work! Keep TEN copies in ten different places if you have to! Email it to yourself at three different accounts! Save it in LibreOffice, in Notepad, on Google+...ANYWHERE that you can save a copy...save one. After 'gay material' witch hunts on Tripod, and email malfunctions, and laptop or hard drive crashes...I have grown WEARY of losing some of my BEST work to technology. But...as much as it hurt...I had to keep going. And you guys can keep going too. So take some time, watch some TV, deal with the loss...and then give it a second try. You may end up topping what you originally had planned! :)

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I've never lost anything and save my work in several places. But to people who are starting out, this is good advice. And yeah. never write on the document where you have your notes. 

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This has happened to me. I had a file become corrupted, and when I went to the backup in the cloud, it was several days old. So, a story that was pushing the 6000-word mark, ended up with just a small piece of just under 700 words, or so. I was devastated. After a day or two, I went back and finished the work, and had some friends look it over, and it got posted. I have both physical and digital copies of my Notes Journal, and it works for me. Some of my best thinking happens, usually where I'm someplace away from my laptop. That's when the pen and paper come out. 

 

But, even being bit by the TechnoDemons, I still use the digital landscape for notes.

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I'd strongly, strongly, strongly, recommend that you take advantage of the cloud.  My writing is backed up on every computer I've got, and One Drive and Dropbox.  

Just saying.

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2 minutes ago, Myr said:

I'd strongly, strongly, strongly, recommend that you take advantage of the cloud.  My writing is backed up on every computer I've got, and One Drive and Dropbox.  

Just saying.

I use Dropbox as well, but I will also email stuff to myself constantly.  I found two of my old NaNoWriMo novels that way.  

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1 minute ago, Myr said:

My writing is backed up on every computer I've got, and One Drive and Dropbox.

I don't have Dropbox, but I use OneDrive and Google Drive. Cross-platform OneNote is a GODSEND!!! I can do notes at home, and access them on any computer.

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8 minutes ago, BHopper2 said:

OneNote is a GODSEND!!

Yes.  OneNote is something getting a lot of use.  I pretty much live in OneNote at work. I've got a different tab for every project.  It's a very powerful tool. 

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I'd also suggest using the Save As... command to create a new version with a different file name in your word processor. Doing this, if you accidentally save over your work (classic example - I once hit Select All (ctrl-a), hit the space bar, and saved over my file, making it blank. All in a fit of spastic hand motion. By having an earlier version under a different file name, I recovered almost everything).

Also, the "Save" command only saves changes to the document, making it larger because of all the save-tracking metadata that's saved with the file. Using Save as... forces the file to be rebuilt without that extra data, making it smaller and potentially removing corrupted data that could cause problems later.

 

Try it - save a document normally, then use Save As to create a new file. The new file will be quite a bit smaller.

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With Windows 10 and OneDrive everything is synchronized and when it's working it's glorious. 

 

This article has reminded me of something though: 

 

The first file I ever tried  using the cloud to make available anywhere, is my budget spreadsheet workbook. Design on my desktop, make notes on my phone, my laptop when I was on vacation, awesome. 

 

Until...

 

Microsoft had some kind of glitch.  the glitch isn't necessarily relevant so I'm going to put it in a spoiler to save room. 

 

Spoiler

 if I tried to open it from the shortcut on my home screen, got an error. If I tried to open it from the recent list inside Excel, error. 

 

Doom. Disaster. Panic. 

 

My file was still there. Yay. 

I could still open it. Hallelujah.  if I went the long way around. ( file, open, each and every folder, spreadsheet)

 

But every time it went to save after that " there was a problem." is anyone else picturing Tom Hanks from Apollo 13?

 

I'm a nerd. I'm a computer nerd. I'm not one of the really powerful computer Wizards, but I am nerd, hear me meow.

 

Turns out,  when I open the file from its real location everything was fine. But the synchronizing and the shortcuts, they weren't pointing to the real path.  something was changing and the computer was losing my file after it was open. 

 

 For about a week:

1. Open original 

2. Edit 

3. Save over a duplicate file. 

4.  Open the duplicate

5. Save over the original

 

 I tried talking to Microsoft.  but the little helper monkey with their troubleshooter that tells them exactly what steps to try, was not a real computer nerd. They wanted to blame my phone.  when I told them I had already reinstalled Excel they recommended a factory reset. 

 

I had it  pinned down. It was only Excel files. It was only on OneDrive. The same problem happened in exactly the same way on my android phone, on my windows computer, on my Windows phone, and on this iPhone 4s my sister gave me as a joke  (when my Windows phone was still the main phone.)

 

[I have a drawer, it has a stack of phones in one corner. Only the one that lives in my pocket has service {I'm not a pimp, I am not bookie, I'm not a spy, I'm not a gambler.} Why I should I get rid of it if it's still works?

 

My actual phone stops working, the screen cracks, whatever. A few minutes chatting with customer service on a computer and I have a working phone until the replacement arrives. Plus I can line them up and use them for things like solving this. Byte me. XD]

 

Huh? Oh... Uhh...  after that week things went back to normal. the real nerds must have fixed whatever had gone wrong in the server. 

 The problem was on their server not my device or my file, and they fixed it.  Without ever acknowledging the problem was there. 

 

And this one time, at (band camp XD) work, a few weeks into having our shift notes and shift schedule in cloud files,  Our entire campus lost its internet service. No internet, no cloud. 

 

One was scary, one was frustrating. 

 

 I wonder if Google has a program you can install on your computer to automatically synchronize files on your computer hard drive with your Google Drive. I think so... XP I wonder if I could set it to automatically copy the folder that automatically synchronizes with my OneDrive.  anytime my desktop is on the two would synchronize. 

 

I must try this. Then I should get my external hard drives in on this too.  because if I had to have the same panic attack over a story? 

 

Oh. Oh!  One time, The Office 365 cloud at work was broken even though the internet wasn't. 

 

I have an iCloud, I guess... *cough" Rotten Fruit *cough*

 

 I can't do the paper and pencil thing, I write very slowly, and tire quickly.  After about a page I wouldn't be able to read my own writing. 

 

 Oh, this one time when I was a kid I was away from home for a few weeks, somebody spilled something on a notebook full of story ideas stuff while I was gone. Ruined. ( when I was a kid, kids did not have access to their own computer all the time)

 

My advice to you pencil pushers is scan a copy of your notebooks. Maybe use loose leaf paper in 3-ring binders,  have a scanner with a document feeder, and be careful not to crinkle the corner edges. 

 

No solution is perfect, spread the seed of your creativity  to as many places as you can. 

 

Edit:  using Microsoft Office and one drive, OneDrive automatically creates periodic versions that you can view or switch back to.  especially useful on a spreadsheet.

Edited by VampireMystic
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6 minutes ago, VampireMystic said:

I wonder if Google has a program you can install on your computer to automatically synchronize files on your computer hard drive with your Google Drive.

Yes. It's called "Backup and Sync from Google." I have it on my laptop. You just have to tweak what folders you want to save, and how it handles deletion of files.

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I use Google Drive. I prefer Microsoft Word over Google Docs, or Pages. Simply because fewer format issues. I added the Google Drive plugin to Microsoft Word. Keeps it synced.

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15 minutes ago, BHopper2 said:

Yes. It's called "Backup and Sync from Google." I have it on my laptop. You just have to tweak what folders you want to save, and how it handles deletion of files.

I was going for irony there. But thanks. ^_^

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Also: Who wonders how many have died trying to get Com's notebooks?

 

Minefield, Laser grid Dire Wolves, Vampire Panthers, the list goes on I'm sure.

 

Extraplanlar guardian? Probably.

 

No thanks.

 

I'll just...

 

Keep Calm and Wait for Comicality

#I Want to Live

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2 minutes ago, VampireMystic said:

Who wonders how many have died trying to get Com's notebooks?

I've heard many rumors on this...

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27 minutes ago, VampireMystic said:

Also: Who wonders how many have died trying to get Com's notebooks?

 

Minefield, Laser grid Dire Wolves, Vampire Panthers, the list goes on I'm sure.

 

Extraplanlar guardian? Probably.

 

No thanks.

 

I'll just...

 

Keep Calm and Wait for Comicality

#I Want to Live

I picture a tomb raider setup. A ground that drops out from under you, poison darts. Very sophisticated boobytraps.

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1 hour ago, VampireMystic said:

 I wonder if Google has a program you can install on your computer to automatically synchronize files on your computer hard drive with your Google Drive. I think so... XP I wonder if I could set it to automatically copy the folder that automatically synchronizes with my OneDrive.  anytime my desktop is on the two would synchronize. 

No.  The OneDrive folder doesn't work. Seen as empty. Or, "Not your original folder, locate the original"

 

Oddly, after I verified copies were available offline, I was able to manually upload it like a normal file. Manual update it is.

 

This is why people generally have ONE service they use.They don't play nice.

 

Hmm. Chrome extension claims it will do this thing. All I have to do is create an account with THEM and feed them all my others./

 

One account to rule them all? Or one point of failure?

 

Cloudhq, any users here?

 

Anyone have another solution.

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7 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

I picture a tomb raider setup. A ground that drops out from under you, poison darts. Very sophisticated boobytraps.

Naw, the Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones types always SURVIVE those... see what I'm saying?

 

EDIT: Why is my reason for edit not displaying I wonder?

Edited by VampireMystic
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34 minutes ago, VampireMystic said:

Cloudhq, any users here?

Decided to try it. They made it a little too easy to sync OneDrive. To add a second you have to go over to onedrive and sign out of one and into the other, first. (Uses the session to go straight to "This app would like access to..."

By the time my daisy chain of backups is finished, I'll have five copies of my writing folder.

 

Only once you have started do they say "You are using the free plan, you will be throttled. Unless you give us money."

Is this a protection racket?

(Get it? IXD)

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2 hours ago, Gene Splicer PHD said:

I'd also suggest using the Save As... command to create a new version with a different file name in your word processor. Doing this, if you accidentally save over your work (classic example - I once hit Select All (ctrl-a), hit the space bar, and saved over my file, making it blank. All in a fit of spastic hand motion. By having an earlier version under a different file name, I recovered almost everything).

Also, the "Save" command only saves changes to the document, making it larger because of all the save-tracking metadata that's saved with the file. Using Save as... forces the file to be rebuilt without that extra data, making it smaller and potentially removing corrupted data that could cause problems later.

 

Try it - save a document normally, then use Save As to create a new file. The new file will be quite a bit smaller.

This is the method I use - in combination with the day's date eg filenameFeb25a -then I change the 'a' to a 'b' for the next Save As, and so on. This way I know at a glance when a file was made and which is the most up to date.

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3 hours ago, VampireMystic said:

Decided to try it. They made it a little too easy to sync OneDrive. To add a second you have to go over to onedrive and sign out of one and into the other, first. (Uses the session to go straight to "This app would like access to..."

By the time my daisy chain of backups is finished, I'll have five copies of my writing folder.

 

Only once you have started do they say "You are using the free plan, you will be throttled. Unless you give us money."

Is this a protection racket?

(Get it? IXD)

 

I have Adobe Creative Cloud with my designers tools so I'm set. I can get things anywhere I need to if I log into Adobe. I also am thinking of expanding iCloud which works even more universally for all my Macs and auto-synchs.

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2 minutes ago, MrM said:

 

I have Adobe Creative Cloud with my designers tools so I'm set. I can get things anywhere I need to if I log into Adobe. I also am thinking of expanding iCloud which works even more universally for all my Macs and auto-synchs.

Being blind, I mostly use Apple products. Better overall screen reader experience. Be careful with iCloud. It has many limitations, and not always dependable. It just works is not a true slogan.

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6 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

Being blind, I mostly use Apple products. Better overall screen reader experience. Be careful with iCloud. It has many limitations, and not always dependable. It just works is not a true slogan.

That's true which is why I am getting more comfortable with Creative Cloud's storage too and downloading my texts to all of my devices.

 

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