I almost had a heart attack earlier this week. I saw visions of my headstone: “RIP. He tried, but he couldn’t keep up.” Thankfully, one of my daughters works in healthcare, albeit the administrative end of things, and rescued me to live another day. At least for the time being.
Why? That corrupted file contained the 340-some-page manuscript of the book for which I only recently signed a contract for publication. It represented years of research and writing and editing and rewriting and. . . . No! I thought. I’ve worked so hard on this, but I’m not finished yet! Just a while longer and it’ll be done!
Well, you get the picture. I felt like throwing up my hands and my lunch, and just giving up. But I couldn’t. I had signed a contract. I had to find some way to deliver.
The daughter came through. She had me send her the file, and somehow that remains beyond my ability to understand, she recovered or converted the file to its near-original condition. It had lost the original formatting, which meant that I had to go through page by page to restore that, but it sure beat retyping it all. I’m getting deeper and deeper in debt to her, and I just know that one of these days she’s going to call in all those “you-owe-me’s,” and I’ll have to pay the piper. But I’m back up and running now. The chest pains have subsided and the breathing has returned to normal.
Being an old-school dinosaur, I still prefer hard copies of my work, for both writing and reading, over digital forms. My paper files never get corrupted (unless I’m careless with my coffee or peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches). I never lose them. (Well, perhaps misplace them sometimes, but I always find them where I left them.) It’s a lot harder to lose a stack of 8 1/2 x 11 paper as big as a ream of paper than a nebulous file name on some kind of electronic drive or in the foggy, ethereal clouds or dropped in some virtual box somewhere. The batteries never run out. I don’t have to have a cord, a charger, a converter, or any of the other gadgetry that the electronic toys require.
But I’ll admit that it’s getting harder and harder for old-timer writers like me. Whereas when I first started writing for publication, I pounded on a manual typewriter and sent everything (query letter, manuscript, photos, etc.) via snail mail, today I have only one magazine publisher who requires that the submissions be in hard-copy format. That publication is titled, appropriately, Good Old Days!
Now where did I put that flash drive?!