Since the end of November, I’d been meaning to do a blog post on how NaNoWriMo turned out. And just now, I reread the blog post I’d written after the first week or so.
It did not turn out like I had hoped. I mean, I finished, but there was at least one day where I had my keyboard under my fingertips and my eyes closed to “save energy,” because I was so exhausted but would never finish if I didn’t keep typing. In the last week alone, I must have done about twenty thousand of my fifty thousand words because I just got more and more behind. I was trying to catch up constantly. It was exhausting and painful. Maybe that made it all the more glorious when I actually crossed the finish line of 50,000 words. I don’t remember. I think I fell into some sort of coma until long after Christmas.
And I never did manage to write that blog post. I did, however, write about it in my journal, long after I’d forgotten much of what I’d probably wanted to say. The above paragraph will suffice, I think, covering the main points. I can only add that I never touched the additional zombie story again, and probably should have worked on that one instead of the one I picked. Oh well.
What I really wanted to write about today was my utter glee at recovering a file I’d thought I’d lost from my old computer.
Backstory: NaNoWriMo 2010, I wrote about 200 pages of a story titled Death’s Door, but which I constantly refer to in my head as “Ethne’s story.” Just about a year ago, February 2011, my computer decided it wasn’t going to boot up anymore. I’m not a complete idiot with computers, but I really had no luck getting it going again. It was probably time for a new computer anyway, as the old one was pretty slow and outdated and had been originally saddled with Windows 98, and then updated with XP. I forked over the money for a new one, and what a beautiful machine it is, and tried to return my life to normal. (Honestly, I went about a week before I started freaking out about not having a computer.)
I tried to remember the blogs and websites I liked and rebuilt my favorites. I figured out what software I wanted and made sure everything was installed and working properly. I even ironed out a weird twitch the anti-virus software seemed to have. And then I went to the flash drive where I’d backed up all my writing files. Except the final version of Ethne’s story.
I’d done a backup on Backup Day, about halfway through NaNoWriMo, and saved about 75 pages. So I’d only lost 125. And I only had myself to blame. (*headdeskheaddeskheaddesk*) I knew the computer was getting crotchety. I’d thought to myself a number of times that I should back that up just in case. Surely everyone has this story. I won’t keep going on about how dumb I was.
I kept trying to reboot my old computer. I downloaded boot disks and ISO burners and thought about buying an XP disk on eBay since I didn’t have one. I followed troubleshooting articles for long, frustrating hours, and finally gave up. I didn’t know what else to do and I was sick of trying. I was massively disappointed, completely disheartened to lose the work I’d done, but I certainly learned my lesson. I installed DropBox, have everything also on a flash drive and a full backup on an external drive. But it was so sad that Ethne had to pay the price.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was bored breaking the music department at work and Googled data recovery and the master/slave relationship between two hard drives, instead of trying to figure out how to reboot the old machine. The very first article told me about a cheap little cord that you could plug the old hard drive into and then connect it to your USB port. I made a note of the name (SATA/IDE to USB) and did more research when I got home.
For about twenty bucks, I bought one and a few days later, it arrived. I took way too many screws out of my old laptop’s undercarriage (really, it was ridiculous, I only needed to take off three and lift the hard drive cover; I had tried to take out something like twenty) and pulled the hard drive. Insert plug. Holy crap, that looks like my old list of files.
Now it wasn’t magic, and it took a hell of a long time, really, for me to access the files (it kept telling me I wasn’t allowed! and not an administrator), but over the course of the next few days, I figured it out.
I figured it out, damnit! And now I have a hard copy printed out, and another copy in my DropBox. And I could just cry. I don’t even care that somehow my Scrivener file lost all its apostrophes. So gloriously happy. I’m hoping to use my refreshed vigor for the story to edit and truly finish the story. I did find a segment that I really enjoy and I may post that shortly here, just for kicks.