Protect your assets – cover your butt
by Elizabeth Blake
About a month ago, my computer crashed at lightning speed and with great flourish. Apparently it decided I’m an impostor and have been for the past three years, so it shoveled every bit of my work and records into a temporary file and obliterated it.
Two tech teams later, they’re still convinced my files never existed.
After the first wave of heart-stopping terror passed, I convinced myself to breathe. No problem: I backup my files. Occasionally. Then there’s the cloud thing I use. Sometimes. And some memory sticks floating inside my briefcase and desk. I got this.
I was able to piecemeal recover about ninety-percent of my work. Except for my most recent rough draft, which I had written all the way up until the last scene. Sixty-thousand words MIA.
I gnashed my teeth for about three days and started to rewrite. From scratch. An entire book. And I was almost on deadline!
After signing up for two new cloud services and getting a new computer, I’m on my way to recovery. I urge everyone to routinely save their files in multiple ways. If all your eggs are currently in one basket, you should panic and immediately establish a backup. Utilize the military mantra: Two is one, one is none.
Files aren’t what I wanted to talk about, but the rant leads into the real topic.
Authors have to safeguard their processes. No one will ever understand or respect our writing as much as we should. We need to create a safe place so the words can come. If we don’t preserve the things words need to grow – routine, time, energy, and dedication – the words will wither and die. And the book will remain unwritten.
Life will pull at us from every direction: television, infotainment, friends, family, that other job that pays the bills. If we let the noise suck us in, our words will suffer. We don’t like to tell our friends we can’t come play because we’re writing, but we have to. No one else will come over and fill the harrowing empty pages. No one else is going to write the denouement for us. No one else will fix the character conflict on page 83. It’s up to us to save the time, do the work, and enrich our legacy.
I have something written on the whiteboard near my desk:
And so I’ve cultured a question to remind myself:
Is this thing [show, visit, task, etc.] worth sacrificing my writing time for?
If the answer is “no” and my writing isn’t done, I have to be brave enough to turn down the fun diversions and plop my bum in the writing chair.
I’m not saying we can never have fun, never watch television. Unless the idea of being an ascetic writing monk works for you, it’s not necessary to cast aside everything in exchange for your writing. Simply remember what your priorities are.
I urge everyone to protect your files, because losing them sucks something awful – but mostly, be a champion for your writing and nurture it with attention.
Elizabeth Blake is a complex woman. She’ll tell you that she’s not that complicated, that her demands are simple: Coffee, good books, freedom, world domination… Elizabeth Blake is a sorceress of stories, a lover of letters. If you want to get to know her, visit The Mind & Heart of Elizabeth Blake, pick up her books, follow her on social media, buy her a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.