Day 3 – A Brief tale of Wi-fi, heartaches, and headaches

Today was supposed to be a day of jubilation. I just needed to introduce one last hero to get this novel off the ground. All did not go according to plan.

Let me explain.

Deep in the land of Nano Rebeldom, there was a write-in at a cozy Culver’s in Holland, Michigan. I had gotten there early to secure our writing fortress and to enjoy some tasty food for my lunch before diving head first into the last section before finally returning to the plot – that thing that every good novel allegedly has. My last hero to be introduced was Emma, a slightly naive, but capable woman who may not have had all of the answers, may not have know what exactly she was getting herself into, but she was optimistic that she would be able to fare well in battle as long as she knew who had her back.

As the clock turned 1pm, the time for my write-in to start, I began confidently typing away on my tablet’s Bluetooth keyboard in Microsoft Word because the Dropbox sync was not syncing over the Culvers wi-fi. Words were flowing trippingly from my fingertips, but there was one small snag that I was not counting on thwarting me was the Culver’s wi-fi which is not reliable in the least bit. In fact, it was not working at all and the only reason I still had internet access on my phone was that it was on the LTE network. So when I went to save my handiness on my dropbox account, Microsoft word gave me the spinning wheel of doom. I naively thought that the wi-fi had somehow kicked in since my tablet was showing a wi-fi signal. But alas, it was not meant to be, and over two thousand words lost in the abyss of my tablet memory, never to be seen again.

And just when I thought all of my headaches and frustrations had reached a point, I had finished writing a section for the day on my laptop, and I decided to save and sync my Scrivener project so that next time I wasn’t caught with my pants metaphorically down. I don’t know what happened, but when I synced between my tablet and my laptop, I lost three sections – including the section that I had to rewrite at the write-in. In total, over 5K had disappeared in one sync.

One minute of unfettered panic.

It eventually dawned on me to go digging through the project files on my laptop to see if there was any chance at recovering the lost sections that way and lo, and behold, there they were in the project folder.  I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost that 5K+in the depths of Dropbox, except maybe cry a lot. Maybe even scream.

Today was not my day for writing.

Sometimes an accidental file deletion is a blessing.

It turns out that working in retail full-time is not conducive to creativity when your store is chronically short staffed and you’re in management. Which is why I haven’t been online and blogging in over a year. As much as I’d like to say things are going to change for the better, having stepped down from my shift lead position, I know better than to say that at this point in the game.

I wouldn’t have made a second attempt at reviving my creative juices though if I hadn’t been in the process of relocating my Scrivener files (so that everything was conveniently saved to a Dropbox synced folder). It appears at some point when I was performing last rites on my last laptop and going through my files to determine which files were worthy, an entire trilogy I had worked on during NaNoWriMo either slipped through the cracks or I deleted the trilogy out of pure embarrassment of its existence. It’s probably the latter since the whole execution of it was a disaster and a half by the time I got to what should have been the third installment. I probably deleted it knowing full well that if I went back, the only way I could salvage anything in the novel was if I started from scratch.

It’s probably the latter that ended up happening since the whole execution of it was a disaster and a half by the time I got to what should have been the third installment of the trilogy. I probably deleted it knowing full well that if I went back, the only way I could salvage anything in the novel was if I started from scratch. Almost everything was either a mistake or something that wasn’t working at least within the framework that I had willing constrained myself with.  It was a great idea, don’t get me wrong. I was in love with the idea, but I just managed to have shitty execution of that idea. Maybe if I’m feeling ambitious I’ll revisit it for a different NaNo. Right now I can only try to remember what I did wrong so that I don’t make the same mistakes a second time.

Writing and Technology

Sometimes, as writers, I think we take for granted how our technology, or lack of it, affects how we write.

Think about it: as time has gone on, writer’s have changed how they write. We’ve gone from stories being painted on a cave wall, to a clay tablet and stylus, to paper and pen, to typewriter, to computer and tablets. Sure, some people still use pen and paper or a typewriter, but it’s kind of mind blowing the wide array of options we now have at our disposal.

I got to thinking about this over this past summer, when my laptop started to randomly dump memory. It had done this before over the past four years, but not at the frequency it was dumping memory this time. I started to panic that maybe my laptop was prematurely biting the dust.

My relationship with my laptop is a love-but-more-often-hate relationship. That’s mostly because my laptop doesn’t know how to manage resources properly, and some genius thought it was a brilliant idea to have the fans vent out the bottom of the laptop. I only ever love it when I’m begging it to last a few more months so that I can get some kind of work and save up for a new one. This laptop, in all honesty, should be put out of its misery.

Fortunately that’s changing. I made a deal with my parents, who found a really good deal on a laptop on QVC.  If they bought me the laptop, I’d contribute $10 of each paycheck for a year, so that I could have some sense of ownership. I think it’s fair, and I would have been putting that money in savings anyways for a laptop, or a down payment on a used car.

The summer taught me that my laptop was more than just a frustrating heap of technology. For the first time in a long while, I saw my laptop as a tool, and something necessary for my career path as a writer and document designer. I’m certainly looking forward to not having to decide between watching a movie and doing something in InDesign.

How does technology affect your writing?