A writer’s worst nightmare

What’s a writer’s worst nightmare?

To develop a block in the middle of a book?

To see his creation getting all the negative reviews and none of the positive?

To not find any reader interested to read his work?

To see a long career reach an end when a new idea for a new book refuses to come?

They’re all a nightmare, yes, but they aren’t my worst. Not this time around, anyway.

I experienced my worst nightmare two nights ago.

I have two laptops. One, a very old one, the one I learned to use with the assistive software, aka screen, I use to read and write. It has functions that I like to use when I write that the new screen reader on the new laptop doesn’t have.

That old laptop is really old. Not just the model, but the programming as well. Now, you may think, just upgrade the program, and that would work for most everyone. Except I can’t upgrade the screen reader on it because it wasn’t the original download. And if I upgrade the rest of the programs, the screen reader will stop working.

I have another laptop with another kind of screen reader. It’s good, and it’s the newest version. But this new program doesn’t have all the features that that old program has. (And that old program is very expensive- while the new one can be downloaded for free)

Because the internet on that old laptop is very slow, when I need a file from it, I use a flash memory. Now, I’m really careful with my books, so I keep saving the file on to the memory drive, then copy pasting it to this laptop, then attaching it to e-mails that I send to myself.

But about a month ago, the flash memory I use disappeared.  So I got a new one, but the laptop refused to acknowledge it. Something about new drive and tech stuff I can’t understand. As I was already revising the second book in the Roxanne Fosch series, Heir of Doom, I continued revising, with my brother’s promise that he’d take a look at it.

And two nights ago, after I finished the revision and started running the spell check for the last time so I can finally get the book out to the betas… the laptop died on me.

I was desperate enough to have my brother looking at it in the middle of the night. Ok, it was eleven pm, but because the screen on that laptop was broken (I don’t need a screen, remember, I’m blind) he’d needed to add an external screen to see what was going on. But it turned out that the laptop not only wasn’t taking a new flash memory, it wasn’t accepting any external drives.

So I went to bed at two in the morning, and I tossed and turned and wondered if my brother would be able to get the file for me.
But in the morning, while I was checking my e-mail on my new laptop *hmmm, coughs* (three ears isn’t old, right) I found an e-mail from my brother. With my manuscript attached.

I almost cried with relief.

He had to take the old laptop apart and plug the hard disk to another computer, where he was able to extricate all the files I had on that old laptop.

So what’s a writer’s worst nightmare?

For me, it’s to finish a book and then not be able to get to it.

78 Replies to “A writer’s worst nightmare”

  1. Wow! Now, THAT is a nightmare!! I agree that that is absolutely terrifying!! All of those hours and hours of work to just disappear in the blink of an eye, with you not knowing if you’d see it again?? *shiver* I’m glad he managed to get a copy of it off for you! I hope everything works out from now on. 💖💖💖💖

    Liked by 3 people

      1. that old program is still out there and much better. but last i checked, it was around $1250.
        I’ll just have to do with the one i have now . I did send you an e-mail though. i hope you got it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That makes sense. Free is good compared to that, even if it doesn’t do everything you need it to!! Maybe you should start a Kickstarter or something! Get people to donate and certain amounts donated get a copy of your book/s and stuff like that!! 💖💖

        Liked by 1 person

    1. you know, Ray, on a side note, I’ve been having trouble commenting on your posts lately.I click on leave a comment, but no boxes open. And I think that the last comment i was able to post on your blog went to spam.
      am i the only one?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No it’s fine. No worries. U can’t comment. I told many times that I switched off comments until 1 September. It’s also on all my pages/blog/. I opened it once or twice only during the last month.
        I hope ppl reading without commenting too …but who knows lol it’s internet after all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I probably should put the info on each post but I’m lazy 🙃
        Oh don’t know about ads, it’s in the beginning and the end only, there’s nothing in the middle of the posts, WordPress place them as it wishes
        No, not u, & no problems…summer is short in Sweden, I need a break from comments sometimes:)


  2. Been there. I now send my works-in-progress (every week or so) to two email addresses. That way, if the laptop / memory ever “lapses”, I’ll always have access to [relatively recent] versions.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. i always save my wips on flash memories, both laptops and my e-mail. but the laptop i was working on last wouldn’t take a new flash memory and the internet was too slow for me to attach to an e-mail.
      and i always save. i have the ctrl + s in my muscle memory.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my Gosh! That is the worst case scenario!! I would not have slept at all. I have lost lectures the night before and had to recreate them at the last minute, that was bad enough, and nothing compared to what you went through. I am thinking “brother of the year award”, for sure😳💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I lost an article i was writing a week ago, though that happened when the new laptop stuck and i had to reboot.
      and oh my brother would love that award.I should write a dedication for him on the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my. I think I held my breath through this entire post. Your brother is an angel, Jina. How awful and thank goodness he was able to save it. Email your file to yourself and/or save to an external drive! No more writing nightmares. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Jina, I’ve nominated you for the Three Day, Three Quote Challenge! (it’s entirely obligatory) https://simonjwood.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/three-quote-challenge-day-1/

    Re your computer woes, I’m glad you had your brother to help you retrieve your manuscript, quite a worrying episode for you.

    Perhaps ten years ago, I asked a friend, an IT expert, to recommend a PC. He declined, saying that all computers go wrong and that if his lasted three years he thought he was doing well! I was very surprised by that.

    Well, another friend (an IT student at the time) recommended one – which broke down exactly three years later! It had already been fixed once in the meantime.

    So I bought a fantastic MacBook Pro, which had to have hundreds of pounds spent on repairs over the eight years I used it. Back in March this year it finally packed up completely, it’s impossible to start by any means known to the internet!

    It is maybe repairable (but Mac repairs don’t come cheap) but I bought a second-hand Windows laptop, all solid state, which is doing me fine at the moment.

    With the mac I had a separate hard disk which it backed up to frequently, so even if the drive has to be reformatted I will have lost perhaps a day’s work at the most. But of course, I can’t restore that disc onto a Windows machine, and it has the manuscript of my books, To Cut a Short Story Short, and Bound in Morocco on it!

    I guess I can probably download them from Amazon but I’d done some minor revisions since publishing.

    Also, just to say that I checked my sales recently and found, excluding my own purchases, I’d sold a total of 40 books and audiobooks in one year. Plus some ‘reads’ on Kindle Unlimited, that you hardly earn anything from. That is vastly fewer than I’d expected and a huge disappointment. Still, I’m publishing another book of stories at the end of the year, and (if I can recover my manuscripts!) a combined volume about March 2019.

    In the meantime I submitted a children’s’ picture book story in December 2017 to 13 publishers. So far, one polite and encouraging rejection!

    So, I sincerely hope your books will do better than that! Ah well, onwards and upwards!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. obligatory, ha! aren’t you clever?
      My brother is the tech guy people go to when their electronics aren’t behaving, so i’m lucky on that department. My old laptop is nine years old. The only reason the programs are outdated is because i don’t have the original screen reader to update it too. He did put the old laptop back together, but i won’t be writing on it again, not when he’d need to take the hard disk out to extract the file.
      Now that you said it, i have a copy of that children’s illustration, the one you sent me. i’m going to see if my screen reader will read it.


  6. Whoops, sorry, of course I meant NON-obligatory, i.e. optional!! And actually I have been using Mac Pages ’09 and Numbers ’09, simply because they are better than the ‘updated’ versions!

    For example the ‘new, improved’ version of Pages didn’t allow you to view pages side-by-side, or set internal hyperlinks. Both essential for publishing print and e-books. I think they updated it last month to allow two page views though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hmmmm. you know, Simon, i have no idea how mac works. I understand what you’re saying, but i can’t envision it. (and i know the tag is optional, i thought you were trying to be funny with the obligatory comment).


      1. Hi Jina, I’d like to say I was being funny, and afterwards suspected that you thought that, but I will be honest and say it was just a ‘senior moment,’ despite the care I usually take!
        Regarding the Mac I think I just meant that I used software from eight years ago, similar to your screen-reader software. Oftentimes newer doesn’t mean better!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Something similar happened to me, although I see just fine as long as I have my glasses on. I had been writing my 1st novel in the program, yWriter. I got my 1st draft done and was getting ready to do the big revision that I assume most authors face with their 2nd draft. I opened up the program, took a sip of coffee, and clicked on the wrong button making my novel disappear. I didn’t even find the auto-copies until a year later. The auto-copies are all in rft form, which means I have to reformat. At least I still have my story though.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yikes!! I was holding my breath until I reached the end of your post. Yep, this has to be the worst thing for a writer – I am so happy your brother could retrieve your book!! 😀 Have you got another laptop to write on – and one which will accept the flashdrive! Hope you never have another scare like this one! Happy Writing – and saving!😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Way back in the days of yore (before computers/word processors) I submitted a multipage freelance article to a nationly-distributed magazine. They wrote back, accepting the article. I was on cloud nine until they called and said someone had misplaced my article and would I send another copy right away. Well, I had disobeyed the cardinal rule of writing and submitting and had sent them the only copy I had. In no way could I come up with a redo given the timeframe needed. So, no copy, no sale, no by-line and prestige of having been accepted by a major publication. A hard lesson learned. ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) have backup copies of your work, and NEVER EVER send someone your only copy. Twenty hard-earned and deserving lashes for me! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. During my writing the article (10,000 words, I believe), I had kept very few, sketchy notes. I mostly typed it “out of my head” with some references jotted down here and there on scraps of paper. It was a timely article and the magazine needed it asap; I tried but realized I’d never make the deadline. So, being in my early twenties, I bought a six-pack and cried in my beer. Live and learn! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Michael, that is one hard lesson … you must have been gutted. First the elation of such an acceptance only to realise you didn’t have a copy. Events like this never leave you and always feel as fresh as the day they happened.

        I’m smiling at your days of yore … you mean there was a time without computers! 😀😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I learned the hard way to not “keep all your eggs in one basket”
    I had an old PC about 15 years ago I used to keep everything I wrote on. I had dozens of short stories, character profiles, and 2 novels in progress. During a move, the hard drive became corrupt and I lost everything… Literally everything.
    I had no backups or physical copies. I lost everything I had been writing for several years, and all my photos.

    I learned my lesson and keep 3 separate copies at all times now, including Google Drive

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I sighed with relief when I found out you got your file.
    That is definitely a terrible nightmare to go through. I’ve lost uni essays before and that was devastating. I don’t even want to think of anything larger…

    Liked by 2 people

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