Something Terrible Happened Today


I wrote a complete story today for my NaNoWriMo book of short stories.

I did a quick read through and stuck to my bare minimal correction (as Tilly tells me: I have to write 50,000 words in 30 days, if I correct properly, I won’t finish) and I was happy with the story, particularly the ending.

I saved it. Please read again. I SAVED it. And then my self-hosting, private WordPress thingy-me-jiggy changed the screen and said I had to re-log in.

Being an obedient person, I did exactly that.

It took me straight back to my ‘post writing screen’ where I then discovered the last THIRD of my story had vanished.

COMPLETELY GONE.

Like, into thin air.

I clicked the back arrow. I clicked the forward arrow.

I shouted at the screen.

(Rather loudly.)

(Sorry neighbours.)

I banged my hand on the desk.

But it didn’t come back.

I looked at the previous drafts but it’s as if I never typed the last third of the story.

I called the computer competent one, aka my husband, but he’d abandoned me and my one third – he didn’t even pick up the phone.

I tried to pull myself together and remember the lines I’d written but CATASTROPHE: I had to leave the house to pick up the little one from Kindergarten.

All the way there I tried to make bullet points in my head reminding me of each point I’d written.

(In my next life, quite clearly, I’ll be a goldfish, I remember nothing. OK, truthfully, I remember odd things that no one else can like the date that the bacon that’s lazying around in the fridge will go off and the number plate of that abandoned car I spotted 18 years ago, but important stuff, that just flies out of my head.)

I told the little one NOT to talk to me as I recited:

  • Lori
  • Invisble
  • Mess up random
  • But to destroy Christmas

I ran in the door, chucked my coat on the floor, dived upstairs and wrote with my heart pounding.

I love computers. But I hate them. You get me?

47 thoughts on “Something Terrible Happened Today”

    1. I wanted to at first but then my husband showed me that this self-host thing works really well for the style I’m writing, due to the way I keep reassembling the chapters! I need it all to be together but separate.

      I will back up on a word processor though.🙂

  1. This is horrible, a true nightmare. Once you capture the words on the screen, they kind of disappear from the brain. I know, I’ve seen them leave.
    My poor Sarah, again you deserve a big hug, and I will even scream with you from frustration overt your beloved lost sentences. I feel for you!
    ~Mar

    1. It didn’t even occur to me that something like this would happen, if I’m honest, you know how WordPress has that autosave feature? I think it saves every or every other minute.
      On the bright side, I didn’t have time to write and lose anything today – the 6yo is really sick.😦

      1. You have a funny idea of the bright side.
        Now, don’t you go down with the bug, or the lurgy, as we medical people call these things.

      2. What can I say, I’m a one off!😉

        I don’t want the lurgy, that’s for sure. But you know how sick six year olds have a thing for breathing germs right in your face? I keep hoping whatever it is is not infectious, but she seemed to be in quite a lot of pain, so I reckon it could be something to worry about if it’s not so then I hover back to hoping that is catching after all.

      3. Thank goodness she is on the mend again. She’l return to Kindi tomorrow and then probably someone else will be ill. #thefourchildrencurse

  2. As a professional writer, I strongly recommend that you get Dropbox on your computer and save everything to your Dropbox folder. If you lose a document or part of a document, it will still be in the Dropbox cloud. It’s free.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that. Technology—can’t live with it, but can’t live without it.

    I’ve had that happen to me many times. It’s a pain!

    1. I haven’t lost anything for a long, long time so I was quite taken aback by it all. My 6yo hugged me yesterday and said, “It’s OK my love.”

      Then I had to laugh. (She sounded like a little old lady!)

  4. It is for this reason I always write my blog posts in a word document first and then upload them to wordpress afterwards. I have permanent, offline copies of all my blog work! You never know when the internet/wordpress are going to screw with your life!

    1. You do that? Wow!

      I always relied on the autosave function of WordPress and then the fact that I keep obsessively clicking on the save button.

      I also subscribed to myself and save each email. Plus I have a paper copy of a lot of my work. But it never, ever occurred to me that WordPress wouldn’t save the text I’d typed in. Especially when I’d clicked on the save button.

      1. No it is quite unreliable actually. I would always do your first draft, at least, offline and then copy and paste in when you’re ready. But then my internet is very unreliable in Bangladesh so we live by survival instincts here!

      2. The internet isn’t too bad here, most of the time. But the WordPress thing I’m using is self-hosting, so it’s actually on my computer. Or at least, I think that’s what my husband said! The only thing I can think that could have gone wrong is our household network went down, temporarily so it didn’t save, but even then it should have sent an error message when I hit the save button.

        I’ve realised what I could have done was copy before I saved and then I could have pasted it anywhere I wanted if it hadn’t been complete.

  5. What a nightmare!!! I always write the important stuff on my computer first and I save it over and over. I learned my lesson several years ago at work when I had a desktop and I spent a couple of hours designing a document. Suddenly the power went out. Something in my head went uh-oh. When the power came back on and I opened the document, all I had was a blank page. I had saved the document when I created it but never after that. I promised to myself I would never, ever put myself through that again, but I still forget sometimes. I feel your pain…

    1. That’s what I really didn’t get in this instance, I’d saved several revisions of the story. The last one looked like it saved but it didn’t. Shocking!! My husband (he’s a software developer) spent ages looking through the computer last night and it seems there’s about a thirty minute period where neither the autosave or me actually pressing save worked. But for what reason? If the network was down, for instance, he found out that WordPress is programmed to send me an error message, but it did not.

      The good news is, I am pleased with the new ending.

  6. Oh no oh no oh no! Poor Sarah! I lost a couple of essays and blog posts before I learned to save after every paragraph, that way, I only ever lose a paragraph.

    Was going to cry for you but then I saw in the comments you prefer your new ending, so yes yes yes!

    1. No, don’t cry for me (unless it’s for today and me managing to get no work done whatsoever due to Akasha being so sick, then having to go to a parent meeting which resulted in me finding out that I’m supposed to organise a stall for our class for the Christmas Market – I have no idea what I’m doing and I have to have it all done for Dec 1st (I’m in the hot seat because I’m the class representative)).

      WordPress, technically should have saved it as it has a built in autosave function. But it didn’t work. I also kept saving it and that’s what really gets me – it didn’t save it, not the last third anyway, but it seemed like it did, how’s that even possible. Reini, the computer genius, has been doing his stuff and even he’s at a loss. He said, at least when I clicked save and it didn’t work I should have got an error message, but I didn’t. I think I broke the program….

  7. Computers (and all thingss related to them) are evil – I’m convinced of it! There’s a big conspiracy to drive humans mad and they’re all in on it!!

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