Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the wonders (and woes) of technology

Sometimes I sit back, look at my computer screen, and wonder how they did it. How did authors manage to write masterpieces like The Count of Monte Cristo, Pride and Prejudice, The Divine Comedy, The Iliad, and so many others, without Microsoft Word? If you make a mistake typing or want to change something, you simply backspace. If you make a mistake on paper, you have to (eventually) get out a whole new sheet and rewrite everything. It's the same with typewriters--though they are much more convenient then writing by hand, you still can't backspace or delete whole paragraphs (or chapters) like I sometimes do.

The technology of our world is simply amazing. When you think back to where we were twenty, thirty, forty years ago, it's hard to believe just how quickly things have advanced. (True, according to all the old cartoons we're supposed to have flying cars and ray guns by now, but one step at a time, right?)

But with the wonders of technology come challenges. If you write by hand, as long as you keep your papers in a safe place (and your house doesn't burn down) you're not going to lose your work. But typing, there's always the chance that your computer will decide it's had enough and eat your files, refusing to spit them back out.

Thankfully, that didn't happen to me--my computer's fine--but the next worst thing did.

I have a flash drive that I save all my files on. I periodically transfer them onto my computer (because I know how fickle flash drives can be), but I like to have everything on the flash drive so that if I go somewhere without my personal computer, I can still work on my books.

Great idea in theory, right? What's not so great is when you have 5000 words and a whole new outline on your flash drive that aren't on your computer, and your flash drive decides to die.

Granted, it's only 5000 words. I can deal with it. But that doesn't mean it's not inconvenient.

So lesson of the weekend? If you do use a flash drive (like I used to) transfer your important files every time you have access to your computer, and work directly on your computer (not on the flash drive files) when you have it with you.

Now to go write 5000 words....



  1. :( so sorry! After this happened to me, I started emailing work to myself. It's mobile and less fickle than a flash drive.

    I am awed by the great writers of old.

    1. I've done that before, Katrina. For some reason it seems less convenient, but it's not really. I should start doing that more often. I also like having a flash drive, though, in the event that my computer crashed (heaven forbid!)

      And isn't it amazing? When you think of how much time nd energy you put into your own writing, just imagine what it would be like without a computer!

  2. That is so not fair!! The computer is expected to do that, but not the flash!

    1. Yah it's usually the flash that's the backup, right? *sigh* Oh well. I can't really complain--I still have mostly everything, and my computers fine. I could have been much worse--I used to hardly ever transfer the files back from my flash to my computer until I almost lost my flash once. I hate to imagine what I would have lost if that were still the case!!


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