lost documents

Saving the Phoenix

A word of warning to writers — be very careful when you wrap up a late night of editing.  Last weekend I did a thorough overhaul on a huge document, getting the final book of my Herbert West Series ready for publication.  I finished it late Sunday night and decided to save a backup copy on a flash drive. Tired and muddled, instead of copying the newly edited document over an older version on the flash drive, I copied the old version over the new one. I didn’t even realize the mistake until I pulled up the document the next day to admire the edits and wondered why it was back to its original length instead of the slim, trim version achieved by deleting countless commas, ellipses, “hads,” “woulds” and “of courses.”

The only thing more devastating is to lose an entire document. I’ve done that too, but was saved by the fact that I always write my stuff in longhand first. Both then and now the real loss was time. I figure it took me a good sixteen hours to redo that editing. Then there’s the uneasy feeling that the lost text was better than the redone version.

I still have more than 100 pages to go before I start formatting the document for upload, and I automatically edit whatever I read — magazine and newspaper articles, weather forecasts, recipes.  One really good thing is nearly 20 mm. of rain yesterday and last night, watering the garden and leaving me free to stay with this project until it’s done.

Look for Hunting the Phoenix early next week!